The 11th Latin American and Spanish Film Week took place from Thursday 16 to Sunday 26 of September, 2021. The 2021 line-up featured movies from Brazil, Guatemala, Cuba, Mexico, Spain, Uruguay, and the USA.
WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 16th and THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 17th – The Weeping Woman (La llorona) by Jayro Bustamante (Guatemala, 2019) – 101 min.
A tale of horror and magical realism, La llorona follows Enrique, a retired general who oversaw the Mayan genocide, haunted for his devastating crimes by a wailing spirit. Bustamante’s horror thriller masterfully weaves suspense and history to grapple with Guatemala’s recent quest for social justice. La llorona was selected as the Guatemalan entry for the Best International Feature Film at the 93rd Academy Awards.
FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 18th and SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 19th – Aleli by Leticia Jorge (Uruguay, 2019) – 88 min.
After the patriarch of the Mazzotti family dies, the sale of his house is imminent. All the members of his middle class family seem to have reached an agreement, but Ernesto, the elder son, cannot bring himself to go through with it. Although it has been a year since his father passed away, the idea of allowing the house he built to become a tacky cabin compound upsets him deeply. Due to an unexpected delay in the execution of the sale, the family embarks on a weekend of misguided anger, clashing wills, unresolved nostalgia, and run-ins with the law. A weekend where everyone will bump into each other, figurative and literally speaking. Alelí is an entertaining, endearing, sometimes wrenching comedy about family. Alelí was Uruguay’s entry to the Best International Film at the Oscars.
SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 20th and MONDAY SEPTEMBER 21st – Limiar [Threshold] by Coraci Ruiz (Brazil, 2020) – 77 min.
Threshold is an autobiographical documentary made by a mother who follows the gender transition of her adolescent son: between 2016 and 2019 she interviews him, addressing the conflicts, certainties and uncertainties that pervade him in a deep search for his identity. At the same time, the mother, revealed through a first-person narration and by her voice behind the camera that talks to her son, also goes through a process of transformation required by the situation that life presents her with by breaking old paradigms, facing fears and dismantling prejudices “Nuanced and incredibly generous, Threshold offers a moving and inspiring narrative that delivers a compassionate record of love and understanding for us all” (Ravi Srinivasan).
WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 22nd – Pureza by Renato Barbieri (Brazil, 2019) – 101 min.
Inspired by real events: Pureza (in a wonderful performance by Dira Paes) is a story of resilience, justice and love. After 6 months without news from her son, Abel, who had left for the gold mines in southern Pará, Pureza departs from her native town, with nothing but the clothes on her body and few savings kept in a purse. She retraces Abel’s journey and ends up finding a system that lures and entraps rural workers. Fighting against a perverse system of entrenched interests and corruption, her denunciations finally push the Brazilian government into action to combat the scourge of modern slavery.
THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 23rd – Identifying Features [Sin señas particulares] by Fernanda Valadéz (Mexico, 2020) – 94 min.
It has been months since Magdalena has heard from her son after he left Guanajuato, Mexico, to go find work in the United States. Local authorities are pushing her to sign a death certificate, but she is not ready to give up hope. With the deck stacked against her, Magdalena journeys on her own across a beautiful and often dangerous Mexico. After some close calls, she runs into the recently deported Miguel, about the same age as her son and on a solo journey of his own. The two join forces to help each other find their missing loved ones and hopefully get closure once and for all. Identifying Features was an official selection at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.
FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 24th – Yuli by Icíar Bollain (Cuba/Spain, 2018) – 115 min.
Yuli is the nickname given to Carlos Acosta by his father, Pedro, who considers him the son of Ogun, an African god and a fighter. As a child Yuli avoids discipline and education, learning from the streets of an impoverished Havana. His father, however, has other ideas, and knowing that his son has a natural talent for dance, sends him to the National Ballet School of Cuba. Despite his repeated escapes and initial poor behavior, the boy is inevitably drawn to the world of dance, and begins to shape his legendary career from a young age, becoming the first black dancer to be cast in some of the most prestigious ballet roles, originally written for white dancers, in companies such as the Houston Ballet or the Royal Ballet in London.
SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 25th – In a Whisper [A media voz] by Heidi Hassan and Patricia Pérez (Cuba, 2019) – 80 min.
