Argentina | 107 mins | Spanish, w/Eng. subtitles
When a mysterious and deadly explosion ripped through a Buenos Aires Jewish community center in 1994, it made headlines. But the case was never fully investigated and never solved. More than a decade later, in an effort tore claim the tragedy from oblivion, 10 noted Argentinean filmmakers decided to offer up their personal responses in the form of short films. The result is a kaleidoscope of visual and narrative interpretations that is by turns reflective, dramatic, wistful, investigative, beautiful and sad.
This unusual anthology features a breadth of filmmaking talent as diverse as Argentina itself: from Daniel Burman (Lost Embrace; Waiting for the Messiah, SFJFF 2001), whose contribution examines the lingering impact of the bombing on the neighborhood; to Alberto Lecchi’s fictional film set in a village far removed from Buenos Aires; to Carlos Sorin’s touching, minimalist homage. As an artistic response to an act of terrorism, the short films of 18-Jelicit themes that clearly resonate in post-9/11 America. But 18-J is also a unique glimpse into Argentinean life, both its vibrant Jewish world and the citizens of all social and economic strata who were equally affected by the bombing.
The film’s title marks the nearly forgotten date, July 18, 1994, but it also invokes the Jewish numerical equivalent of “life,” a fitting and affirming note for this unique, collective memorial.