22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Edgardo Cozarinsky

Portrait Edgardo Cozarinsky
© Hartwig Klappert

Edgardo Cozarinsky was born in Buenos Aires in 1939. He studied literature in his native city and founded the film magazine »Flashback«. In the sixties and seventies he wrote film reviews and essays, among them »El laberinto de la apariencia« (1964; t: The labyrinth of appearance) on Henry James. In 1974 he edited the volume »Borges y el cine« (1988; Eng. »Borges in/and/on Film«, 1988), a collection of film reviews by Jorge Luis Borges. Cozarinsky was awarded an essay prize by the newspaper »La Nación« in 1979 for »El relato indefendible« (t: The indefensible account), an essay on gossip as narrative form. In 1973 he settled in Paris after leaving Argentina to escape the climate of populist authoritarianism and cultural repression which took hold following the reelection of Juan Perón as president.

Cozarinsky first became well-known in Europe for his extensive cinematic work. He made many feature films here, including »Les apprentis sorciers« (1977; t: The sorcerer’s apprentices), »La guerre d’un seul homme« (1981; t: One man’s war) and, more recently, »Citizen Langlois« (1995) and »Ronda nocturna« (2005; Eng. »Night Watch«). Alongside this, Cozarinsky also wrote scripts and produced a series of documentary-style portraits of artists, including Jean Cocteau, Sarah Bernhardt, Italo Calvino, Vincent van Gogh and Andrei Tarkovsky.

Whilst seriously ill Cozarinsky began to devote himself to his literary passions. Since then he has published three plays and several collections of short stories which have been translated into many European languages. As in his essays on film, which are a fusion of fiction and documentation, the boundaries between reality and fantasy in his writings become permeable. In »Vudú Urbano« (1985; t: Urban Voodoo) he embarks on a »sentimental journey« from which he posts thirteen so-called »postcards«. These are fictional anecdotes, meant to trigger images in the reader’s imagination, that are based on collective clichés and comparable to postcard pictures. Cozarinsky wrote this book in English – in the language he calls Foreigner’s English – with the intention of making the original untraceable. It was preceded by a foreword by Susan Sontag and Guillermo Cabrera Infante.

He also writes about the city, exile and travel into the past in the seven stories that make up »La novia de Odessa« (2001; Eng. »The Bride from Odessa«, 2004). His book »El rufián moldavo« (2004; Eng. »The Moldavian Pimp«, 2006) was translated into German in 2007. The short novel depicts a doctoral student’s research on Jewish theatre in Argentina. The search for traces in the Buenos Aires of the thirties soon becomes a confrontation with his own ancestry.

Cozarinsky recently published the collection of short stories »Tres fronteras« (2006; t: Three borders) and the novel »Maniobras nocturnas« (2007; t: Nocturnal manoeuvres). He has been living back in Buenos Aires since the nineties and also in Paris.

© international literature festival berlin