On Friday, April 6, Nelson Carlo De Los Santos Arias’ (Film/Video MFA 14) film Cocote screens twice in the Los Angeles area: It first screens at 4 pm in CalArts Bijou Theater and at the second annual Locarno in LA Festival at the Downtown Independent in Los Angeles at 5:30 pm. This is the second feature from the CalArts alumnus and Dominican Republic-born filmmaker.
Cocote, meaning “neck” in Dominican Spanish, won the Signs of Life Award at the 2017 Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland. From the festival: “Signs of Life aims to explore film’s frontier territories, engaging with new forms of narration and innovation in filmic language. Works by both emerging and acknowledged filmmakers will be presented as world or international premieres in evening programs at the Kursaal.”
From Slate’s Keith Watson
It’s been said that a jazz musician is someone who never plays anything the same way twice. If that’s true, then Dominican director Nelson Carlo De Los Santos Arias may qualify as the jazziest filmmaker of all time. His first fiction feature, Cocote, is a dazzling collage of styles and approaches in which every scene—practically every shot—feels different from the one that came before. Evoking the restless unpredictability of a late-period Jean-Luc Godard film, de Los Santos Arias’s images shift form almost constantly—from film to video, from black and white to color, from widescreen to full frame—as the writer-director experiments with a vast array of aesthetic stylings, everything from slow-cinema stillness to ethnographic vérité to lustrous film noir. The result is an invigorating, if slightly exhausting, parade of near-perpetual innovation, in which the only constant is the filmmaker’s stylistic dynamism.
De Los Santos Arias studied cinematography in Buenos Aires and at the Edinburgh College of Art, where he started making experimental films. He later received his MFA in film and video at CalArts where he directed a feature essay for his thesis, Santa Teresa Y Otra Historias (2015), which won the Prix Georges de Beauregard in Marseille and went on to be selected for the Toronto Film Festival. He’s directed several shorts including Le Dernier des bonbons (2011) and Lullabies (2014).
—by Oscar Burrows-Rangel
Cocote (106 min)
April 6, 4 pm
Film Today Class
CalArts Bijou Theater
24700 McBean Parkway, Valencia