Historias Extraordinarias, Mariano Llinás, Argentina, 2008, 245’
The end of the cycle which for four months we have dedicated to the Universidad del Cine in Buenos Aires with the screening of one of its fundamental films: the gigantic, great, infinite and extraordinary (redundancy necessary) Historias Extraordinarias by Mariano Llinás.
These days we have read that the director, whose complete body of work we have reviewed in this cycle, will present his latest film in April at the Independent Film Festival of Buenos Aires. La Flor, his latest work, has a length of 840 minutes (14 hours!), meaning that the event is likely to equal and surpass the extraordinary feat of the film that we present today, a story-river that spans four hours.
But this is not a competition about length. What is extraordinary about this film, beyond its duration, has to do with how Llinás takes what he had announced in previous films to the extreme: that the story and oral and visual narration are spaces of total freedom in which everything is possible.
Now, a map of the film: the Province of Buenos Aires and its mysteries: the pampa, the river, the roadside hotels, its architecture and its stories that are told, spoken, imagined, forgotten; not those told in books. Three solitary characters who travel across this territory (X, Z, H) and whose destinies never cross each other. Now, a gunshot (how many films start or end with a gunshot). Another gunshot. An all-out gunfight. We’re now inside the film and this is unstoppable, more characters and more stories crossing each other: a possessed architect, a bet, a treasure. A collection of legendary names which from now on will become part of our memories: Factorovich, Samoa, Lola Gallo. Engineering works and serious occupations in the field that include plans, land surveyors, measurements, reinforced concrete. A tame lion. Hints of Conrad, Verne, Wells and Stevenson. Hints of Invasión, a film by Hugo Santiago written by Borges and Bioy Casares (and which we will screen in Tabakalera in late June). Four hours of pure cinema, a journey to the end of the province, a joyful film (the joy of discovering this film) and an extraordinary collection of extraordinary stories. One of those key films that we wanted to screen in this cinema since we opened it two years ago, and which we can now offer to you at last.
The DVD edition of Historias Extraordinarias -which introduces this film to the international circuit for the first time- has been made in collaboration with Caimán- Cuadernos de Cine, the International Film Festival of Ourense, IBAFF (International Film Festival of Murcia), Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola and Tabakalera.