Doc Talk: Screening of Viola and Q&A with Filmmaker Matías Piñeiro
Monday, March 6, 2017 at 1:00 pm to 3:50 pm
Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Auditorium (Room N101), Sheila C. Johnson Design Center 66 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10003
Documentary Studies presents a screening of Viola (2012, 65 min.) and a Q & A with filmmaker Matías Piñeiro.
The Argentinian filmmaker makes films about Shakespearian plays, which are also ways of making films about his contemporary generation of young artists and bohemians living in Buenos Aires. His Shakespearean-inflected films are about love and desire, and about national identity and gender identity; but mostly they are films that document everyday life in the twenty-first century as experienced by young urban Latin Americans whose passions and interests defy cliché and stereotype.
Why Shakespeare? And in the case of Viola, based on Shakespeare’s comedy Twelfth Night, why focus on the interior lives of a troupe of young amateur theater actors rehearsing a classical text about love’s ironic complexities? As A.O. Scott writes in The New York Times, why “juxtapose Shakespearean comedy with modern manners”?
Although Piñeiro is a fiction filmmaker, his films highly scripted and precisely directed, the experience of watching a Piñeiro film feels very much like watching a documentary film by Frederick Wiseman or Albert Maysles or Amanda Rose Wilder: as if this young independent writer-director were observing with a documentarian’s Vertovian camera eye the finite details of character and place that his actors display as they perform narratives within narratives, their offstage lives blending spontaneously with their theatrical onstage lives. Piñeiro’s quotations of Shakespeare give him an indirect, filtered approach to observing the playful everyday lives of young people preoccupied by art and literature yet shaped by previous decades of violent and chaotic South American history.
The films are also documents that offer a kind of eyewitness record of a culture embedded in a particular current moment recorded by an observational-like direct cinema documentary camera. The soundtrack, too, mimics verite documentary, often picking up stray street sounds external to interior scenes, or sounds of ubiquitous cell phones ringing and disrupting intense close-up exchanges and intimacies.
A graduate of Argentina’s Universidad del Cine, and recently described by The New York Times as of one of twenty young directors to watch, Piñeiro now lives in New York but returns frequently to Buenos Aires where he independently funds his films through grants and awards. His interest in Shakespeare stems from his friends, many of whom are actors, but also from recent translations of Shakespeare by Latin American poets who offer a vernacular Spanish closer to modern Latin America than that of Spain.
Please join us for the opportunity to meet this inventive young writer-director from Buenos Aires whose last two independent films, The Princess of France and Helena and Hermia, screened at the New York Film Festival and whose genre-border-crossings of documentary and fiction, and history and modernity, have caused him to emerge as one of Latin America’s most exciting new filmmakers.
Hosted by Deanna Kamiel, Director of the Graduate Certificate in Documentary Media Studies and Assistant Professor, Media Studies.
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