Settle in for 14 hours of remarkable filmmaking from iconoclastic Argentinean director Mariano Llinás, whose La flor ups the ante of his 2008 Historias extraordinarias, taking his experiments in cinematic storytelling to unequalled new heights.
Its 807-minute runtime might seem imposing, but it’s a film utterly of its time: across six separate parts (or episodes, or films), La flor builds an engaging, highly binge-able, metatextual work about storytelling, authorship and viewership. Call it a single-origin anthology film that traverses multiple languages and genres – from B-grade mummy movie to musical melodrama, 80s espionage thriller to self-referential satirical ‘documentary’ – always remaining entertaining, amusing and enjoyable.
The first four parts have a beginning but no end; the fifth part is a ‘complete’ story, with a traditional beginning, middle and ending; the final part, meanwhile, drops viewers in media res into its story, to which it provides an actual ending. When mapping out the six narratives in a fourth wall-breaking introduction, Llinás draws the ‘flower’ structure seen in the film’s posters: hence the name.
This session will screen the first two parts, which both won the Hubert Bals Fund Lions Film Award at the Rotterdam Film Festival. Each part features the same four lead actors, or collaborators: Laura Paredes (a regular in the films of Matías Piñeiro, including the MIFF-screened Hermia & Helena, The Princess of France and Viola), Elisa Carricajo, Valeria Correa and Pilar Gamboa. In part one’s nutty sci-fi horror narrative, they feature as scientists who uncover a cursed mummy; in part two’s parallel plots, Gamboa is now a broken-hearted pop diva, with Paredes her PA – a woman under the influence of Carricajo’s cult leader, who is obsessed with creating an elixir of eternal life.
“La flor is above all a film about the art of storytelling itself, its lineage and its ongoing utility … a creative experiment in rethinking, on a moment-by-moment basis, the nature and capacity of storytelling in a contemporary context.” – Cinema Scope
La Flor will screen at MIFF across three sessions with built-in intermissions, in a unique and unmissable, festival-only experience. It can only be booked as a package of all three sessions.