TIFF 2011: FATHERLAND

Fatherland / Tierra de los Padres (Nicolás Prividera, 2011). The presiding conceit of Prividera's sophomore feature Fatherland is noble, to say the least, if not a bit protracted. It joins the ranks of films like Heddy Honigmann's Forever as a testimonial to the fugacity of flesh and the vain "permanence" of the burial marker. Fatherland doesn't quite have the heart of Forever--it's more of an intellectual exercise concerned with the formal and somewhat avant-garde elements of film, plus a rigorous reconstruction of Argentine history through the words of its deceased intellectuals--but it provides a palpable sense of how Buenos Aires' La Recoleta Cemetery is a city within a city, a necropolis within the metropolis, and accomplishes same through its keen observation of architectural detail and its cinematic stroll through the cemetery's avenues. A slow, repetitive and accumulative piece best appreciated by those interested in the formal qualities of film and Argentine history.

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