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December 18, 2014
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Celina Murga’s film gets discreet reception

Musician-actor Alián Devetac and filmmaker Celina Murga pose during the photo call for La tercera orilla at the Berlinale.
La tercera orilla, produced by Martin Scorsese, made its debut yesterday at the Berlinale

BERLIN — Celina Murga’s La tercera orilla, one of Argentina’s two entries vying for the Berlinale’s Golden Bear Award, was yesterday screened at the contest and received a discreet critical and audience reception. The film, produced by Murga’s mentor Martin Scorsese, describes the plight of a young boy born out of wedlock and his identity crisis when his father picks him as his successor.

Murga, who previously directed the award-winning productions Ana y los otros and Una semana solos, generated a lot of buzz with her new outing, written by herself and filmmaker Gabriel Medina. Their script was highly praised by Scorsese, who promptly decided to give the project his backing.

After La tercera orilla screened to a packed house at the Berlinale Palast, Murga fielded questions at a press conference with Argentine musician Alián Devetac, who made his acting début in the movie. All in all, La tercera orilla lived up to the expectations it had created, given Murga’s trajectory and the fact that the film was produced by Scorsese. The two first met and worked together in 2009, when Murga won the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative.

After yesterday’s screening, La tercera orilla, a searing drama about social stigmatization and prejudice in a small provincial town like Murga’s own Paraná, is well on its way to clinching the coveted Golden Bear, the festival’s top prize. The film focuses on the tense relation between Nicolás (Devetac) and his father, one of the town’s richest and most influential men (played by theatre director Daniel Veronese).

Murga’s press conference was followed by a round table called Forever Young / Argentinian Cinema of the XXI Century. The event, held at the FilmmuseumDeutsche Kinemathek, was attended by German producer Peter Rommel, Argentine director Benjamín Naishtat (whose own Historia del miedo is also in the Berlinale’s Official Competition), and producer Hernán Musaluppi, a member of the jury that will pick the festival’s big winner. The round table was organized by the World Cinema Fund, which subsidized the films by Murga and Naishtat.

“We are well trained to deal with unstable situations,” Murga said in reference to the financial difficulties faced by most filmmakers in Argentina. Murga has first-hand experience of such situations, since her opera prima, Ana y los otros, was made in 2001, when Argentina was in the middle of a sociopolitical and economic crisis of unprecedented proportions.

“Making a movie under those conditions was sheer madness,” Murga recalled, adding that, “Ideas and the will to achieve something help you overcome economic problems. Once this is clear (in your mind), you’re able to start work on your production.”

It was precisely the Argentine people’s resilience and endurance capacity that the panel members focused on, underlining the role this will play in Argentina cinema in the 21st century.

In this regard, Naishtat commented that, “Argentina always seems to be on the brink of collapse. There are some good sides to this because it forces you to adapt to changing circumstances. In contrast with Europe, where projects are carefully planned with plenty of time, we have to be much more spontaneous.”

Herald with Télam

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