The Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema starts in less than a week, and if you’re anything like us, you’re still scrambling to put together a schedule. The problem with attempting to select films from such a wide-ranging catalog is that there’s just so much to choose from. Do we focus on the excellent Argentine films that are in competition? Do we go for some more esoteric international fare? Or do we stick with lighthearted, crowd-pleasing comedies?
Last week, we recommended ten films you shouldn’t miss at this year’s BAFICI, and though it was a valiant attempt, it barely scratched the surface of the wealth of material on display at this festival. So we’re back to delve a little deeper with another list of recommendations. These are ten additional films that offer something unique, interesting, and entertaining. Remember, though, that part of the joy of a festival like this is the process of discovery, and stumbling onto something new and unexpected.
Make sure to check the BAFICI official website for program details, ticket information, and details on additional activities. We’ve linked to each of these films’ entries on the BAFICI website below, so if something looks good to you, feel free to just click through and get more information and/or purchase tickets.
Chilean director Sebastian Lelio’s follow-up to his Academy Award winning film A Fantastic Woman is an adaptation of Naomi Alderman’s 2006 novel about a lesbian daughter returning to New York from her Orthodox Jewish community in London. Starring Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams, this taut drama about religion, sexuality, and identity has been racking up rave reviews all through the festival circuit, and appears to be another high point in Lelio’s flourishing career.
April 12 10:45 PM | Village Caballito
April 13 5:30 PM | Village Caballito
April 16 2:10 PM | Espacio INCAA cine Gaumont
Back in the late nineties, hilariously bad rap-metal act Limp Bizkit released a song called “Break Stuff.” The lyrics to are about coping with a terrible, terrible day by… well, breaking things. Lead singer Fred Durst didn’t delve too deeply into the details of why exactly his day was so terrible (beyond his proclamation that “everything is f–ked, everybody sucks”); that said, we have a feeling his day was probably not as bad as the one depicted in this wistful Korean dramedy. Kyung-Yoo’s girlfriend decides to leave him on the same day that a tiger happens to escape from a zoo, leading him to reconnect with an old lover who is going through her own crisis of sorts. It’s just one of those days.
April 13 9:10 PM | Village Recoleta
April 14 4:30 PM | Village Recoleta
April 16 10:50 PM | Artemultiplex Belgrano
If you’re not still reeling from the fact that we just used a Limp Bizkit song to describe a Korean independent film, we can move on to our next pick: Brett Haley’s sweet-hearted comedy Hearts Beat Loud, a story about an aging hipster who has to come to terms with three crushing truths: His dreams of pop stardom are probably not going to pan out; he probably needs to let go of his struggling record store; his daughter is a grown woman who must leave him to carve out her own path in life. Nick Offerman shines in this heartbreaking little comedy about failure, family, and music. No Limp Bizkit references here.
April 13 2:10 PM | Espacio INCAA cine Gaumont
April 14 2:00 PM | Espacio INCAA cine Gaumont
April 21 11:20 PM | Village Recoleta
4. Jeune Femme
This charming, quirky French film follows Paula, whose recent breakup has left her faced with the daunting prospect of starting her life over with nothing by her side but her cat. She returns to Paris to meet new people, find new inspiration, and try to make a new life for herself. A film produced almost entirely by women (both in front of, and behind, the camera), Jeune Femme is a story about finding humor in hardship, told through lead actresss Laetitia Dosch’s empathic charm and director Léonor Serraille’s sharp and incisive gaze.
April 12 10:50 PM | Artemultiplex Belgrano
April 13 3:30 PM | Artemultiplex Belgrano
April 19 11:20 PM | Village Recoleta
5. Pin Cushion
A coming-of-age story about a young girl and her mother adapting to life in a new town, Pin Cushion wears its heart on its sleeve in its depictions of otherness, insecurity, and bullying. A fragile and endearingly peculiar movie whose earnestness might be misinterpreted as a vestige of mid-aughts “twee,” this film is actually very ambitious both in scope and execution; director Deborah Haywood’s sympathetic approach manages to make this movie laugh-out-loud funny while also bold and unafraid to examine the psychological damage wrought by bullying in all ages.
April 13 8:00 PM | Village Caballito
April 14 11:59 PM | Village Caballito
April 21 11:59 PM | Village Recoleta
Taiwanese director Yang Ya-che delivers a thrilling mishmash of genres with this film about a scheming, coldly calculating gangster matriarch and her two daughters. Scandals, murder, corruption, and betrayal are part of this labyrinthine political thriller that has been leaving audiences with their mouths agape throughout the world.
April 21 2:30 PM | Village Recoleta
April 22 9:50 PM | Village Recoleta
An interesting twist on the tried-and-true “bawdy high school comedy” genre, this Canadian film follows Liam, a socially awkward teenager who has been homeschooled by his mother (played by the great Judy Greer). Right before it’s time to take the state exam that will officially make him a high school graduate, Liam falls head-over-heels in love with a girl. Thus, he does what any level-headed person would: purposely flunks the test in order to finally attend high school and get the chance to know her.
April 12 6:00 PM | Village Caballito
April 13 10:00 PM | Village Caballito
April 17 3:15 PM | Village Recoleta
April 22 11:00 PM | Artemultiplex Belgrano
What happens when you find out, later in life, that you’re not the person you always thought you were? That’s the question posed by Román, an Argentine film directed by Majo Staffolani, about a quiet real estate agent whose marriage, work, and identity are thrown into disarray when he finds himself attracted to another man who also happens to be twenty years his junior. A film that also happens to be about the neurosis of the average porteño, Román treats its subject seriously without forgetting to point out the absurdity of the lies we tell ourselves.
April 18 9:10 PM | Village Recoleta
April 19 6:20hs PM | Village Recoleta
April 21 4:30 PM | Village Recoleta
9. Happy End
If you’re familiar with German director Michael Haneke, then you’re aware of the implicit irony in the title of this movie, even without having seen it. Author of such heart-wrenching fare as Funny Games and White Ribbon, Haneke is not only an expert on mining the strongest human anxieties for dramatic fodder, he is also a BAFICI veteran. An incisive drama about a bourgeois family set against the backdrop of the European refugee crisis, Haneke is as effective as ever at examining the darkest recesses of human nature.
April 12 2:30 PM | Espacio INCAA cine Gaumont
April 13 4:30 PM | Espacio INCAA cine Gaumont
April 19 10:40 PM | Artemultiplex Belgrano
Another yearly highlight of BAFICI is its selection of music documentaries. Whether it’s Julien Baker’s Joe Strummer biopic The Future is Unwritten, or Nick Cave’s fascinating 20000 Days on Earth, BAFICI always has some interesting music docs on display. This year is no exception, with Steve Loveridge’s thorough portrait of Sri Lankan musician Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasam, better known to audiences as M.I.A. Assembled from hours of interview, performance, and archival footage, this documentary promises to provide a fresh perspective on its intriguing and subversive star.
April 12 4:00 PM | Village Recoleta
April 17 8:30 PM | Village Caballito
April 21 11:10 PM | Espacio INCAA cine Gaumont
Once again, remember that this is just a small selection of what’s available in this rich and diverse festival. Be sure to check out the entire schedule here, and see what piques your interest!