Childhood friends Patricia and Heidi grew up in Cuba, where they both went to the film academy. Independently of each other, they fled the malaise and censorship of their homeland. Heidi ended up in Switzerland, Patricia in Spain. They had no contact for years. Now both 40, they seek a way to approach each other again, choosing the medium that suits them best: video letters. Both have continued to film their lives, even though it seemed unlikely that they would ever work in film again. In their frank audiovisual communication, the two migrants recount all the roundabout routes they have taken in their lives: Patricia’s years selling mojitos, Heidi’s search for work and connection with society in Geneva, and the struggle with alienation and nostalgia for a country that has undergone profound transformations. The result of the letters, ingeniously edited into a chronological yet freewheeling whole, is a sensitive, two-sided account of uprootedness, motherhood, love of film, friendship and freedom.
SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 26th – Border South [Frontera Sur] by Raúl O. Paz-Pastrana (Mexico/USA, 2019) – 88 min.
Mexico and the United States crack down on the trails north, forcing immigrants into more dangerous territory. Told against the backdrop of the unforgiving desert trails, ‘Border South’ weaves together migrant stories of resilience and survival from different vantage points. The film exposes a global migration system that renders human beings invisible in life as well as death.
The 10th Latin American and Spanish Film Week took place from Tuesday 17 to Sunday 22 of September, 2019. The 2019 line-up featured movies from Argentina, Cuba, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru and Spain.
TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 17 – Megalodemocrat by Benjamin Duffield with Rafael Lozano-Hemmer (Mexico/Canada) – 94 min.
The Mexican-Canadian artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer is one of the most acclaimed artists working today. His pieces wouldn’t exist without public participation. Shot over 10 years in 30 cities around the world, including Mexico City, Vancouver and New York. Megalodemocrat provides intimate access to his large-scale interactive creations and follows Rafael’s breakout career creating large-scale works that entice an increasingly isolated public into transforming their cities and reconnecting with one another.
WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 18th – The Heiresses [Las Herederas] by Marcelo Martinessi (Paraguay, 2017) – 95 min.
Chela and Chiquita live in Asunción, Paraguay, and have been together for over 30 years. Recently their financial situation has worsened and they begin selling off their inherited possessions. When their debts lead to Chiquita being imprisoned on fraud charges, Chela is forced to face a new reality. Driving for the first time in years, she begins to provide a local taxi service to a group of elderly wealthy ladies. As Chela settles into her new life, she encounters the much younger Angy, forging an invigorating new connection. Chela finally begins to break out of her shell and engage with the world, embarking on her own personal, intimate revolution. The Heiresses was selected to compete for the Golden Bear in the main competition section at the 2018 Berlin International Film Festival, where Ana Brun won the Silver Bear for Best Actress.
THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 19th – Journey to the fumigated towns [Viaje a los pueblos fumigados] by Fernando Solanas (Argentina, 2017) – 97 min.
Fernando Solanas’ film opens with a series of startling images: in the province of Salta in northern Argentina, centuries-old forests are being cleared to make way for huge soy plantations. Indigenous farmers are being driven out of their villages and are no longer allowed to use the access roads that have now been privatized. Herbicides are being sprayed and diseases are spreading. These images are the starting point for this doyen of investigative documentary’s condemnation of state-sanctioned environmental crimes committed by industrial agriculture. Solanas’ film investigates the social aftermath of mono-culture and the uncontrolled use of weed killers and other chemical substances. At the same time, he explores ways in which we can break out of the vicious circle of a corrupt system in which consumers are deceived and regulation is eliminated. Do ecological alternatives have a chance? The film was featured in the 68th Berlin International Film Festival.
FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 20th – Indestructible – the Soul of Salsa [Indestructible – El alma de la Salsa] by David Pareja with Diego El Cigala (Cuba/Spain, 2017) – 78 min.
This musical documentary follows Spanish flamenco singer Diego El Cigala as he embarks on a journey to make a salsa record. It is a bewitching musical odyssey that takes us from Madrid to various locales all over the Americas in search of the sundry sources of that very special tradition we call Salsa. With stops in Cali, Havana, Punta Cana, San Juan, Miami and New York, Indestructible is a musical tour-de-force, enlisting the iconic figures of Omara Portuondo, Larry Harlow, Oscar d’León and the Fania All-Stars as our guides. Their stories are fascinating, but the backbone of this documentary voyage is the music itself, played in studios, on stages and in streets by El Cigala and some of the world’s finest practitioners.
SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 21st – One Last Afternoon [La última tarde] by Joel Calero (Peru, 2016) –
After 19 years without seeing each other, two former “guerrilleros” reunite to sign their divorce papers. As they catch up with their lives and revisit their shared romantic and political past, they unveil intimate secrets to finally discover who they truly are and how much their country and convictions still hurt them. One Last Afternoon transcends its time and place, capturing the sentiment of a whole generation, who during the 1970s and ’80s believed that insurgency was the path to social justice. The film won the Audience Award and Best Actor Award for Lucho Cáceres in the 20th Lima Film Festival 2016, and Best Director in the Ibero-American Competition at the Guadalajara International Film Festival in 2017.
SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 22nd – The Realm [El reino] by Rodrigo Sorogoyen
(Spain, 2018) – 121 min.
El Reino (The Realm) is a political thriller depicting the reality of our current world and portraying a segment of society, the political elite, seen through the eyes of a corrupt politician trapped in a struggle for survival after having let his party’s and his own interests take him too far. Manuel (Antonio de la Torre), an influential regional vice-secretary who had everything in his favour to take the leap into national politics, becomes trapped in a struggle for survival after a leak involves him in a corruption scandal. This year The Realm was awarded seven Goyas, Spain’s highest film honour, including best director and best male protagonist.
The 9th Latin American and Spanish Film Week took place from Tuesday 18 to Sunday 23 of September, 2018. The line-up included films from Argentina, Cuba, Mexico, Panama and Spain.
TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 18th – Charco: Songs from Río de la Plata [Charco: canciones del Río de la Plata] by Julián Chalde (Argentina, 2017) – 80 min.
Charco is a documentary about the thriving musical scene of the Río de la Plata region and the capital cities of Buenos Aires and Montevideo. The film is more than a showcase of performers and songs: it is an endearing, at times philosophical, exploration of a powerful hub of musical creativity. The film features interviews and performances by iconic figures such as Gustavo Santaolalla, Jorge Drexler and Fito Páez, and songs from a variety of genres, including rock, candombe, murga, cumbia, tango, milonga and capping it all a payada, an improvised folk song. This is a voyage down south to the heart of music.
WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 19th – The Silence of Others [El silencio de los otros] by Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar (Spain, 2018) – 96 min.
The Silence of Others reveals the epic struggle of victims of Spain’s 40-year dictatorship under General Franco, who continue to seek justice to this day. Filmed over six years, the film follows victims and survivors as they organize the groundbreaking “Argentine Lawsuit” and fight a state imposed amnesia of crimes against humanity, in a country still divided four decades into
democracy. The Silence of Others had its world premiere at the 2018 Berlinale in the Panorama section, where it won both the Panorama Audience Award for Best Documentary and the Berlinale Peace Prize.
THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 20th – The Eternal Feminine [Los adioses] by Natalia Beristáin (Mexico, 2017) – 85 min.
Rosario Castellanos was an introverted university student who didn’t seem to belong to her time. In the early 1950s in Mexico City, she fought to have her voice heard in a society run by men. She was about to become one of the biggest female writers in Mexican literature, but her tumultuous love story with Ricardo Guerra was to manifest her fragility and contradictions. At the peak of her career and her marriage, she ignited a discussion that marked a turning point in her life. The film won the Audience Award for Mexican Fiction Feature Film and Special Mention for an Actress in a Mexican Feature Film at the most recent Morelia Film Festival.
FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 21st – Sergio & Sergei by Ernesto Daranas (Cuba, 2017) – 93 min.
It is 1991, the USSR is gone and the Cold War is over, but one man has yet to realize this: on the space station Mir, Sergei, the last Soviet cosmonaut, can see the entire planet, but his own country has disappeared. With no funds to bring him back, he’s now circling the Earth 16 times a day, cut adrift from his land and home. Meanwhile in a crumbling Cuba, the Communist dream is also coming to an end for Sergio, a Marxism philosophy professor and radio enthusiast. One fateful night, an exchange of radio frequencies accidentally connects Sergio and Sergei. The two men quickly form an unusual friendship in a world of political uncertainty. From award winning Cuban director Ernesto Daranas (Behavior) comes this political satire inspired by true events.
SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 22nd – Nobody’s Watching [Nadie nos mira] by Julia Solomonoff (Argentina, 2017) – 102 min.
Dissatisfied with a complicated relationship, an actor in Buenos Aires moves to New York City for a promised film role and a new start. When the project stalls he chooses menial work rather than give up on his acting dreams, a decision that puts him on the level of any other struggling undocumented immigrant, despite his whiteness and connections to the privileged. When he loses the trust of a generous friend, his life unravels, ultimately leading him to reconcile his imperfect situation back home with the harsh reality of an uncertain future in the U.S. The movie features Guillermo Pfening, awarded the Best Actor prize at the Tribeca Film Festival.
SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 23rd – Ruben Blades is not my name [Yo no me llamo Rubén Blades] by Abner Benaim (Panamá, 2018) – 85 min.
Latin American icon Ruben Blades was at the center of the New York Salsa revolution in the 1970s. His socially charged lyrics and explosive rhythms brought Salsa music to an international audience. Blades won 17 Grammys, acted in Hollywood, earned a law degree from Harvard and even run for President of his native Panama. He lives in New York, where he granted exclusive access to his life at home and on tour. Critically acclaimed director Abner Benaim takes us on a journey through Ruben’s 50 year career, revealing that Ruben might still have both musical and political ambitions. This is a film about a living legend and his struggle to come to terms with his legacy.
The 8th Latin American and Spanish Film Week took place from Tuesday 19 to Sunday 24 of September, 2017. The line-up included films from Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Mexico and Peru.
TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 19th – When Two Worlds Collide by Heidi Brandenburg and Mathew Orzel (Peru, 2016) – 103 min.
This documentary “offers a vivid (…) depiction of the clash between indigenous Peruvian minorities and government interests bent on ‘opening up’ protected tribal lands to multinational corporation mining, drilling and clear-cutting in the Amazon. That conflict flared into contentious, highly publicized strikes and violence in 2009, which are depicted here in on-the ground footage shot by participants on both sides. Winner of a World Cinema documentary competition prize for best first feature at Sundance in 2016” (Variety).
WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 20th – Chavela by Catherine Gund and Daresha Kyi (Mexico, 2017) – 90 min.
Through its lyrical structure, Chavela will take viewers on an evocative, thought-provoking journey through the iconoclastic life of game-changing Costa Rican-Mexican singer Chavela Vargas. Centered around never before seen interview footage of Chavela shot 20 years before her death in 2012, it is guided by the stories in Chavela’s romantic ballads, and the myths and tales others have told about her, as well as those she spread about herself. The documentary weaves an arresting portrait of a woman who dared to dress, speak, sing, and dream her unique life into being.
THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 21st – Neon Bull [Boi Neon] by Gabriel Mascaro (Brazil, 2015) – 101 min.
Wild, sensual and utterly transporting, Brazilian writer-director Gabriel Mascaro’s second fiction feature unfolds in Northeastern Brazil within the world of the vaquejada, a traditional exhibition sport in which cowboys try to pull bulls to the ground by their tails. Seen through the eyes of Iremar, a handsome cowboy who works the events, it features a ragtag band of labourers, a makeshift but close-knit family. While he’s not afraid to get his hands dirty, Iremar is not your typical cowboy: he has a romantic heart and a penchant for designing outfits for women. Neon Bull premiered at the 72nd Venice International Film Festival and won the Special Jury Prize in the Horizons section.
FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 22nd – No Place Like Home [El patio de mi casa] by Carlos Hagerman (Mexico, 2015) – 89 min.
What will become of us when our parents grow old? Carlos Hagerman faces this question by creating a loving portrait of his own parents, Oscar and Doris, who for many years have worked providing education opportunities in rural Mexico. Now, it’s the time for the takeover by Enedino and Isabel, two indigenous youngsters that have followed their steps. No Place Like Home is a moving reflection on family, friendship, and the possibilities to transform life through learning and teaching.
SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 23rd – Rara by Pepa San Martín (Chile, 2016) – 92 min.
Sara and her younger sister live with their divorced mother, whose new partner is a woman. Everyday life for the four of them is hardly any different than it is for other families. But not everyone sees it that way – Sara’s father in particular has his doubts. As Sara’s 13th birthday approaches, she feels rather overwhelmed: her first crush, a body in the midst of changes and to top it off, conflicts over loyalty with her parents. A bittersweet family drama, Rara captures in endearing ways personal struggles as well as changes in today’s Chilean society.
SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 24th – The Distinguished Citizen [El ciudadano ilustre] by Gaston Duprat and Mariano Cohn (Argentina, 2016) – 117 min.
After refusing big and prestigious awards all over the world, Mr. Mantovani, a Nobel Prize winner in Literature, accepts an invitation to visit his hometown in Argentina, which has been the inspiration for all of his books. It turns out that accepting this invitation is the worst idea of his life. Expect the unexpected when you have used real people as characters in your novels! The Distinguished Citizen was selected as Argentina’s entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 89th Academy Awards, and elected to compete for the Golden Lion at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival, where Oscar Martínez won the Volpi Cup for Best Actor.
