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First Run's Global Lens Collection Spotlights Developing Countries

7 Mar, 2008 By: Billy Gil

Lili's Apron

Argentine writer-director Mariano Galperin has worked on several films since releasing Lili's Apron (El Delantal de Lili) in 2003. Still, that film has just been released on DVD by First Run Features.

The DVD includes a discussion guide with director's notes, a biography on Galperin and information about Argentina.

Since 2005, First Run has been releasing films from the developing world through its Global Lens Collection, an avenue of the Global Film Initiative. The initiative, through four complementary programs of grants, acquisitions, distribution and education, aims to promote the production and dissemination of films from the developing world.

“I finished the movie and had the world premiere at the Rotterdam Film Festival, and then Global Film called me,” Galperin said. “They liked the film. It was the second year for them, so it was nice to be involved with them in the early years.”

Galperin's film, though marketed as kind of a Latin American Mrs. Doubtfire, is far from the Robin Williams slapstick of that film. In Lili's Apron, a desperate couple — he loses his job as a cook, she's losing her mind — turns to drastic measures to keep their home and marriage secure. She takes off with the kids to relax, while he stays in Buenos Aires to work under her name, and in her wig and apron, as a maid for a wealthy, English-speaking couple.

“In a way I tried to satirize interactions between social classes,” Galperin said. “For example, people speaking English to people speaking Spanish never look at them eye to eye [in Buenos Aires].”

The film ends with the couple getting away with money they inadvertently ransomed and the music (specially composed by Andr?s Calamaro, one of Argentina's most famous musicians) posing the question: Did they deserve to get away with it?

“I want people to enjoy the film when they watch it, but then after the movie, you have to think about if they were wrong or right,” Galperin said.

Next for Galperin is Cien Tragedias, a film he's co-directing with another huge talent of Argentina, Sergio Bizzio (who wrote the short story that was made into the acclaimed 2007 film XXY). As for the Global Lens Collection, the 2008 entries are touring film festivals (eight or so each year are picked for DVD distribution, two or three of which tend to be Spanish-language films). The next films due on DVD from the collection are the Chinese film Dam Street and the Croatian film Fine Dead Girls (both films prebook March 18 and street April 22). The next Spanish-language film due from the collection is Chile's The Sacred Family, due July 22 (prebook June 17). All DVDs are $24.95.

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