Santiago Miter: “I realized through this film that I can also make people laugh”

Santiago Miter (Maximilian Luna)

“This way the actors work well with me because I am well drunk…” Santiago Mitre, one of the world’s great (young) Spanish-speaking film directors, says with a smile. Santiago is 41 years old, specifically, “young” to be a director, and he already has related work in his filmography. his latest movies, small flower (small flower, like jazz in the 1920s) is somehow derailing my style even now. movies like requesternew edition of Batuta (Originally made by Daniel Tenner in 1960) and the range They put him in the orbit of Planet Cinema as a “political” director. A rarity in these times, but it was. Now with this black comedy shown at the opening show of Bafici 2022, Mitrie dodges any type of dress-up: It’s a story navigating the waters of some great fashion that ends up involving a French-Argentine couple living in Clermont-Ferrand, the city of a tire factory. famous michelin.

“This movie is like wasabi when you eat sushi,” the Buenos Aires filmmaker, a fan of San Lorenzo, draws in the cafeteria meeting point of the independent film festival that takes place these days mostly in downtown Buenos Aires, within a radius of action in cinemas of Buenos Aires (Sala Lugones, Lorca, Cosmos, and more). It is there that Mitri grew up and trained as a spectator first and later as a film student. now with small flowerUruguay Championship Daniel Hendler and the French Vimala Ponce In addition to the critical contributions Melville BobodAnd Françoise Lebrun and eccentric (on screen, Miter reveals, in real life too) Serge LopezHis film was less “serious” and more fun in different ways. “It amuses me, people laugh at the shows, so I realized Well, as a director I can make people laugh. This is a discovery for me,” he admits.

small flower
small flower

In major festivals such as Cannes and Venice, they did not accept “Little Flower”, so should it be considered a cursed film?

– It’s something that we encourage and to some extent I would say that we are proud. With Mariano we wrote the movie and even Eossei, the author of the novel, also participated consiglieri of adaptation. We filmed it, in a beautiful experiment, then edited it, and we really loved it. We were sure that the film was something very offbeat and that it could be well received on the festival circuit. But it turns out that few programmers did not think like us … (laughs), why it happened this way is part of the logic of festivals: there are films that fit into a program and others that don’t. It’s been a strange year, too: The pandemic has caused it all, so when cases fell in Europe, they rose in South America. I mean, there were also epidemiological standards for the tables. But hey, we’ve been rejected at three or four of the top festivals…Now that I’ve made the movie at Bafici, I tend to see it in perspective and can’t think of a better premiere than this one. It is considered “damned”, it seems fair to me. It’s a rare movie that plays in so many ways.

What happens at festivals is that they encourage you to follow a very direct line, and this movie has nothing to do with the movies you’ve made so far. If they sent a movie to me, and they probably knew me because “Matter movies are political” and saw that, they likely thought “what the hell is this?”

– Is it about the average look of the big festivals with some cinema coming from the third world?

– This is a somewhat generalized opinion. I don’t want to say it… but it is true that we live in a time when subject matter prevails. And if one is from Latin America, the subjects are expected to be “social”. They would rather be that kind. I can’t be sure, but something they “say”.

small flower
small flower

– Your early films, among other things, drew attention because – at that time, the first decade of the twenty-first century – it was not uncommon for a young filmmaker to address “political” questions. How did it happen, and where did it come from?

– Well, he took up the “political” as a topic that caught our attention, yes … It was like the cinema of the seventies of the last century, wasn’t it? But I did it because it interests me and is part of my training. Politics is one of the topics I talk about the most. Thinking about politics from the point of view of cinema is what interests me the most and I’ve done this in several films. I will continue to do so. It’s stupid to say that, but it’s Shakespeare, it’s a topic that deals with the history of drama. That’s right… I did requester It was a political rerun and everyone said, “How good a young filmmaker made this movie.” Then they came the gang s the rangein the same line.

– Changing the direction that this film characterizes in your film, is it a path to follow?

– Right from the start, what Iosi does has nothing to do with what I’m doing, so the novel itself pulled me out of my usual area. Now I’ve tried myself in comedy, I guess my previous movies didn’t have much humor… I don’t know what I’m going to do in the future and I’d rather not know.

Santiago Miter (Maximilian Luna)
Santiago Miter (Maximilian Luna)

– You are clearly part of the “Bavicci generation”: your first films, the ones that made your name transcend, began here …

And not only this. She began studying cinema at the Manuel Antin School in 1999, the year of the first edition of Pavecchi. In other words, my training spaces as a director were the Universidad del Cine and the Festival. Edition after edition, devoured me programming, from. Showing one to another, watching four movies a day and sometimes going to see the last 20 minutes of the movie because they told me it was good. Pavecci is a very important place for me in my idea of ​​cinema, of a slightly freer cinema. This festival has always been this way, it’s the flag of freedom. So that this year there is a focus on Manuel’s work and that my film is seen in the opening show, that means a lot to me.

small flower
small flower

– Do you think about the possibility, as happened with Mexican or Chilean directors in recent times, to shoot in English or in what is generally called “Hollywood”? Will you do it?

– I don’t think about it, it seems to me that we are in a moment of transformation in cinema where one can make the powerful capitals of what they call “Hollywood”, which are basically the big catwalks, and finance films in countries like Argentina, spoken in Spanish, with a big budget. So it seems to me that directors who want to make cinema with huge pretexts, we can do it. Because if you’re going to shoot in the US or with those capitals, it’s because you want to make a movie that can be watched all over the world… but for that reason: We’re at a time when we can create ambitious projects in Spanish, and you can try to get representation with this. Genre of actors filmed in Argentina. So I’m going to keep trying this way: I make my own movies, where I can control my creativity and are big, have good distribution, but don’t necessarily have to go to a movie in the States. I’m telling you this nonsense now and three months later they’re telling me “Come, you have this novel and Margot Robbie is going to act… and I’m going” (laughs). But no, this is not in my plans.

Read on:

Yossi Havilio at the premiere of “Little Flower”, the film is based on his novel: “I did not kill in the strict sense of the word, but committed my crimes”
Bavician literature: writers and novels featured in the festival programme
Pavecci: 5 Latin films not to be missed

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