The 7th Latin American and Spanish Film Week took place from Monday 19 to Sunday 25 of September, 2016. The line-up included films from Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru and Spain.
MONDAY SEPTEMBER 19th – Ixcanul by Jayro Bustamante (Guatemala, 2015) – 93 min.
Winner of the Silver Bear at the 2015 Berlin Film Festival, Ixcanul is Jayro Bustamente debut film. This well-crafted drama revolves around María, a 17-year-old Mayan woman living on the slopes of an active volcano in Guatemala. Maria’s parents, struggling to survive, have arranged for their daughter to be married. Although she is betrothed to the manager of the local plantation, Maria harbours feelings for seasonal worker Pepe. The teenager dreams of seeing ‘the city’, but Maria’s status as an indigenous woman does not, traditionally, allow her to go out into the wider world. A deeply thoughtful tale of an ancient civilization living in modern times and the price to be paid when one meets the other.
TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 20th – Magallanes by Salvador del Solar (Perú, 2015) – 109 min.
Magallanes, an aged Peruvian taxi driver, formerly an aide to a military officer in the days of the Peruvian government repression against the Shining Path insurgency in the 1980s, unexpectedly re-encounters a young indigenous woman who was victimized by his superior. Set in contemporary Lima, Magallanes is the story of a terrible secret and its long-term effects on the lives of two people trapped in their own socio-economic chokeholds. Director Salvador del Solar employs an engaging combination of moody atmospherics and efficient storytelling, supported by some of the most renowned actors hailing from Latin America (Fernando Luppi, Damián Alcázar and Magaly Solier).
WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 21st – The Club [El Club] by Pablo Larraín (Chile, 2015) – 98 min.
On a secluded hill in a small seaside town live four unrelated men and the woman who tends to the house and their needs. All former priests, they have been sent to this quiet exile to purge sins of their pasts. Their fragile stability is disrupted by the arrival of a newly-disgraced counterpart who moves into their house, and an emissary of the Church who seeks to understand the effects of their isolation. Both bring with them the outside world from which the men have long been removed, and the secrets they had thought deeply buried. The Club is acclaimed director Pablo Larraín’s taut commentary on individual responsibility, organized religion and the combustible combination of the two. The Club was screened in the main competition of the 65th Berlin International Film Festival where it won the Jury Grand Prix.
THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 22nd – The man who saw too much [El hombre que vio demasiado] by Trisha Ziff (Mexico, 2015) – 89 min.
This documentary by award-winning British-Mexican director Trisha Ziff is about Enrique Metinides, a photo-reporter who worked for many decades for the most important tabloids in Mexico City. Obsessed with photographing accidents and crime scenes, he discovered that the fate of others was his own way of connecting to life. The more we try to understand him and acknowledge our own compelling fascination with his images, the more we realize that we too are being lured into the Metinides Gaze. The man who saw too much, winner this year of the Ariel (Mexico’s equivalent to the Oscar) for best documentary, is a timely film about photography, violence and ethics in today’s mass media.
FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 23rd – The second mother [Que Horas Ela Volta?] by Anna Muylaert (Brazil, 2015) – 112 min.
After leaving her daughter Jessica in a small town in Pernambuco to be raised by relatives, Val spends the next 13 years working as a nanny to Fabinho in São Paulo. As Fabinho’s college entrance exams roll around, her daughter calls and gives her what seems to be a second chance. Jessica wants to come to São Paulo to take her college entrance exams as well. Filled with joy as
well as apprehension, Val gets ready, with the wholehearted support of her employers, for the long-dreamed moment of being near her daughter again. But when Jessica arrives, cohabitation is not easy… Set in current Brazil, The second mother is an endearing family comedy that reflects on the social and emotional ties that binds us.
SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 24th – The Clan [El Clan] by Pablo Trapero (Argentina, 2015) – 108 min.
The disappeared —los desaparecidos— are words that carry special resonance in Argentina. Long associated with the crimes of the military junta of the late 1970s, the term takes on a different, but no less chilling, meaning in the hands of renowned filmmaker Pablo Trapero in this political and family drama. Based on a true story that rocked Argentina, The Clan tells the
almost unbelievable tale of the Clan Puccio, a seemingly normal middle-class family who kidnapped wealthy people off the street. The Clan was Argentina’s submission for the Best Foreign Film at the Oscar competition in 2015.
SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 25th – Truman by Cesc Gay (Spain, 2015) – 108 min.
When Julián receives an unexpected visit from his childhood friend Tomás, the encounter is bittersweet. This reunion, their first meeting in many years, will also be their last. Diagnosed with cancer, Julián has decided to focus on putting his affairs in order: distributing his possessions, finalizing his funeral arrangements, and finding a home for his beloved dog, Truman. It’s this final task that is causing him the greatest heartbreak. With the collaboration of acting greats Argentine Ricardo Darín and Spanish Javier Cámara, Gay brings humour and sensitivity to this personal story, creating a singular reflection on friendship and acceptance at the end of life.
The 6th Latin American and Spanish Film Week took place from Tuesday 22 to Sunday 27 of September, 2015. The line-up included films from Mexico, Brazil, Cuba, Argentina, and Spain.
TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 22nd – Huicholes: The Last Peyote Guardians [Huicholes. Los últimos guardianes del peyote] by Hernán Vilchez (Mexico, 2014) – 125 min.
Huicholes: The Last Peyote Guardians is a story about the Wixarika People, one of the last living Pre-Hispanic cultures in Latin America, and their struggle to preserve Wirikuta, their sacred territory and the land where the peyote grows, the traditional plant that keeps the knowledge of this iconic culture of Mexico alive. However, this territory is in danger. In 2010 the Mexican government granted concessions to several mining companies to explore and exploit the area, a natural reserve of 140,000 hectares of desert and hills in the Mexican state of San Luis Potosí, rich in gold, silver and other valuable minerals. This visually stunning documentary explores the struggles and hopes of the Huicholes today.
WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 23rd – Big House [Casa grande] by Fellipe Barbosa (Brazil, 2014) – 115 min.
Exploring issues of class privilege among Rio de Janeiro’s decadent elite, Big House depicts a teenage boy’s struggle to escape his overprotective parents as they covertly spiral into bankruptcy. Both a coming-of-age film and a social commentary on Brazil’s social inequalities and uneven development, Big House tells a human story, in realist fashion, that captures dreams and anxieties shared by millions of people in today’s globalized economy.
THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 24th – Behaviour [Conducta] by Ernesto Daranas (Cuba, 2014) – 108 min.
One of the most heralded Cuban films of the last decade, Conducta provides a sensitive, unembellished look at contemporary life in Cuba. Life isn’t easy for 11- year-old Chala. When he isn’t getting into trouble at school for his violent behavior, or with the police for raising fighting dogs, he has to contend with an alcoholic mother who spends her nights hustling in Havana’s nightclubs. Chala has one person on his side: his teacher Carmela, who absolutely believes that no child is a lost cause. But when
Carmela falls ill, Chala himself is in danger of falling through the cracks of an unforgiving system. Winner of the Best Film Prize
at the Málaga Film Festival and the 2014 Cuban submission for the Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars.
FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 25th – Blondes [Güeros] By Alonso Ruizpalacios (México, 2014) – 106 min.
“This plucky and effortlessly cool black-and-white film from newcomer Alonso Ruizpalacios follows three restless teens during a student strike in 1999. Federico and Santos are roommates in Mexico City, students ‘on strike from the strike’ now that their university has been shut down, when Federico’s brother Tomás arrives. They hit the streets of the chaotic, exciting city looking for famed rock star Epigmenio Cruz, who once allegedly made Bob Dylan cry.” (AFI Fest) Blondes won Best New Narrative Director at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival, the Audience Awards at the Morelia and AFI Film Festivals, and Best Film and Best Director prizes at the most recent Ariel competition, Mexico’s most prestigious film awards.
SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 26th – Betibú by Miguel Cohan (Argentina, 2014) – 100 min.
A powerful industrialist is found with his throat cut in his luxury mansion. The famous novelist Betibú agrees to move into the neighbourhood, a posh country club in the suburbs of Buenos Aires, so she can write the chronicles of the case for a prestigious newspaper, but she soon discovers that this killing is just one in a series of murders of powerful men who share a dark past. Betibú is one of the most exciting thrillers coming from Argentina in the last years.
SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 27th – Living Is Easy with Eyes Closed [Vivir es fácil con los ojos cerrados] by David Trueba (Spain, 2013) – 108 min.
