The River People (image 1)

Life in Ernestina would be just fine if it weren’t for those damned river people.

Screened as part of NZIFF 2013

The River People 2012

La gente del río

Directed by Martín Benchimol, Pablo Aparo

Martín Benchimol and Pablo Aparo’s documentary about the last remaining citizens of Ernestina, a tiny picturesque Argentinian town that’s seen better days, offers an intimate, droll study of siege mentality in action.

Argentina In Spanish with English subtitles
70 minutes

Directors, Producers

Photography

Martín Benchimol

Editor

Pablo Aparo

Sound

Leandro De Loredo

With

Rubén Urán
,
Nelly Esther Barreiro
,
Horacio Ivillerat
,
Jorge Ausilli
,
Ruben Gariador

Martín Benchimol and Pablo Aparo’s encounter with the good citizens of Ernestina, a small Argentinian town that’s seen better days, offers a droll, perplexed study of disassociation in action. There are few young people to be seen. The old people look at the picturesque dilapidation around them, remember better days, and deplore the state of affairs that has allowed their fine public and commercial buildings to become such ruins. There’s a lot of sitting around to be done – which means plenty of time for bending the ears of the young filmmakers. Soon – confidentially, mind you – they are letting the visitors in on their darkest preoccupation: the scourge of their dying days, the riff-raff who live on the banks of the river just outside town. No misfortune is too minor to be blamed on these mysteriously malevolent river people. Banding together to hire private security may well be Ernestina’s final expression of community spirit. This portrait of embattled old codgers comes tinged with the existential comedy of Latin American fabulism.