Martín Rejtman: Argentinean Filmmaker in New York Anthology

This spring brings a visit to NY from filmmaker Martín Rejtman, one of the key figures of the New Argentine Cinema. Born in 1961, Rejtman studied at New York University before returning to Argentina to make Rapado (1992), a film that had a huge impact on independent Argentine cinema, blazing a trail for later filmmakers such as Pablo Trapero, Lucrecia Martel, Daniel Burman, and Lisandro Alonso. Anthology is pleased to present these screenings of two of Rejtman’s seminal films.

Rejtman claims inspiration from American screwball comedies of the 1930s, but slows them down to an Aki Kaurismäki–like pace more befitting an Argentina going through financial and social meltdown. His Buenos Aires – a purposefully featureless place of bland apartment complexes and shoddy bars – resembles the early-1980s New York of Jim Jarmusch or Jonathan Demme, or a more heavily sedated version of Eric Rohmer’s Paris.

by Martín Rejtman

2003, 90 minutes, 35mm.
In Spanish with English subtitles.

His Renault 12 may be old, crappy, and terribly un-cool, but for 35-year-old car service driver Alejandro it’s a haven of peace and his sole object of desire – besides disco dancing, that is. When the good-natured driver runs into fast-talking self-made “Piraña” one evening, he begins spiraling into an adventure he can’t control. Chance encounters and new friendships with a steadily growing number of lucid, pill-popping psychotics present promising business opportunities. Alejandro suddenly finds himself rich from selling one-size-fits-all “magic gloves”, which also bring porn, dog-walkers, health-spas, and anti-depressants into Alejandro’s life. In this absurdist comedy, Rejtman, a master of deadpan humor, once again gives life to endearingly obsessive characters, offers a unique and un-romanticized view of Buenos Aires, and builds a poetic coherence from apparently banal situations.

by Martín Rejtman

1999, 92 minutes, 35mm.
In Spanish with English subtitles.

A minimalist deadpan comedy involving drifting characters and objects, this film focuses on Silvia Prieto, a rather unexceptional young woman who on her 27th birthday resolves to make some changes in her life – changes that bring out a few eccentricities. When she discovers that there are other women who share her name, she develops a bizarre obsession with the “other” Silvia Prieto, an obsession that involves unraveling the riddle of her own identity. Silvia Prieto is a meditation on what it means, or doesn’t mean, to be yourself.

Filmmaker in attendance.




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