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Rojo 2018

Rojo | Vermelho Sol


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Rojo-Vermelho Sol

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When everybody is silent, no one is innocent.

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About the Rojo 💬


As unprecedented political violence unleashes through the mid-70s in Argentina, some people find just the perfect setting for hiding very bad deeds.

  • In Argentine province, 1975.

Set in Argentina in the mid-seventies, a strange man arrives in a quiet provincial city. In a restaurant, without any apparent reason, he starts insulting Claudio Morán (Darío Grandinetti), a renowned lawyer. The community supports the lawyer and the stranger is humiliated and thrown out of the place. Later that night the stranger, who is determined to wreak a terrible vengeance, intercepts Claudio and his wife Susana (Andrea Frigerio). The lawyer then takes a path of no return involving death, secrets, and silences.

Taking inspiration from his cinematographic fascination of the 70s, his family's past, and the genre films of Francis Ford Coppola, Sidney Lumet or John Boorman, director Benjamín Naishtat creates a tense crime film recreating the tropes of the decade about a social situation of silence foreshadowing Argentina's darkest years.

  • Interview with Benjamín NAISHTAT

Q: How did you come up with the idea of ROJO? Did you intend to continue with a certain line of work started in Historia del miedo (History of Fear) and El movimiento (The Movement), your two previous films?

Benjamín Naishtat: There is always some kind of continuity. In this case, it has to do more with historical interests, but also formal interests. My first movie included some horror film elements in order to treat the subject of class paranoia in Argentina. The second one was also based on the history of the country, with the idea of revising the past and attempting to say something about certain current tensions. ROJO is a project that has been hanging around my head for a long time and it has to do with my fixation with the 1970s. Anyone who was born in Argentina in the eighties carries the weight of some sort of symbolic burden. Besides, in my case, there is a family history of persecution and exile that precedes me and still resonates.

Q: In your three feature films, we can see an interest in exploring areas of conflict in Argentine history, moments when very strong antagonisms came to the fore.

Benjamín Naishtat: History is not a photograph that remains still and from which we move away. It is a dynamic, resounding thing. Today, it is very clear in Argentina, where history is alive and resounds in people. That is why it is important to keep that history alive, but also to retain a relevance to the present day, which is what this movie attempts to do: to talk about the apathy of people when serious things happen around them and they look elsewhere. Here, and in other parts of the world, people are not reacting to the things going on around them.

Q: Besides a journey around some key moments of Argentine history, in your movies, there is a focus on human misery. Why is that?

Benjamín Naishtat: I find it hard to write about very virtuous characters. I know there are some, but I find human contradictions and negativity much more appealing. For some reason, the viewer strongly empathizes with that, because everyone has the capacity to behave in a miserable way; nobody can escape from that. Acknowledging that is a strong experience. The lawyer played by Darío Grandinetti somehow represents that. He is not exactly a villain, but he is a guy who tries to personally benefit from a situation and, if he needs to stay silent to protect himself, he certainly will.

Q: The movie describes the chance encounter of Grandinetti and two other characters, moments that bring out the worst in him and change his life completely.

Benjamín Naishtat: He transforms little by little. At the beginning, he hesitates and feels guilty, but in the end, he has stopped resisting his meaner impulses. At the same moment that Argentina accepts that it is heading towards a military dictatorship and that a genocide is going to take place, he totally and cynically embraces his mean side. He can choose more than once between doing the right thing or acting in his own self-interest and he always takes the second option.

Q: The film is not only set in the seventies, but it also brings back the cinematic 'grammar' of that period - the use of zoom, dissolves, slow motion...

Benjamín Naishtat: There are dissolves and zoom, the sound mix is mostly mono and the image has a patina of film negative that attempts to evoke the look of that time. The sound was processed with some old compressors that generate a particular equalization, typical from the technology of that era. Moreover, the lenses we used, by Panavision, are from those days. The original score, with its instruments and arrangements, was composed according to the music of the film scores from that period.

Q: With regard to your taste for Friedkin, Peckinpah, and Boorman, do you have any particular interest in the violence of their films, which is also something that is present in almost every scene of ROJO?

Benjamín Naishtat: In Argentina, relations are marked by a logic that states that someone must dominate the other. That happens many times in the movie. At several moments, there is a duel between the characters; they all have to test each other and fight. That is the way they think shows their dominance over others. They think they have to behave that way. They feel they have to crush others. In that sense, something quite western-like runs through these stories. They are all based around small duels. However, these situations in daily life represent other, greater, fights. There is a desire to show their power over others.

Q: Each character seems to incarnate a negative side of society. For instance, would the Chilean policeman played by Alfredo Castro represent religion?

Benjamín Naishtat: He is a character with almost mystical features that is inherently Argentine. The military in the seventies carried a messianic burden regarding how Argentinians should be - Christian and patriotic. Castro's character represents ultra-right fanaticism which back then was presented as a shield against the so-called ''red threat'', which was unpatriotic and atheistic.

Rojo Movie Details 🎥


Directed by

Benjamín Naishtat

Writing Credits

Benjamín Naishtat

Cast

Darío Grandinetti

Andrea Frigerio

Alfredo Castro

Laura Grandinetti

Diego Cremonesi

Susana Pampín

Claudio Martínez Bel

Rudy Chernicoff

Mara Bestelli

Rafael Federman

Fabiana Uria

Music by

Vincent van Warmerdam

Cinematography by

Pedro Sotero

Countries: Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Genres: Argentina, Brazil, France, Netherlands, Germany

Rojo Official Trailer



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