If you're married, about to get married, or would prefer watching a marathon of Millionaire Matchmaker to tying the knot, then My First Wedding (2011) is the film for you.
Presented by the Miami Jewish Film Festival, this Florida premiere is the most exciting thing in Argentine cinema since The Secret in their Eyes. Director Ariel Winograd has already achieved success at home--the film was nominated for four Argentina Academy Awards--and now it's coming to our turf.
At the center of the story are Jewish-born Adrián (Daniel Hendler) and Catholic-born Leonora (Natalia Oreiro), ready to celebrate their wedding day. But, ¡sopresa! Nothing goes as planned.
"The story of this movie came about from my actual wedding with Nathalie Cabiron, who is not only my wife of ten years but also my producer, my best friend, and the mother of my child," says Winograd. "When we got married everything went wrong, there were a lot of inconveniences. [The film] was something very, very autobiographical."
Those "inconveniences," just to name a few, involve lost rings, exploding toilets, a bickering priest and a rabbi, and sexy ex-lovers. But, like Adrián says, "Sometimes plans work out better when they get messed up."
My First Wedding is a screwball comedy, a celebration of goofs and a jibe at putting so much importance on one day. While we watch, we feel like we're right there, partly because the characters interrupt their own movie to talk to us, breaking that fourth wall and confiding their neurosis, hopes, and fears. Despite the film's success, Winograd stays delightfully grounded.
"The truth is, in respect to nominations and awards, it's nothing that takes away from my dream," he says. "I make films for the public, and if awards or nominations come, they're welcome, but my main interest is to make films so that people go to the movies and have fun and they disconnect."
And if you've got a hankering for more Argentine/Jewish cinema blends, then you're in luck. Check out these other offerings at this year's fest:
All In (Argentina-Spain, directed by Daniel Burman)
The German Doctor (Argentina-France-Norway-Spain, directed by Lucía Puenzo)
My First Wedding screens Sunday, Jan. 26, at 1 p.m. at the Bill Cosford Cinema.
The Miami Jewish Film Festival runs from January 23 to February 3. Venues for screenings include Frank Theaters Intracoastal, O Cinema Miami Shores, the Miami Beach Cinematheque, Bill Cosford Cinema and the Regal Cinemas South Beach. Tickets are available at miamijewishfilmfestival.net.
--Dana De Greff
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