Martin Benchimol, Pablo Aparo: El Espanto

It’s slow, it has no music if I remember correctly, the images are amazing, from countryside of Argentina, the characters are wonderful, full of humour and originality – and mystery because in El Dorado the inhabitants tell good stories and when it comes to illnesses, they can cure them themselves, they don’t need doctors to come around. The filmmakers mostly place the people in front of the camera, they talk, very much about the only disease they can´t cure by themselves but there is one, who can, Jorge (PHOTO), who lives on the other side of the bridge, el espanto is the name of the illness, whatever that is, it is said that it is something that especially women get, but what it is…

The filmmakers give us a glimpse of Jorge, who confirms that he can heal, also citizens from El Dorado come to me, he says, even if they – on camera – deny it. As they deny that there should be any homosexuality in the small society. Jorge refuses to have one more visit by the filmmakers and focus shifts to an accident on the bridge, did someone die, apparently, but many theories come up, they ARE storytellers. And the filmmakers listen and go with them, also to create an atmosphere of comedy like when a wedding takes place, where the groom looks absent and far from happy, while the bride in her wedding dress dances for herself. Yes, love is a theme in this film, you listen to the couples and their comments on this theme, they have a good time – but Jorge does not take part, there is light in his house, but he turns it off and the film, a lovely one, is over.

Argentina, 2017, 65 mins.

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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