Christian spends his days trimming grass and taking care of a football court at a Gated Community in the most distant suburbs of Buenos Aires, not far from the blur point where the green wilderness begins. The people inside the community hardly ever go out, and visitors are rare. But Christian belongs to both worlds, the gated and the wild. He fears the impact of the strange people that have started wandering nearby the Community. Everyday he spends long moments simply watching them, observing their moves through the fence, wondering if he should take sides in this invisible war. When one more year is about to end, under an unreal December heat, a large gathering takes place at the Community. Everybody comes, friends and relatives. The kids play out in the park. Midnight comes and rockets are launched. Everybody is drunk now. And suddenly there’s a power blackout. Maybe it’s because of the heat. Someone quietly makes a remark about those strangers, and people get tense. They keep drinking and try to stay calm. But terror spreads like a stain of ink. And then they can see. In this darkness they can finally see them.
It started with a question. This happened not too long ago. It’s early in the morning and I’m having coffee at some indistinct McDonalds. Everything is quiet until I notice him. There’s a skinny junkie dancing by himself around the restaurant. At first, people just look at him with distance, but soon he has all of us hypnotized. His eyes are completely absent and tell nothing, yet one can feel that behind that face he hides another, one of terrible intentions. Everyone - the guards as well - is paralyzed by now. I can’t move, I’m too scared. And I can’t understand where does it happen, where does the fear take place. After all, he’s only dancing. Fear is the core of the film. It first works in a cerebral way: fear emerges from context and works through the logical understanding by the audience of the situations that the characters face. But as the film unravels, it shall become more and more intuitive, physical, almost epidermic. This experience is key for the film, in the sense that it has the power to achieve a much more real connection with the audience. Real as in primary, an urgent and immediate comprehension that is beyond cultural background or prejudice. It happens here and now. This is how I will develop the subject matter of the project: the fear of the Other. This Other one doesn’t understand; one doesn’t know; one barely ever sees, yet we feel it threatens the way one lives. What’s haunting about this Other is that it has become a mental picture in one’s mind, with no concrete entity. He is an idea, a word, a projection. It’s as much a problem, as it’s something we need. The film deals with these fearsome projections of an Other that has become a symptom of our times. Both the tone and rhythm of the film will spin around the purpose of building an atmosphere of tension and uncertainty. I will take time to observe this very particular outskirt scenery, capturing the dullness of the suburban condition and the presence of nature in these desolated landscapes. Acknowledging fear as a basic human emotion, I will drive the actors through a journey into their most instinctive nature, aiming to capture the physicality of borderline performances
- REI CINE
I was given an 8mm camera at age 11, and I would make shorts with friends from school, crazy horror or action films or very bad animations.
Benjamin Naishtat was born in Buenos Aires in 1986, where he lives and works. He conducted grade studies at Universidad del Cine (Argentina) in Buenos Aires, followed by a two year contemporary arts program in Le Fresnoy (France). He has done both fiction shortfilms such as THE GAME (which premiered at Cannes Cinéfondation in 2010 and won Best Short at Bafici) and experimental works such as HISTORY OF EVIL (which played in Rotterdam in 2011 and went on to a circuit of galleries and art shows). His debut feature HISTORY OF FEAR (2014) opened at Berlinale´s Official Competition and won main awards at Jeonju, San Francisco and Wroclaw New Horizons. It also played in over 40 international festivals including New Director’s New Films, Indie Lisboa, London BFI, Rio IFF, Karlovy Vary and Tolouse. It had a theatrical release in six countries. EL MOVIMIENTO, his second feature, screened at the Locarno Film Festival in 2015. His latest project PUAN was selected at the Berlinale Coproduction Market 2021.