Les trottoirs de Saturne (1986)

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Les trottoirs de Saturne: Directed by Hugo Santiago. With Rodolfo Mederos, Bérangère Bonvoisin, Edgardo Lusi, Andrea Livier Aronovich. Hugo Santiago and writers Juan José Saer and Jorge Semprún move back and forth between Paris and the city of Aquilea in a shadowy fable about exile. The frontier between one city and the other begins to blur after the bandoneonist Rodolfo Mederos is visited by his sister, a member of a guerrilla organization.

“Caught a rare 35mm of this movie at NYCu0026#39;s Anthology Film Archives during their u0026#39;Bridges in Argentinian Cinema Retrospective.u0026#39; The highlight of this series of Argentinian movies curated by director Matías Piñeiro (u0026quot;Viola,u0026quot; the upcoming u0026quot;Princess of Franceu0026quot;) just happened to be a French movie that happens to be made, features and is about Argentinian exiles living in Paris. u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eA 35mm theatrical screening is as good as it gets to watch this otherwise-unavailable Bu0026amp;W drama revolving around world-class accordion player Fabian Cortes (Rodolfo Mederos, excellent), whose diva-like disappearance for days without warning is tolerated by his French girlfriend Danielle (Bérangère Bonvoisin), his fellow musicians, friends/artistic collaborators and admirers who regularly come see him play. That Fabian claims to speak to a long-dead patron saint of Argentinian accordion players is shrugged off, even though he swears heu0026#39;s not dreaming or talking to a ghost. Whenever theyu0026#39;re not rehearsing, cooking, waxing philosophically, playing impromptu soccer matches or bitching about politics Fabian and their friends reminisce fondly about a Shangri-La type mythical version of Argentina named Aquilea theyu0026#39;ve made up. Then Fabianu0026#39;s guerrilla-involved sister Marta (Andrea Livier Aronovich) suddenly shows up, setting in motion a possibility that fills Fabian and his clique with both delight and fear: a chance to go to Aquilea for real.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eImagine of Jean-Luc Godard had directed u0026quot;Midnight in Parisu0026quot; as a Bu0026amp;W series of musical vignettes with a slow-burn conspiracy movie taking shape and youu0026#39;d get a decent (though nowhere near accurate) idea what u0026quot;Trottoirs de Saturneu0026quot; feels like. At its core this is another love letter to Paris but an intellectual one. The cityu0026#39;s welcoming arms to artists the world over is a romantic notion that is shown to only go so far in quelling an artistsu0026#39; innate need to reconnect and be loved by a nationu0026#39;s power structure that has rejected them. In one of the filmu0026#39;s highlights Danielle (who is an immigration lawyer and helps Fabianu0026#39;s fellow immigrants) confronts her boyfriend about why Argentinian exiles should feel any different than other immigrants who also miss their homelands. That Fabian is willing to turn Danielle into the very exiled life heu0026#39;s rejecting by asking her to go with him to Aquilea speaks volumes about both their characters, which doesnu0026#39;t take away from the movieu0026#39;s cheerful embrace of artificiality as a means to tell its rather-unbelievable but rooted-in-reality story.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eGood supporting performances (including director Hugo Santiago in a prominent non-credited role), gorgeous Bu0026amp;W cinematography, great music and some honest-to-goodness suspense and tension as the movieu0026#39;s final act unfolds makes u0026quot;Les Trottoirs de Saturneu0026quot; a small avant-garde gem.”

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