Achieving a rare double this year – selection for both the Mar del Plata Festival and Ventana Sur’s pix-in-post competitions – Malena Solarz’s “Album for the Youth” marks the first solo feature of a director who tackles one of the most common of debut themes – a coming of age tale – but begs to differ on its structure.
Coming-of-age features “usually have big dramatic arcs as the characters discover something very important about their identity, their sexuality, etc. Here the characters do not have big revelations. I was mainly interested in working on a much smaller, millimetric scale almost,” Solarz explained to Variety.
So “Album for the Youth” gently charts the halting and initial maturing of two teens who both could have a first relationship and show creative yearnings – Sol (Irina Rausch) in music and Pedro as a writer (Santiago Canepari) – which may feed into careers later in life.
Both plots weave, “looking for themselves” the director said, adding: “They are curious about some things and so is the movie- There’s some clumsiness in their bodies and gestures, and in the movie as well.”
Solarz cites as inspiration France’s Éric Rohmer and Maurice Pialat and U.S. contemporary comedies. Working with DP Fernando Lockett (Fernando Guerrero’s “The Dark Beast”), she tried to maintain a certain distance from characters. “I didn’t want to translate their feelings into cinematic elements – colors, camera movements. I like the idea of the story being watched through a barely visible formal filter,” she added.
“Album” is produced by Cecilia Pisano at Esquimal Cine and Solarz at Punto y Línea. Solarz attended Buenos Aires’ Universidad del Cine where she now teaches cinema history and direction. She co-wrote and co-directed alongside Nicolás Zukerfeld “Winter Comes After Fall.”
She also co-directed with Zukerfeld “There Are Not Thirty-Six Ways of Showing a Man Getting on a Horse,” which premiered at Mar del Plata festival Altered States showcase, devoted to experimental cinema. Solarz’ shorts include “Vaudeville” and “A Film Made Of,” among others.
Having formed part of a 12-feature work in progress competition at Mar del Plata Festival, which wrapped Sunday, “Album” will now be offered to an industry audience at Ventana Sur’s Primer Corte which screens at five cities – Madrid, Bogotá, Mexico City, São Paulo and Santiago de Chile – throughout this week.