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Argentinian Lesson at MoMA's Documentary Series in New York

Still from "Argentinean Lesson", dir. Wojciech Staroń

Wojciech Staroń's award-winning documentary Argentinian Lesson is on the programme at New York's Musem of Modern Art as part of the Documentary Fortnight 2012: MoMA’s International Festival of Nonfiction Film and Media

The film is a continuation of the director's 1998 documentary,Siberian Lesson, which told the story of a young teacher travelling to the Baikal area to teach Polish exiles the language of their ancestors. While capturing the spirit of Siberian Poles, the film also painted a picture of the relationship between the young teacher and the director. The fruit of their love is Janek, a boy who became the hero of the Argentinian Lesson more than a decade later.

As Janek travelles to South America with his parents, the camera focuses on the little boy and an Argentinean girl that he befriends. This friendship brings on another set of problems for him, and the children become mediators of two exotic worlds. The film's visual aesthetics, its rhythm and composition parallel the narration of a work of fiction, while showing a process of an eight-year-old boy's slow integration into a new cultural environment.

Argentinian Lesson was awarded the Silver Dove at the 54th DOK Leipzig and the Best Director Prize at the 52nd Festival dei Popoli in Florence. The film was most recently recognised with the Grand Prize of the Guangzhou International Documentary Film Festival in Canton, on the 8th of December, 2011.

MoMa's 11th annual two-week showcase of documentary films examines the relationship between contemporary art and nonfiction practices, and reflects on new areas of documentary filmmaking. This year’s festival includes an international selection of feature-length and short films, a majority of which are premieres and are presented by the filmmakers. Argentinean Lesson is one of the few European titles presented during the Fortnight. It will be screened on the 23rd of February, 2012.

For more on the festival, see:

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