About Thirty, a young man’s refusal to grow up and mature


➢ The Argentine film, by Martín Shanly, which is competing in the Official Feature Films Section of this 22nd edition, will premiere in Spain at the Las Palmas de Gran Canaria International Film Festival

➢ The director and star of this tragicomedy, which was first screened at the Berlinale’s Forum Section, will talk with the audience this Thursday, April 20, after the screening of his film at 8:00 p.m.

➢ On Friday 21, at 5:15 p.m. at Cinesa El Muelle Screen 5, there’ll be another chance to enjoy the existential chaos of this ‘millennial’

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Thursday, April 20, 2023.- Milennial generational angst seems to have taken a toll on Arturo, played by Martín Shanly, the protagonist, both as actor and director, of About Thirty (Argentina, 2023, 92 min.). This Argentine production, which competes in the Official Feature Films Section of the Las Palmas de Gran Canaria International Film Festival, premieres in Spain as part of the film event. The tragicomedy of this young man who resists growing up and maturing will be screened today, Thursday April 20, at 8:00 p.m. at Cinesa El Muelle Screen 9, and tomorrow, Friday April 21, at 6:00 p.m. at Cinesa El Muelle Screen 5. In addition, Martín Shanly will be at the screening today to talk with the audience.

About Thirty is an original and intelligent comedy that works. In the film, Arturo goes to the wedding of his ex-best friend. On the car trip between the church and the club where the party is being held, he is involved in a strange accident from which he manages to escape unharmed. From that moment on, a series of memories begin to appear in the form of flashbacks involving significant but trivial recent events. His past and present merge in an uncomfortable way, forcing him to confront pending duels as well as the darker aspects of his personality.

Martín Shanly, that is, Arturo, met with the media this Thursday morning, April 20, to talk about how the millennial generational confusion seems to have taken a special toll on him, a clueless Buenos Aires native who doesn’t quite fit in a society he doesn’t understand. Arturo, he said, “belongs to a rare generation that has to deal with different situations.” There is a certain reflection of him in the character, but “it is not completely self-referential.” Exposing him, he admitted, “served as therapy”.

Because this Argentine production, which was released at the Berlinale’s Forum section and will be shown to the Buenos Aires audience at BAFICI in a few days, plunges into the depths of Arturo’s personal and existential chaos, managing to create a work that balances the comic with the emotional. An achievement that’s been possible thanks to the skill of a creative team made up of Martín Shanly and his co-screenwriters Ana Godoy, Federico Lastra and Victoria Marotta.

In this sense, concerning the characters, Martín Shanly revealed that “some of them are actors and others worked for the film because they were funny.” In this regard, he pointed out that “something very nice happens when you combine people who are actors and people who are not, creating a nice balance.” The characters, he clarified, were written specifically for the people who were going to play them. And he captured that balance with an “instinctive and unconscious” humor, as he defines it. “That one that tickles you and you don’t quite know why.” He likes “characters who aren’t very aware of themselves, who don’t know how they are perceived and fail,” as well representing their social class and “the impunity that comes with it.”

In the midst of this vital crossroads, the filmmaker manages to reflect on the big screen the emotional complexity of the main character, creating a story that not only provokes laughter, but also invites the audience to think by delving into emotions such as frustration, loneliness and the search for the meaning of life. To do so, Shanly avoids easy jokes and uses situations that border on the dramatic and sentimental with subtle humor.

He, the origin of the comedy, wanted the main character to be real, because “he’s a person who is stuck and with a paralysis in his adolescence in terms of his evolution,” something, he admits, “that is funny to see.” But as the film goes on, “you realize that that paralysis has to do with a state of mourning. I feel,” he noted, “that not growing up is a way for Arturo to be close to his deceased brother, it means, in every sense, staying closer to the moment he lost him.”

About Thirty, his second feature film after Juana a los 12 (2014), is a “very personal” project that took five years to film. When he had the film practically finished, the pandemic happened and, as he was locked up in his house for six months, “in Argentina the pandemic was the longest in the world,” he joked, he decided to make it an integral  part of the film. The world health crisis meant that production had to be postponed for a year and a half and in that period of time “a golden opportunity arose to include it, to portray how to survive.” In fact, he explained, “the pandemic appears as a sort of purgatory where you clean your sins.”

The Las Palmas de Gran Canaria International Film Festival, organized by the Culture area of the Gran-Canarian capital’s City Council through Promoción de la Ciudad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, has received public assistance by the ICAA [Institute of Cinematography and Audiovisual Arts] and the program for the internationalization of Spanish culture, PICE Visitantes, of Acción Cultural Española (AC/E).

Among the Festival’s collaborators we may find Cinesa El Muelle, El Muelle Shopping Center, Hotel Cristina by Tigotan, the Elder Museum of Science and Technology or Casa África, places which also function as venues or hold activities of the film event; as well as other institutions and companies such as Sagulpa, Hospitales San Roque, Audiovisuales Canarias, Music Library & SFX or the International Bach Festival. Likewise, its market, MECAS, has been possible thanks to the sponsorship of the Gran Canaria Film Commission-Sociedad de Promoción Económica de Gran Canaria and the support of Canary Islands Film and Proexca.

The University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, the Mid Atlantic University, the the CIFP Felo Monzón Grau-Bassas, the Canary Islands Film Institute, the Audiovisual Cluster of the Canary Islands, Digital 104, CIMA [Association of Women Filmmakers and Audiovisual Media], the Asociación Microclima Cineastas de Canarias [Association of Filmmakers of the Canary Islands ‘Microclima’] and Tusity are also collaborators of the Festival.

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