Beatles fans will recognize the title from the lyrics in “Strawberry Fields Forever,” which John Lennon wrote while in southern Spain playing a minor character in Richard Lester’s anti-war movie How I Won the War. This event forms the backdrop of Trueba’s charming road movie about Antonio, a Spanish schoolteacher who is also an avid Beatles fan. When he learns that Lennon is filming in Almería, in southern Spain, he sets out to meet him. Along the way he makes friends with Belén, a 20-year-old pregnant girl on her way home to her family, and Juanjo, a teenage boy. Lennon’s words take on special significance in a story set in Franco’s Spain. Winner of four Goya Awards, Spain’s top cinematographic prize, including Best Film and Best Director,
and the 2014 Spanish submission for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars.
The 5th Latin American and Spanish Film Week took place from Tuesday 16 to Sunday 21 of September, 2014. The line-up included films from Argentina, Paraguay, Mexico, Uruguay and Spain.
TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 16th – Mercedes Sosa: the Voice of Latin America [Mercedes Sosa: La voz de Latinoamérica] by Rodrigo H. Vila (Argentina, 2013) – 90 min.
With millions of records sold, thousands of concerts all over the world, and countless fans (and detractors), Argentine folk singer Mercedes Sosa left behind an indelible legacy. Featuring unforgettable performances that span Sosa’s 60-year career, and interviews with musicians like Pablo Milanés, Chico Buarque and David Byrne, this stirring portrait takes us on an in-depth,
intimate journey through her life, revealing an artist and advocate for social justice who became one of the most influential personalities of the 20th century.
WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 17th – 7 boxes [7 cajas] by Juan Carlos Maneglia and Tana Schembori (Paraguay, 2012) – 100 min.
Víctor, a 17 year old pushcart porter, makes a living at the Municipal Market. He dreams of becoming famous, often absorbed by the TV in the appliance store. He receives an unusual proposal: to carry 7 boxes of unknown content, in exchange for a torn half of a $ 100 bill. He will get the other half when he finishes the job. Víctor embarks on the journey, but there is something in those boxes that starts a high-speed wheelbarrow chase in the secret and gloomy corridors of the market. Víctor and his pursuers will get involved in a thick plot that will lead to a surprising ending… 7 boxes was nominated at the 27th Goya Awards for Best Spanish Language Foreign Film representing Paraguay.
THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 18th – Rosario by Shula Erenberg (Mexico, 2012) – 70 min.
Rosario is the intimate life-portrait of Rosario Ibarra de Piedra, a Mexican woman, who in 1975, when she was 48 years old, suffered the political disappearance of her son in the city of Monterrey. After that moment her life made a dramatic turn: from middle-class housewife to social fighter. She has become a political referent in modern Mexico, going from the tireless search for her missing son to assuming a life project dedicated to the defense of human rights and government accountability.
FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 19th – The Amazing Cat Fish [Los insólitos peces gato] by Claudia Saint-Luce (Mexico, 2013) – 89 min.
Claudia, a lonely young woman, ends up in hospital with a severe case of appendicitis. There, she meets Marta, the woman resting in the bed next to hers. Marta, who lives with her four children, gains Claudia’s trust. When Marta gets out of the hospital, she suggests that Claudia go home with them. Getting to know this family makes Claudia feel at ease, and for the first time she experiences a sense of belonging in this peculiar little tribe. As Marta’s health weakens, the bond Claudia has with each member of the family grows stronger. An endearing family comedy, The Amazing Catfish was recognized as the best Latin American feature at the 2014 Mar del Plata International Film Festival and was awared the Fipresci Prize in the Discovery Program for
emerging directors at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.
SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 20th – The Delay [La demora] by Rodrigo Plá (Uruguay, 2012) – 84 min.
A single mother with three kids works from home as a tailor for a big textile firm. She is left with taking care of her aging father, who also lives at home. Welfare agencies turn down her request for taking in her father because she is not below the poverty line. One day while returning home with him, she takes a fateful decision, one that, eventually, she will come to regret… A drama that touches on the economic and psychological strains on the contemporary family, The Delay is a masterfully directed film that leads the spectator to a suspenseful resolution.
SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 21st – A Gun in Each Hand [Una pistola en cada mano] by Cesc Gay (Spain, 2012) – 95 min.
There are no actual shootouts in A Gun in Each Hand, but plenty of male egos are wounded in this clever and sharp collection of vignettes that present a portrait of forty-something manhood, and its shifting role in contemporary Barcelona. The film stars a talented cast of Spanish language actors: Eduardo Noriega, Javier Cámara, Argentina’s favourite Ricardo Darín, and Candela Peña, who won as best supporting actress at the 27th Goya Awards. This is a superbly accomplished battle-of-the-sexes comedy where chance encounters between old friends, acquaintances, ex-spouses and potential lovers form an engrossing series of six
intertwined tales of love lost and found.
