A favorite on last year’s festival circuit, Gaston Solnicki’s artful and inventive “Kékszakállú” is bound for a limited release later this month, and its debut trailer only hints at the unique joys awaiting inside of it. The film is billed as “a portrait of several young women at the threshold of adulthood, feeling their way through various crises born of the insular comforts of class privilege. Obliquely inspired by Bela Bartok’s sole opera, Bluebeard’s Castle is radically transposed within the alternating milieux of work and repose in Buenos Aires and Punta del Este.”
In an official statement, Solnicki further explained his inspirations for the feature: “Two years ago I was under the spell of Bartok’s feverish opera, and it was through the lens of a similarly folkloric transfiguration that I began to envision the lives of teenagers who vacationed much as I had as a youth: summers at the coast, in houses leached of color, the heat bearing down, all while inner turmoil lay dormant, perhaps corrosively so.”
He added, “I was captivated by the material essence of iconic architecture and the lives trapped inside it: was this supposed white paradise by the sea not a kind of involuntary hell? One could feel here the circularity of time, the repetition of gestures and the embalming nature of history repeating itself. So it was here that my own operatic dream came to be, an uncanny union of opposing elements — maximum artifice laid bare by a documentarian gaze — unfolding like a fugue.”
When the film screened at last year’s New York Film Festival, IndieWire’s preview singled it out as one to watch, and our own Eric Kohn wrote of it, “The source material, an hourlong performance about a woman coming home to Bluebeard’s lair shortly after the pair elope, takes on metaphorical connotations in Solnicki’s contemporary portrait of several young women. The film lingers on small moments — characters buried in their homes, bored with their jobs, sobbing over solitude — to develop a masterful riff on what it means to grow up in a strange world filled with mysterious possibilities just beyond one’s reach.”
The film also appeared on our annual list of best undistributed films, alongside other buzzy titles like “Sierranevada,” “Nocturama,” and “My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea.” The film finally hits release on Friday, July 21 at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, thanks to Cinema Tropical. Check out our exclusive trailer for “Kékszakállú” below.