Viva 20th Spanish & Latin American Film Festival

Viva Film FestivalLast Friday 7th of March was the Opening Gala for this year’s Viva Film Festival (stylised ¡Viva! for you snobs perfectionists out there) organised by Cornerhouse in Manchester. The Festival focuses on bringing attention to Latin American and Spanish film in the UK, as well as addressing the cultural background these pictures provide. Definitely an effort that should not be underestimated, as the festival attracts different kinds of audiences interested in learning about these geographically and metaphorically distant lands.

The 20th edition of the Viva Film Festival welcomed its audience with a Screening of Dias de Vinilo (Vinyl Days), Argentine director Gabriel Nesci’s first feature film. This was also the UK Premiere of this film, even though it was released in 2012. I had seen this film before, as it was part of the on-board entertainment on an Air France flight I took last year. One of the festival’s organisers said she had seen it under the same circumstances and decided to consider it for the festival. An excellent choice.

Gabriel Nesci
Gabriel Nesci, Argentine director
A Q&A session with director Gabriel Nesci was held on Sunday 9th of March and I can only describe the event as a privilege. Mr Nesci spoke about the existing difficulties and lack of opportunities in South America when it comes to making films for a living. It is extremely hard to get funding, find an audience and to convince producers your film is not just a big risk they would regret taking. Even successful Argentine directors like Eliseo Subiela make TV adverts to make a living.

dias de vinilo cornerhouse
Cornerhouse

If you ask me, this film was a huge risk to make, and that’s why it is so exciting.

Dias de Vinilo is a romantic comedy about the love of friendship, the love of music and about love itself. Sounds like your average Hollywood rom-com? Prepare to be surprised. This film finds a way to make cooky characters feel real and a seemingly typical premise feel fresh, all while making an spot-on portrayal of Buenos Aires. It was a treat to see some familiar back streets of the Belgrano neighbourhood where I attended Film School. I don’t want to say any more about the film, but the soundtrack is great. This low-budget South American film found a way to use only original songs. None of them were covers. Nesci states he managed to convince music labels by begging them to please grant them the rights to use the songs. Filmmaking doesn’t get any more passionate than this!

dias de vinilo
Dias de Vinilo (Vinyl Days)
If you have the opportunity to catch this on the big screen, please treat yourself. Treat your family and friends too. This is a must watch.

As a bonus recommendation, El Fondo del Mar (The Bottom of the Sea) is another contemporary Argentinian gem with a similar setting, although with darker humour.

If you have already seen this film, please share your thoughts below.

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