Now racking up major territory sales for Alpha Violet, “Hunting Season,” Natalia Garagiola’s directorial debut, hits Ventana Sur’s market screenings Wednesday after winning the Audience Award in Venice Critics’ Week. Starring newcomer Lautaro Bettoni, the film narrates the re-meeting of an unruly high-school student, overwhelmed by his mother’s death, with a distant and silent father (Germán Palacios) in the cold Patagonian wilds.
Supported and encouraged by Rei Cine, the Buenos Aires production company with whom she made her prior short films and is currently developing her second feature, Garagiola forefronts what she calls an ultra realism, without ever losing control of a scene, a dynamic hand-held camera imbues “Hunting Season” with a near documentary look. This approach charges an otherwise classic male story with a woman director’s sensibility, affirming once more the importance of the feminine gaze in the Argentinian and Latin American cinema.
Garagiola focused most, however, on character construction, she says: “I was very clear from the beginning emphasizing the need to compose each of the characters. We didn’t rehearse the scenes, revising the script and so on, but rather dedicated all our rehearsal time to working on the characters, composing them and appropriating them.”