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CULTURE | 26-09-2023 12:40

Argentine filmmakers protest against Javier Milei at San Sebastián Festival

Argentine film directors and actors published a manifesto at the 71st San Sebastián International Film Festival, protesting against the closure of cultural institutions, one of the campaign promises of libertarian front runner Javier Milei.

A group of national filmmakers have used a high-profile film festival in Spain to stage a protest against libertarian presidential frontrunner Javier Milei’s proposed policies. 

Representatives of the 25 Argentine productions present at the legendary San Sebastián Film Festival protested last Sunday night to condemn cutbacks the La Libertad Avanza leader plans to make to the sector if he wins next month’s election.

Two domestic stars with high profiles, actor Leonardo Sbaraglia and director Santiago Mitre, joined by the festival’s director José Luis Rebordinos, posed on the steps of the Kursaal, the Spanish festival's main venue, behind the national flag with the slogan "Argentine cinema united." 

In a manifesto released at the same time, the filmmakers expressed their "deep concern about the statements of the presidential candidate of a far-right party threatening to close the National Institute of Cinema and Audiovisual Arts," the body known as INCAA in Argentina.

Ramiro Marra, La Libertad Avanza’s candidate for Buenos Aires City mayor recently wrote on the social network known as X (formerly Twitter) declared that the party is "going to close the INCAA.''

In a message on the same social network, the San Sebastián Festival posted in solidarity with the demo, saying it wanted to show "its support for Argentine cinema, the INCAA and the rest of the country's cultural institutions."

Argentine cinema has a strong presence in this 71st edition of the festival, with two films directed by Argentine directors in the main ‘Official Section’ category , in addition to taking over a good part of the Horizontes Latinos section, dedicated to cinema from the region.

Two entries in particular are drawing the eye: the gastronomic series Nada, made by directorial duo Mariano Cohn and Gastón Duprat, which counts on the participation of Robert de Niro and stars Luis Brandoni; and La práctica, a film by Martín Rejtman.

In Nada, Cohn and Duprat (Ciudadano ilustre, Competencia oficial), direct a five-part series about a food critic played by Brandoni. 

The character’s assistant, housekeeper and cook, who has lived with him for decades and takes care of everything, dies, forcing him to take charge of his life and realising that he doesn't know how to do anything – hence the title. Brandoni then decides to hire a girl from Paraguay, leading to a clash of cultures and personalities. Much to the delight of local fans, the series features De Niro, the lead actor’s real-life friend.

"We explained to him that the series was going to pay homage to Buenos Aires and, as a lover of the city, he was enthusiastic," Duprat told the festival's newspaper.

"He spent 10 days filming with us, of which we have excellent memories", said Cohn.

by Alfons Luna & Rosa Sulliero, AFP

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