Archive of films History of Fear / Historia del miedo

Argentina / Uruguay / Germany / France / Qatar
2014, 79 min

Section: Horizons
Year: 2014

Certain events are disturbing because we don’t know what’s causing them. Why does an alarm go off in an empty home? Why does a young man suddenly start acting crazy while waiting in line at a café? And who is the evacuation announcement intended for? A compelling Argentine picture that wowed audiences in this year’s Berlinale competition.


A helicopter circles above a residential area in the suburbs of Buenos Aires, informing residents about the evacuation. Down below, however, everything seems calm among the verdure-ensconced villas. What could happen in such a genteel neighborhood? But compromised perimeter fences clearly indicate complications, as do unexpected power outages, a whining alarm, and an unexplained attack on a car. In his masterful debut, young Argentine director Benjamin Naishtat constructs a web of events that gradually prey on viewers’ minds as they are left groping in the dark. Although drawing on the mood of a genre picture, the movie is more of a parable at heart, a report treating the loss of behavioral control when humans stand transfixed by fear or by its uncertain origin. The film employs a superb use of silence, tantalizing us with the information we most long to hear. Employing an implied magic that is never explicitly named in the proces of generating its ambience, it is tempting to make comparisons to the work of Carlos Reygadas. We can learn much about ourselves if we submit to the director’s game.

About the director

Benjamín Naishtat

Benjamin Naishtat (b. 1986, Buenos Aires, Argentina) first studied at the Universidad del Cine in his hometown, then in 2009-2011 he was in France at Le Fresnoy – Studio National des Arts Contemporains. His short film El juego (2010) premiered in Cannes’ Cinéfondation section, and the experimental Historia del mal (2011) initially screened at the festival in Rotterdam. These two entries, which betray the director’s penchant for history, memory, and fear, went on to festival screenings worldwide. At present the director is engaged in a project with the working title Fundamental Movement. He lives and works in Buenos Aires and History of Fear is his writer-director feature debut.


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About the film

Color, DCP

Section: Horizons
Director: Benjamín Naishtat
Screenplay: Benjamin Naishtat
Dir. of Photography: Soledad Rodríguez
Music: Pedro Irusta, Maximiliano Silveira
Editor: Andrés Quaranta, Fernando Epstein
Producer: Benjamin Domenech, Santiago Gallelli
Production: Rei Cine SRL
Coproduction: Ecce Films, Vitakuben, Mutante Cine
Cast: Johnathan Da Rosa, Tatiana Giménez, Mirella Pascual
Contact: Visit Films

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