Benjamín Naishtat

Argentina, Brazil, France, Netherlands, Germany, 2018 / 109 min / Spanish OV with EN subt. (ES OV with EN subt.) / Drama, Thriller

When everybody is silent, nobody is innocent. | A successful lawyer’s picture-perfect life begins to unravel when a private detective starts asking questions.

Claudio is a middle-aged, happily married lawyer with a comfortable life in a deceptively placid small town. One night he enters a restaurant where he is verbally attacked by a mysterious stranger, their altercation continuing on the street outside. Later that night the stranger intercepts Claudio and his wife Susana who then take a path of no return. A few months later, with the arrival of a Chilean private detective who is intent on locating the abusive stranger, the main characters find themselves in a scenario where nothing is as it seems and startling secrets are revealed.

“The 1970s and early '80s in Argentina were the time of the military dictatorship and the disappeared. With Rojo, Benjamín Naishtat approaches this turbulent era in his country's history. He deliberately builds a quiet mood of foreboding and impeding doom through a carefully constructed, almost hypnotic narrative. If Rojo bears elements of a thriller, it is only to service a subtle and devastating dissection of the times.” (Toronto International Film Festival)


Sat 09/03 10:00 Cinémathèque ES OV with EN subt. Public
Mon 11/03 20:30 Cinémathèque ES OV with EN subt. Public
Tue 12/03 20:30 Ciné Utopia ES OV with EN subt. Public

The complacency and corruption of pre-coup Argentina is laid bare in chilling, absurd style in Benjamin Naishtat's superb third feature. […] Full of unexpected formal flourishes and darkly witty dilemmas, this third film marks a magnificent step up from Naishtat’s already promising History of Fear and The Movement. Rojo is a witheringly provocative examination of temporary moral eclipse becoming permanent moral apocalypse, in a vortex of social upheaval in which respectable men are corrupted, innocent men are persecuted and a hairless man, whose baldness is perhaps the last honest thing about him, finally dons a wig.”Jessica Kiang, Variety, 27/09/2018

“the third feature from Argentinean director Benjamín Naishtat, the period drama Rojo, is his most conventional work to date. […] This tragicomic story of a provincial lawyer who finds himself embroiled in various shady affairs in the 1970s is both a relatively straightforward narrative as well as a more symbolic exploration of the headspace Argentina (and many of its inhabitants) found itself in circa 1975, when some people would just vanish from the face of the earth, either because they escaped the country or were being turned into desaparecidos as part of the government’s Dirty War. […] Its accessibility […] could turn this into Naishtat's most widely seen work to date and help consolidate his reputation as an exciting new voice in Argentinean cinema. […] Grandinetti, with a bushy 1970s mustache, has the thankless job of carrying a film in which he plays a morally compromised character, which doesn’t directly warm him to the audience. But he does so with his trademark intelligence and grace, turning Claudio into a generally decent man who makes a few very bad choices.” Boyd van Hoeij, Hollywood Reporter, 9/11/2018

“Benjamín Naishtat shows a tight command of the crime genre, building up a portrait of a corrupt society in his brilliant third film. […] There’s no shortage of humour in Rojo, a crime film liberally tinged with the absurd. […] The banal grind of austere stories gradually builds up into the spiral that devours various torpid, complicit or amoral characters. Welcome to Rojo, screening in competition at the 66th San Sebastián International Film Festival: a slow-burning and deeply uneasy film with stunning visuals and an unhurried rhythm, and one that won’t be easily forgotten. To achieve this malignant atmosphere, Naishtat toys with dry editing techniques and a cinematography that veers towards the bloody, as indicated by the title, in which a bloodstain on a wall, light filtering through a stained-glass window or a solar eclipse place the viewer in an unpleasant and discomfiting place, sensing the evil lurking beneath a community that appears functional only because of the mask it wears to hide the rot.” Alfonso Rivera, Cineuropa, 25/09/2018

  • Janela Award – Best Sound, Janela Internacional de Cinema do Recife, 2018 (Brazil)
  • Silver Seashell – Best Director, San Sebastián International Film Festival, 2018 (Spain)
  • Silver Seashell – Best Actor for Darío Grandinetti, San Sebastián International Film Festival, 2018 (Spain)
  • Jury Prize, Best Cinematography, San Sebastián International Film Festival, 2018 (Spain)
Cast & Credits
Darío Grandinetti, Andrea Frigerio, Alfredo Castro, Laura Grandinetti, Diego Cremonesi, Susana Pampin, Claudio Martínez Bel, Rudy Chenicoff, Mara Bestelli, Rafael Federman
Benjamín Naishtat
Pedro Sotero
Fernando Ribero
Julieta Dolinsky
Vincent van Warmerdam
Pucará Cine
Desvia, Ecce Films, Viking Film, Sutor Kolonko
September Film Distribution

Born in 1986 in Buenos Aires, Benjamín Naishtat studied cinema at Buenos Aires University and completed a two-year contemporary arts program at the Fresnoy - Studio national des arts contemporains in Lille, France. Recently, he was a fellow at Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. His work includes fictional pieces such as the short El juego (2010) selected at the Cannes Cinéfondation, as well as experimental works like Historia del mal (2011) which screened in Rotterdam and in several international exhibitions. His first feature film, History of Fear (2014) had its world premiere in the 2014 Berlinale’s Official Competition and played in more than 30 festivals where it won several awards. The Movement (2015), his second feature film, premiered at Locarno Film Festival. Rojo (2018) is his third feature.

  • 2018 – Rojo
  • 2015 – El movimiento
  • 2014 – Historia del miedo
  • 2013 – Colecciones (short)
  • 2010 – Historia del mal (short)
  • 2010 – El juego (short)
  • 2009 – Estabamos bien (short in the "Historias Breves 5" collection)