First Look Festival, the annual showcase of new international cinema at the Museum of the Moving Image, has films from Cuba, Argentina and Spain film in its lineup:
La Obra del Siglo (The Project of the Century), Cuba
Carlos Machado´s film tells the story of three men from different generations, living together in an apartment in Nuclear City, an area in Cienfuegos province near what was to have been the first nuclear power plant in the Caribbean. The collapse of the USSR left the project half-completed. Using the ruins of the project, the director refers to the human crisis this event left behind, reviewing Cuba’s recent past to make a universal comment about the fate of utopia.
Esto Es Lo Que Hay (This Is What It Is), Cuba/France
A documentary about the popular and controversial Cuban hip-hop group Los Aldeanos, and the way in which they - and other Cuban artists - can become pawns in larger political games.
Toponimia (Toponymy), Argentina
Toponymy is the discipline that studies the etymological origin of place names. This film examines a series of towns located in the western portion of the province of Tucumán, which were founded by the military government during the mid-70s within the framework of the Operativo Independencia (Operation Independence), a project whose aim was to eliminate the guerrilla groups (mainly the ERP) that operated in that area. In fact, the names chosen for those towns came from members of the military of different ranks who had died during confrontations with guerilla groups. The film focuses on capturing the towns’ present and resorts to an aesthetic as austere as it is rigorous: fifteen-second-long fixed shots. This way, he shows how time has eroded that attempt to impose historical semantics and nature and oblivion still wipe out the traces of the utopia that was attempted there once.
Jet Lag, Spain
A documentary crew films a quiet night at a remote gas station, in a scene evoking an Edward Hopper painting. But a surprise visit changes things, and the lines between documentary and fiction begin to blur.
Capital Cuba, Cuba/Austria (short)
A syncopated visual study of the Cuban seascape in Old Havana and the town of Casa
Blanca uses striking images and an intricate editing rhythm to look at the clash between industry and nature.
New York: Jan. 8 - 24 at the Museum of the Moving Image.