Dir: Gustavo Mosquera R.
88 min., 35mm, 1:1.66, Color
Produktion: Universidad del Cine, Buenos Aires. Buch: Arturo Onativia, Natalia Urruty, Gabriel Lifschitz, Pedro Cristiani, Maria Angeles Mira, Gustavo Mosquera R., nach dem Roman ,Ein Tunnel namens Moebius' von A.J. Deutsch. Gesamtleitung: Gustavo Mosquera R. Kamera: Abel Penalba, Federico Rivares. Ausstattung: Federico Ostrovsky, Lucia Leschinsky. Musik: Mariano Núñez West. Ton: Martin Grignaschi. Schnitt: Pablo Georgelli, Alejandro Brodersohn. Produktionsleitung: Veronica Cura.
Darsteller: Guillermo Angelelli, Roberto Carnaghi, Jorge Petraglia, Anabella Levy.
Uraufführung: 15.7.1996, Universidad del Cine, Buenos Aires.
Weltvertrieb: Fama Films, San Juan Nr. 10, E 28200 San Lorenzo del Escorial/España. Tel.: (34-1) 890 5855, Fax: (34-1) 896 10 70.
Mon 17.02. 18:30 Kino 7 im Zoo Palast Mon 17.02. 21:30 Delphi Tue 18.02. 12:30 Arsenal Wed 19.02. 22:00 Akademie der Künste
A train with more than thirty passengers disappears in the underground system of Buenos Aires. An alarming search action begins, an attempt to explain the inexplicable disappearance. A young topologist is in charge of the investigation. Gradually he gathers maps and technical data. He can't locate the old scholar who designed the complicated underground system, but receives unexpected help from a little girl. However, everything seems pointless. It is only by chance, one which nearly costs him his life, that he finds the surprising solution.
MOEBIUS is the first feature film by the Universidad del Cine, made in a workshop of final year students under the auspices of professors Gustavo Mosquera R. (direction) and María Angeles Mira (production). Students were meant to experience a final work project which was to guide them directly towards the world of creativity and thus enter the film industry.
45 students enrolled in the workshop. The first task was to divide students according to their interests and preferences for the various areas of filmmaking, all of which are part of the curriculum at the faculty of the humanities in the Universidad del Cine.
The next step was the choice of film topic. Prof. Mosquera R. suggested the novel of North American scholar A.J. Deutsch ,A Tunnel Named Moebius' (1950) as the basis for script and film. Subsequently, the different tasks were distributed among the students, an adaptation and a script were written. After the Universidad approved the script and budget, casting commenced. Actors were chosen and locations were searched, some of which had to be built for the purpose. The underground company of Buenos Aires gave permission to remodel a number of underground stations in order that an appropriate atmosphere be created. Finally, filming began, lasting about three months. Editing, synchronization, sound were all created in the departments of the University. Early in 1996 the original music was recorded, the sound was mixed and final editing commenced.
(...) The film is based on a story which seduces the audience into a fantastic world. A train with about thirty passengers has been lost in the underground system of Buenos Aires. Nobody knows where it is. Periodically, we hear the sound of a train moving at unimaginable speed.
A topologist is charged with resolving the mystery, but his explanations don't convince anybody, even if they are the only logical ones. A girl, possessing the innocence of a child, inadvertently helps the young man to achieve the arduous task of reconstructing the schedule of train no. 86.
MOEBIUS is a film with a peculiar beauty. Its literary points of reference are Jorge Luis Borges and Franz Kafka, recognizable in the film's structure, numerous labyrinths, and bookcases filled to the top with lever arch files. The tunnels and the mysterious underground train, riding along the underground tracks with rapid speed, have their equivalents in the inner life of each protagonist. The tunnels are the extension of internal labyrinths, a metaphor for all that within us which remains unknown, which we only vaguely guess or sense in our estrangement in the face of essential problems of existence.
MOEBIUS is technically perfect. It is a reflection on history and memory: a narrative in which everything that has disappeared will linger in the air, without finding a place on earth. It is a story in which "absence" cannot be compensated with pain and reflection. And finally, it is a story which owes a lot to memory.
But MOEBIUS is a lot more interesting than the present analysis can point out. The complexity of the images, the care lavished on the composition of each character, a camera conscious of style and form, all of which hasn't been seen in Argentinian cinema for a long time, as well as a particular kind of poetic force is the unmistakable sign of great art. All this combines to create an aesthetic experience with multiple meanings and powerful emotional effects.
MOEBIUS transports the viewer into a recognizable vacuum. Perhaps it is contemporary space in which nobody listens, fearing that there is nothing to listen to. It is the same space within which one has broken the pact with the word. The spoken word appears to be meaningless, a gesture to which nobody replies, transforming the experience of being into cryptic emptiness.
Guillermo Angelelli's excellent portrayal, Roberto Carnaghi's sensibility, Jorge Petraglia's interpretative care combine to create a solid basis for the film. But the admirable achievement is the work of a team which operated outside the system, not receiving a penny, convinced nevertheless that the effort was well worth it.
The result couldn't be more promising. Manuel Antin's school has proven that a great film can be made with less than $ 300 000. Mosquera and his team are a great hope for our cinema.
