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Bij WORM gebeurt ontzettend veel en het lukt lang niet altijd om dat hier in de agenda te zetten. Deze workshop viel extra op en wordt door Lux Venérea gegeven (aka Pollux Frei) die gelooft in performance art als een manier op het lichaam te her-beleven. Voor iedereen die wat langer stil wil staan bij vragen rondom lichaam en identiteit, maar dat ook graag met humor doet. De workshop is onderdeel van het Mamma Cash Feminist Festival van Worm voor Wereld Vrouwendag. 

Since I was a kid I always used comedy to protect myself from harassment and to navigate living in a dissident body. Laughter is honest. Laughter does not be to be translated.
Lux Venérea

In de Kunsthal zijn wel vaker blote billen te zien. Van februari tot en met mei komen ze echter wel van heel dicht bij: uit Hoek van Holland. Hangen die van jou ook aan de muur?
Fotograaf Peter de Krom observeerde en fotografeerde van 2010-2015 het 'stokstaartjes fenomeen' in de duinen van Hoek van Holland. In deze -qua omvang bescheiden tentoonstelling- wordt dit verschijnsel van verschillende kanten belicht.
Ook is er ander vrij werk van de Krom te zien, het geeft een prachtige indruk van wat Hoek van Holland zo uniek maakt. 

If you’re familiar with the media landscape of our times, you’re no stranger to the spectacle of competition programs. In recent memory this is a format that has brought us everything from top chef and top drag queen competitions, to survivalist naked people on seemingly deserted islands. 

For a new series of voices we interview visitors to Rotterdam from all over the world. This time we spoke to movie director Marco Berger and actor Juan Pablo Cestaro, premiering their feature film at this year’s IFFR. The thriller is set around a 15 year old boy exploring his desires and getting entangled at the same time.

With everything being straight in the world, I want to see queer stories about love between men

Marco Berger 

Tiger time in Rotterdam
Every year at the end of January and beginning of February Rotterdam catches a case of ‘Tiger fever’ with it’s annual International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR). With over 300.000 visitors, more than 200 feature films and 2400 attending film professionals from all over the world, it’s a festival that seriously celebrates film and the visual arts.This year we were lucky to speak to two professionals visiting Rotterdam from Buenos Aires – Marco Berger, a director who’s been making feature films since 2009 and the up-and-coming actor Juan Pablo Cestaro, who stars in Berger’s latest movie, El Cazador. We asked them what they think about Rotterdam, but more importantly what stories they have to share about their work and passions. Here’s what they had to say.

So to break the ice, what is your impression of Rotterdam?
Marco Berger (MB): It is the first time I am in Rotterdam and I really like it and am very impressed. To me it is similar to Bergen (Norway), where I lived for 3 years. It is modern and new, a bit smaller than I expected. We visited the Martkhal and went inside the Cube houses. And of course...IFFR. It is amazing to have my movie premier here and participate in one of the competitions. Juan Pablo Cestaro (JPC): It is my first time in Rotterdam too, the buildings and architecture are so great, different from Argentina. MB: and you like the girls too, right? JPC :(grins).

Marco, your movies have creative scripts and are often populated with sexy men (see overview). Each film has its own, very different, characters. Can you tell us a little bit more about the last two?
MB: With ‘The Blonde One’, I wanted to go far away from the previous movie I had made, ‘Taekwondo’ , which is a comedy so it became a drama. I think I had the script of ‘The Young Hunter’ before ‘The Blond One’, so it is a thriller and not a comedy. I like change. The next big project will actually be a comedy again and will be a love story.  Hopefully, in between, I can make a smaller independent film. Also important, I don’t pretend to make queer or gay movies. I make films that I'd like to see myself, and with everything being straight in the world, I want to see queer stories about love between men. There are many approaches to these gay themes, I don’t choose them on purpose. But I don’t like it when my work is framed as ‘gay’ or I'm reduced to a ‘gay film maker’. For me they are just films.

How are your movies received in countries in Latin America ?
MB: Really good. For instance about 10 years ago I released 'Plan B' in Cuba, which at that time still was a how shall I say, viewed as a "macho country". It was explosive. Actually a lot of women liked the film. I think it helps that I am not aggressive or provocative with my ideas about queer subjects. So even if you are a little homophobic and see my films a little change can happen. One can understand that it is about love over everything. Once, at a screening, a man who had seen 'Plan B' without knowing what movie was going to be about came up to me to confess, ‘I think I was very homophobic until now, but I watched the movie and feel I understand now and leave this theatre a different person’.


