Los Venerables Todos (The Venerable Ones). 1962. Argentina. Written and directed by Manuel Antín. With Lautaro Murúa, Fernanda Mistral, Leonardo Favio, Maurice Jouvet. In Spanish; English subtitles. 79 min.
Manuel Antín’s self-described “police story without police, like all truly awful stories,” centers on a group of young Buenos Aires intellectuals who prey on the weakest of their lot. The film’s themes of passionless cruelty and willful obedience speak to the darkening tenor of early 1960s Argentina, and they are conveyed in an enigmatic, subjective style that would become emblematic of experimental Argentine cinema and literature of the time. Until now, the film has been more legendarily remembered than actually screened, for until 2014 the original camera negative was believed lost. This beautiful new 35mm restoration, overseen by Ricardo Aronovich, is a coruscating vision of a nightmarish Buenos Aires that anticipates the great cinematographer’s work on Hugo Santiago’s Invasion in 1969. Restored by Fernando Martin Peña for the Filmoteca Buenos Aires. Special thanks to the Consulate General of Argentina in New York, and Mónica Rios. 35mm.