Ernesto Mallo, an Argentinian crime-fiction writer, once said that crime is a great job creator. He may be right, because of crime we have people working in jails, police departments, and security firms. We also have lawyers, judges and writers as a result. Mallo created BAN (Buenos Aires Negra) in 2012 as a way of providing a space where actual crime and the works of fiction they inspire can meet.
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What is it about crime stories that make them so damn appealing? Hard to say, though for a point of reference Netflix has twelve thriller sub-categories. Since the dawning of this millennium, detective led narratives have been produced en masse like never before. Remember House MD? That great show (ok, great until the 5th season, but still). The main characters were based on Sherlock Holmes, House, and Watson, James Wilson. But that’s not the only resemblance. House MD is not a medical drama per se but rather a detective story. Think about it, there is always a crime, the incurable disease, a suspect, the reason for said terrible disease and the investigators follow clues in order to catch the pathological culprit. We all love crime stories for their mystery and the chance they give us to be voyeurs in a seriously messed up world.
This BAN Festival gives you the opportunity to experience the noir genre on a whole new level. Showing audiences first hand that it’s not only about crime fiction but also has connections to the real stories lying just under the surface. It is more than just a meeting of writers rambling on about their work. You get the opportunity to participate in several talks given by journalists, forensic specialists, writers, ex-cons, police chiefs, political analysts and more.
Crime is not only narrated by writers, lawyers, judges and journalists recount the details and context of crimes everyday with the general public. That’s how we receive the vast majority of what gets passed as “news” these days. Everyday we are made aware of a new disappearance, a person brutally violated or murdered, a prosecutor who was found dead the night before a national hearing at the Congress here, a bank robbery or home intrusion there. Whatever you can find in the front page of a newspaper. These are the stories that we follow weekly until we squeeze every last drop of it out and start following a new one. We want to know as much as we can about them until we find ourselves anesthetized and bored, unconsciously overwhelmed by the fact that most of the time justice is not all that fast or clean. Maybe it is that primal perversion sneaking out of us that makes us prefer to know all about the criminal’s mind rather than researching new ways to solve and prevent future crimes.
Crime provides poignant insight into where a society stands. BAN gives us the chance to learn more about people, society and ultimately ourselves. Would you pursue justice or just let it slide?
Come back here tomorrow for more on what you can expect to find at BA. You know… if you can handle it.