So, uh… it’s been a wild few days, hasn’t it?
Look, folks. It finally happened. Argentina is officially on lockdown. Have you ever watched a film where, through the course of the first two acts, we hear news reports in the background of a certain looming threat that becomes of utmost importance during the final act? This is our version of that. The thing we kind of hoped would just go away on its own but continues to be a thorn on our collective side, like “Baby” Etchecopar.
As you probably already know, the Argentine populace has entered a mandatory quarantine in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. If you want to learn more about what this mandatory quarantine means and how the government’s measures will affect your daily life, check out The Essential. They’re dropping their paywall to make all their coverage of the Coronavirus available to all readers. To make it real simple: we all have to stay inside. That’s right! Stay cooped up until the end of the month and hopefully we’ll all get through this thing.
We live in a world where finding entertainment isn’t particularly difficult, even when you’re locked indoors. You could read one of the many books you’ve likely been hoarding for years. You could take this as an opportunity to finally alphabetize your record collection. You could put on elaborate stage plays using your collection of bobblehead toys (yes, these are things I’ve actually been up to for the last 48 hours). But one of the best ways you can spend your time is by checking out some streaming content. And hey, since we’re in Argentina, why not make sure the content we’re streaming is Argentine too?
We’ve already put out a list of Argentine streaming options you should be checking out. We stand by each and every one of these picks. But in the time since we posted our article, a few new options have been made available. So in the interest of keeping you entertained (and keep you from going completely insane in the midst of this surreal situation), let’s go through a few choice selections.
At the End of the Tunnel
Okay, hear us out. A tense, psychologically complex thriller about underground tunnels may not be your first choice for these stressful times of social isolation. You might be in the mood for something a bit more lighthearted. Don’t worry, we’ll offer you plenty of that in this list. But I’ve personally found that watching dark movies during dark times actually serves as its own kind of catharsis. This taut thriller starring the great Leonardo Sbaraglia (of whom we’re pretty big fans here at The Bubble) will keep you entertained and on the edge of your seat for a good couple hours.
Porno Para Principiantes
On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, we have Carlos Ameglio’s fun, winsome, deliciously awkward comedy Porno Para Principiantes, a laugh-out-loud hilarious period piece starring Martín Piroyanski. Set largely in the 1980s, this film is both a barrel of laughs and an impressive display of production design in a way that feels both deliberately overdone (it is, after all, framed as an extended flashback by an unreliable narrator, and we do tend to color our memories with exaggerated features) and also perfectly natural.
Sometimes, when you’re dealing with a topic as heavy as… well, pretty much everything that’s going on in the world right now, you don’t want to watch something that’s actually good. Okay, let me rephrase that, because we might fall into that trap of suggesting that there actually is such a thing as objective quality when it comes to the arts: what I mean is, you want to watch something that’s cheap, tawdry, ridiculous, and fun. That’s exactly what the show Millennials is, and thankfully, we’ve already written a whole article about why you should be giving in to its irresistible charms. So go look at our impassioned plea for you to check out this show, and then join us in celebrating its lunacy.
We loved Dry Martina when we caught it at BAFICI a few years ago, so we were overjoyed to find that it’s available to stream on Netflix. This film follows the life of Martina, an Argentine singer whose attempts to cling on to the glory of her heyday have left her sad, embittered and alone. Shaken by the onset of her 40s and the sudden arrival of a fan who claims to be her sister (and whose boyfriend Martina can’t help being attracted to), Martina takes a trip down to Chile to try to put that faded flicker of light back into her life.
Much has been said about one of the most interesting and controversial shows to ever hit Argentine television — and hey, we’ve even said a lot about it ourselves! This grim, gritty, occasionally ridiculous but always entertaining story jumps back and forward in time between seasons to tell us the story of San Onofre, a notoriously violent and derelict prison. There are about as many moments of stark realism in the show as there are moments that are laugh-out-loud hilarious in their soap-opera-y turns, but one thing is for sure: this show will keep you hooked the whole way through.
Pandemics are scary. You know what’s even scarier? Slipping into madness. That’s why it’s so fun to watch other people do it; you get the surge of adrenaline from seeing somebody’s life crumble bit by bit, without any of the permanent consequences. Sebastián Schindel’s almost unbearably tense The Son tells a story of redemption, forgiveness, and attempting to rebuild your life after a period of extreme darkness only to witness how even more darkness foils your feeble attempts.
El Potro: Lo Mejor del Amor
Have you ever felt a sense of curiosity about the inner workings of Cordoba’s cuarteto scene? No? Me neither. But somehow a movie like El Potro: Lo Mejor del Amor — which isn’t really about cuarteto as much as it is about one specific cuarteto star, the titular El Potro — makes it incredibly fascinating. Buoyed by thrilling concert setpieces amidst pieces of boilerplate biopic drama, this beautifully shot and fittingly dramatic picture will take you on a journey and teach you about a deeply influential Argentine artist you didn’t know you needed to know.
Zombies, Gore, and B-Movie Silliness: Farsa Producciones
So far all of our picks have been from Netflix, but perhaps you’re in the mood for something a little… shall we say, trashier? Look, nobody can deny the appeal of a good B movie. Whether it’s about a zombie pandemic, a ragtag group of mutant vigilantes, or a team of professional wrestlers who are more concerned with taking on organized crime than they are actually fighting on the ring, the good folks at FARSA PRODUCCIONES have made a career out of making silly, hilarious, incredibly entertaining films, and they’re all available for free on their Youtube channel! Sure, it may not be “high art,” but it’s not trying to be. And in not trying to be anything beyond what it is, it becomes almost transcendental.
Make sure to also check out all the great content on Cine.Ar Play, which features several gems of Argentine film as well as very new additions which you can stream for as little as $30 pesos. Do you know what $30 pesos gets you these days? Literally nothing! So go check out some smaller, independent or arthouse films as well as the ones listed above, because they are more than worth your time. And right now you have a lot of it!