Born in 1961, director and novelist Martín Rejtman is one of the key figures in the rise of Argentine cinema in the past decade. After studying film at New York University (where he says he learned a philosophy of cooperative filmmaking and “shooting what is at hand”), Rejtman returned home and debuted with the episodic, slice-of-life comedy Rapado (1992), which showed that an alternative mode of filmmaking, based on minimal aesthetics, simple locations, and ordinary characters moving through everyday life, could succeed in an industry then concerned with either commercial slickness or grand artistic statements. Silvia Prieto (1999) and The Magic Gloves (2003) solidified his standing; they construct a world of happenstance and fluidity, where idiosyncratic characters drift wherever the moment takes them.
Rejtman claims inspiration from American screwball comedies of the 1930s, but slows them down to an Aki Kaurismäki–like pace more befitting an Argentina going through financial and social meltdown. His Buenos Aires-a purposefully featureless place of bland apartment complexes and shoddy bars-resembles the early-eighties New York of Jim Jarmusch or Jonathan Demme, or a more heavily sedated version of Eric Rohmer's Paris.
PFA is proud to have Rejtman as our guest for this series, which also includes his most recent film, the documentary Copacabana. It's not the first time he's visited; when taking an English language course at UC Berkeley years ago, he often attended screenings here.