Scene from 'El Cazador / The Young Hunter'

Your latest movie 'The Young Hunter', deals with a sensitive topic, mostly because the actors in the story are - or are supposed to be - rather young. 
MB: It has a strong subject, but I made it in a delicate way. Had I made it more provocative I could have drawn more attention to the film. Instead, I wanted to make a smart film and have people think about the subject, not to run away from it. I really love portraying naked people and I have no problem with sex, but for this film in particular, that was risky. I am actually criticizing child pornography. Even if one is showing an 18-year-old actor play a 14-year-old, what are you doing then? [Rhetorical] But, if I make a film about a naïve love story between two 14-year-old boys, then it is different. I could then make it sweet about a relationship and maybe nakedness. With 'El Cazador' I did not want it to be a snake that eats it’s own tail. The main character is not a fragile boy, he is more like the character in my earlier movie ‘Ausente’ - a strong character that's looking for sex. In this film, he starts out as a child, but he is also an animal. He becomes a hunter. The experiences he has in this movie and consequences of the choices he makes are what he will always carry with him.

Juan Pablo Cestaro as Ezéquiel

A question for Juan Pablo, how did you experience being in this movie?
[The casting is still fresh on his mind] JPC: It was challenging and beautiful at the same time. I have worked in theater since I was 15 and have always dreamt about being in movies. I started auditioning from the age of 18 after I finishing college. It was a challenge applying the techniques I had learned. With this role suddenly all the things I had been hoping for materialized. For me was like the culmination of a beautiful storm. My take on Ezéquiel – the mail role – is that he doesn’t have much of choice. He feels he is forced into certain actions. In my life I have choices, but this character doesn’t have that option, he hasn’t come out yet. My take was to approach the role it with empathy and try to find a place in myself that could relate, it was difficult, but it worked.

What about future plans for both of you?
JPC: I am working on a monologue that I will perform in Buenos Aires in July. I need to be on stage for 60 minute so it requires a lot of rehearsing. Meanwhile I'll also be scouting for work. Life as an actor is not so predictable. If I do a casting next month and things works out I may suddenly have to travel to Spain. Who knows? Maybe I'll get to work Almodovar in the future. 

MB: There are many things I am interested in and I have several ideas. For instance about the Malvinas war in 1982 between Argentina and the United Kingdom, what would it be like if I was a soldier and fell in love? There is an actual script finished. I can not tell you everything, but let's call that project, ‘The Astronaut’. I plan to make it a comedy. The ideas is to play on that fear that some straight people have about being gay. It is challenging, because good comedy is actually much more difficult then drama.’ Berger explains: ‘There will be a stronger emphasis on dialogue but comical. I always say my films can be played by any actor, however, for this script casting is key. I typically scout for young and handsome actors, but for this project delivery is very important. I have my sights set on someone who is really sharp and handsome. This is all still in my head. I'm thinking of shooting in spring 2022. Maybe I will make and independent movie in-between.   

We will certainly be looking forward to this. In the meantime you can enjoy most of Berger's movies by ordering them on DVD via the big online stores, or try your luck at the local music or gay stores.

Overview Filmography Marco Berger:  

  • Marco Berger’s movie Plan B from 2009 was his break through feature about an ex-lover who plans to befriend the new boyfriend of is former girlfriend. He wants to drive them apart, but of course things don’t exactly go according to plan.  
  • Berger won the Teddy Award at the Berlin Film Festival in 2011 with his movie Ausente (Absent). A smart movie about the tension between a swim student and his instructor.  
  • One of this proudest achievements to date is Hawaii from 2013 which he made with a minimum of money, but also a maximum of personal freedom and inspiration.  
  • His movie Mariposa (Butterfly) premiered in 2015, which Berger calls his ‘no gay’ movie, to continue that for the future he will stick to the queer stories that he likes to makes so much.  
  • In 2016 he released Taekwondo, made together with Martín Farina, The main gay character is invited to spend the weekend with a friend and finds himself going all over de the place when he discovers he will be surrounded  by half naked straight men most of the time. 
  • 2019 was a very productive year with a smaller feature Un Rubio (the blond one) and El Cazador (the young hunter) a thriller that we will get into in this article. 

    Note: If you see the movies in a row, you can notice several connections. Berger actually leaves ‘Easter eggs’ in his movies that often refer to earlier movies or themes.

At GayRotterdam we think that we are lucky with such interesting visitors and this festival. We like to show and portray visitors to Rotterdam for our website more often. So if you know of someone visiting for a special occasion, please let us know in the contact form of via our social media.

Na een geslaagd WTF in club Thalia begin deze maand staat het volgende feest van Silbo Productions in je agenda: Cocktail! The fifth edition.

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