(Osvaldo Quiroga, in: El Cronista, Buenos Aires, 17. Oktober 1996)
MOEBIUS is the first feature film of the Universidad del cine. But this is not the only or even the most important merit of the film. MOEBIUS is like the original cinema of our new time; in other words, it is part of original cinema quickly spreading in the world, creating transition points and points of intersection, in search of a lost audience. ,Lost'-because the audience isn't easy to find and ,lost' because the viewer isn't quite ready to accept it. Clearly, there is a discrepancy which we can observe in our nucleus, the Universidad del Cine, in this nucleus which increasingly becomes a kind of web, a part of the cinematographic body in the world (far beyond its educative function, its function as film producer, as producers of reflections on the cinema). (...)
In my opinion, MOEBIUS contains a discourse which is at the centre of the film, it is the main thesis, the absolving element. The inner search leads to a different space and into a different time, seemingly constituting the premise of the film. This discourse becomes more interesting if one assumes that it has really gotten lost and that it is therefore necessary to track it down, to look for it, to investigate it, down there in the depth of one's being, in the unconscious of each single person. (...)
(Marcel Gonzélez, in: Universidad del Cine, Nr. 16, October 1996)
The first film university in Latin America in Buenos Aires-San Telmo is situated in a special district. Previously, when Argentinia was still enjoying economic success, the citizens of Buenos Aires moved there when they needed a good address. When the country's decline became unstoppable, they preferred visiting their psychiatrists here. In the meanwhile, numerous antique stores offer the leftovers of former affluence and a by now famous flea market attracts tourists in droves on Sundays. Furthermore, the bohemian world has settled here, there are graphic design work shops and studios, a municipal museum for modern art which lives a precarious existence; drama is performed and culinary delights are enjoyed. Sometimes, a stage is transformed into a film centre, such as the small side street Giuffra 330, where ,La Gran Aldea' became the headquarters of the FUC, the Fundación Universidad del Cine, the foundation University of cinema. Locale and name of the institution have been carefully selected: in the atmosphere of multiculturalism, not in some anonymous office building, film will be taught as a form of cultural expression, not simply technology or arts and crafts.
This was Manuel Antín's desire when he founded the film school in 1991. Already in the sixties he had attempted to renew Argentinian cinema in cooperation with other directors of his generation. He tried to create an intelligent relationship between literature and film (in his case based on the work of Julio Cortßzar) in projects such as La cifra impar (1961), Circe (1963) or Intimidad en los parques (1964). Two decades later, from 1984 to 1989, as director of the National Film Institute, he undertook to recreate the national cinema, destroyed by military dictatorship, by introducing a consistent system of subsidies, thus managing to provide the new demo-cracy with a cinematic tradition which was noticed world wide.
The Universidad del Cine is his third attempt to intervene in the cinema culture at the Rio de la Plata, once again suffering from decline. According to him, the cause for the decline has "its roots in the general cultural vacuum and in the staggering lack of education in our country". His goal is to use his institution to "create a humanist space in which a different kind of film can be created, a different type of filmmaker can blossom". Therefore, his concept includes imparting film knowledge but also a general curriculum of courses such as learning a second language (English or French). This film school is keen to compensate for the deficits of the general school system. Most of all, however, the school is interested in being a ,School for Dreaming'. For Manuel Antín filmmaking is not a craft like any other, but "a profession which deals with dreams" - his very words in the preface to the booklet of course descriptions. "According to Goethe architecture is ,visible music'. Accordingly, one could claim that film is an audible and visible dream." He has therefore formulated the following steps of learning: "Firstly, looking, then filming, writing, doing photography, making sound, editing, directing, creating spaces, in short: dreaming."
Naturally, this is not an easy task in a school which, in its fourth year of operation, has grown to five hundred students and nearly one hundred teachers and where teaching takes place in three shifts (morning, afternoon, evenings). On the one hand, the space is very limited, despite occupancy of a second and soon a third building in San Telmo; furthermore, many students have to earn their living on the side. Study fees are not low (between $280 and $400 per month, depending on the year of study), therefore the FUC has been reproached for being an institution for the wealthy. Manuel Antín is aware of the problem and therefore hands out about one hundred scholarships, resulting in a reduction, in some cases even the cancellation of the fees altogether
In Menem's neo-liberal country the school receives no public funding and thus has to finance its existence solely from its own earnings, i.e. the study fees. These are calculated so as to provide more than adequate technical resources which go far beyond the means of the few public institutions or the numerous private film and video courses where students have to provide their own technical equipment. From the second year, filming is done preferably on 16 or 35 mm film, not using video film such as is the tradition in other institutions. Teachers are well-paid which means that many important Argentinian film people are part of the teaching body. One of the foundation's rule stipulates that university profits have to be rolled over into investments. The FUC functions well as an enterprise, therefore it has been able to celebrate a second International Festival of Film Schools in 1995, even making the transition to producing feature films.
Few other film institutions in Latin America have such excellent conceptional and technical preconditions for the creative learning process. Much could be improved, but the school has to learn from experience, since it cannot rely on any of its own traditions.
(Peter B. Schumann)
Gustavo Mosquera R. was born in 1959 in Buenos Aires. From 1980 to 1985 he studied at the CERC, the film school of the National Film Institute.
1981: Grillos. 1982: Las garras del tiempo. 1984: Mma...; Manzana de las luces. 1985: Arden los juegos. 1988: Lo que vendrß (first feature film). 1996: MOEBIUS.
© 1997 by International Forum of New Cinema. All rights reserved.