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London Film Festival 2011: The S&S blog

Scraps and gems


Kieron Corless, 14 October

My strategy with regard to the LFF hasn’t changed in the 20 odd years I’ve been living in London – apart from the stuff I have to see for work and interviews, I focus exclusively on the films which haven’t got a distributor attached (the LFF catalogue helpfully indicates which do and don’t). Chances are if I don’t see these particular films here in London, I’ll never see them again; given the LFF’s position in the calendar, they’re often coming to the end of their festival run.

In that spirit, my first LFF outing last night was an Argentinian film called Yatasto, a debut documentary feature by Hermes Paralluelo, and I have to say straight up it’s a gem. It follows an extended family of refuse recyclers living in Cordoba as they go about their daily round of collection, interleaving more intimate moments shot in their run-down domestic spaces on the outskirts of the city.

It’s by no means a misery fest. Each character, both old and young, registers strongly and vividly, and there’s humour aplenty, often involving the horse and cart the younger members of the family are learning to drive. It will inevitably draw comparisons with Pedro Costa’s Fontainhas trilogy, particularly In Vanda’s Room, thanks to its fixed digital camera, shadowy interiors and subject-matter, but there are key differences – the predominance of children and the trips round the town with the horse and cart give it a lighter tone.

There’s one more screening of Yatasto still to go, and I would highly recommend it if there are any tickets left.


I’ll continue my trawl of the less-publicised films this weekend, starting tomorrow with The Lord Worked Wonders in Me by the brilliant Spanish maverick Albert Serra (Honour of the Knights, Birdsong), which is twinned with a Lisandro Alonso short called Untitled (Letter for Serra). Serra’s film started out as an art commission, but has since screened at several festivals internationally and been lauded as a masterpiece.

I’ll also see a Spanish film called The Waves, about an elderly man revisiting places he fought during the Civil War – it looks promising, at least on paper. The Day He Arrives is the latest Hong Sang-Soo film, not to be missed despite his neglect by British distributors. I’ll also see another much-lauded Argentinian film called Back to Stay, which Isabel Stevens wrote about in her recent Locarno report.

Finally, on Sunday night I can’t wait to see the archive restoration of The Machine That Kills Bad People, described by Finnish filmmaker and archivist Peter von Bagh as “the strangest of all Rosselini films”. Together with that brilliant title, there can be no stronger recommendation.

« Day one: Starter’s orders

She’s gotta have it: Pariah »

See also

London Film Festival: 30 recommendations (October 2011)

Big stage, new talent: Isabel Stevens on the Locarno Film Festival (August 2011)

Crossing the threshold: Pedro Costa talks to Kieron Corless (October 2009)

Serenity: Miguel Gomes on Costa’s Fontainhas trilogy (October 2009)

Last Updated: 24 Oct 2011