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55th San Francisco International Film Festival @ BAM/PFA

Saturday, April 28, 2012
8:50 p.m. Back to Stay
Milagros Mumenthaler (Argentina/Switzerland/Netherlands, 2011)

(Abrir puertas y ventanas). Marked by a trio of nuanced performances and exquisitely understated storytelling, this top-prizewinner from last year’s Locarno Film Festival portrays three young sisters adjusting to the absence of their recently deceased grandmother. Oldest child Marina, middle child Sofia, and young Violeta still occupy the late matriarch’s large house in a quiet Buenos Aires neighborhood, coping with private grief while attempting, often in vain, to reach out to one another. First-time director Milagros Mumenthaler captures the listlessness of mourning as well as the physical sense of absence left in the wake of a departed family member, as the sisters explore impassively the spaces and objects in the house that were previously off-limits to them. Like fellow Argentine filmmaker Lucretia Martel, Mumenthaler sensitively portrays the uneasy transition from female adolescence to adulthood and the fluid boundary between familial intimacy and secrecy. Her talent for evoking mood and atmosphere is similarly prodigious, with the house essentially comprising a fourth member of the family. Drawing the viewer deep into a world that exists within four walls, Back to Stay’s strong sense of place and complicated sibling dynamics linger long after the film is over and signal the emergence of the Argentine New Wave’s latest promising filmmaker.

—Jesse Dubus

• Written by Mumenthaler. Photographed by Martín Frias. With María Canale, Martina Juncadella, Ailín Salas, Julián Tello. (99 mins)

Tickets on sale March 30. Online tickets are available through the SFFS ticketing system. Follow the link below and select "buy tickets." BAM/PFA members receive a discount online by using a special promo code. If you are a member and did not receive the code by email, please call (510) 642-1412.

Buy Tickets

Advance tickets March 27–30. BAM/PFA members may purchase advance tickets online between March 27 and 30 by clicking the link below and entering a special promo code. If you are a member and did not receive the code by email, please call (510) 642-1412.

Purchase Advance Member Tickets