The 4th Latin American and Spanish Film Week took place from Tuesday 17 to Sunday 22 of September, 2013. This year’s line-up included films from US/Guatemala, Spain/Cuba, Mexico, Mexico/Argentina, Spain/Switzerland and Spain.
TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 17th – Gold Fever by J.T. Haines, Tommy Haines and Andrew Sherburne (US/Guatemala, 2013) – 84 min.
Gold Fever witnesses the arrival of Goldcorp Inc. to a remote Guatemalan village. 500 years after the conquistadors, and still reeling from decades of U.S.-backed repression, Diodora, Crisanta and Gregoria are caught in the cross-hairs of another global frenzy for gold. Together with members of their divided community, they resist the threat to their ancestral lands in the face of grave consequences.
WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 18th – Chico & Rita by Tono Errando, Javier Mariscal and Fernando Trueba (Spain/Cuba, 2010) – 94 min.
Oscar-winning director Fernando Trueba and Spain’s legendary illustrator Javier Mariscal celebrate their passion for the music and culture of Cuba with a story of love, passion and heartbreak. In 1948 Cuba, Chico is a young piano player with big dreams. Rita is a beautiful singer with an extraordinary voice. Music and desire unite them as they chase their dreams and each other from Havana to New York to Paris, Hollywood and Las Vegas. With an original soundtrack by legendary five time Grammy-winning composer Bebo Valdés, Chico & Rita captures a defining moment in the evolution of history and jazz, featuring the music of Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, Cole Porter, Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, and others. Recipient of multiple awards such as the Goya Award, European Film Award, Gaudi Award and an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Film.
THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 19th – La revolución de los alcatraces [Eufrosina’s Revolution] by Luciana Kaplan (Mexico, 2012) – 93 min.
In 2007, Eufrosina Mendoza was elected president of Oaxaca’s municipal council, but was denied the position because she was an indigenous woman. Instead of stopping her, this denial started her on an even bigger political career. Filmmaker Luciana Kaplan doggedly follows Eufrosina over the years as she attacks gender inequality and the lack of women’s voting rights in her community, while being harassed by local government every step of the way. Eufrosina is completely devoted to improving the
lives of her people. But as she ascends the ranks of political power, can she still effect change from an ivory tower? Eufrosina’s Revolution is an eye-opening look at a new breed of politicians, who question whether power is a problem or a privilege, who
get things done, who are smart enough not to think anything will change, but who work in hope.
FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 20th – El Premio [The Prize] by Paula Markovitch(Mexico/Argentina, 2011) – 99 min.
Under the cloud of a military dictatorship, a young mother and her daughter flee Buenos Aires for the seclusion of a ramshackle cottage along the windy dunes of an Argentine beach. As her mother listens for news from the radio with sad stoicism, the restlessly curious seven-year-old Cecilia joins a nearby school overseen by a kindly teacher. A childhood idyll soon becomes contaminated by the general political crisis, as the teacher recruits the class for a patriotic essay contest sponsored by the army—the very people that may have already “disappeared” Cecilia’s father. This superbly acted and engrossingly atmospheric drama about innocence in illicit times is based on the director’s own childhood. El Premio won four Ariel Awards, Mexico’s top cinema prize, including best film for 2012.
SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 21st – Sagrada, el misteri de la creació [Sagrada, the Mystery of Creation] by Stefan Haupt (Spain/Switzerland, 2012) – 89 min.
Normally we see a cathedral or a church in its finished form, a witness of days long gone by. By contrast, the construction of the “Sagrada Familia” in Barcelona is anything but complete. We can see how the edifice is growing and evolving, even today, as it has done for the past 125 years. The “Sagrada Familia” is a unique and fascinating building project by a controversial genius, Antoni Gaudí. Who was the man who designed this cathedral? What was his driving force? Who are the workers, craftsmen, artists and architects, who continue working on the building today? Inspired by Gaudí’s vision, this documentary film explores the history behind the cathedral, as well as our search for the meaning of existence and the nature of creativity.
SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 22nd – Blancanieves [Snow White] by Pablo Berger (Spain, 2012) – 104 min.
Blancanieves is Carmen, a beautiful young girl tormented in childhood by her wicked step-mother, Encarna. Fleeing from her past, Carmen sets out on an exciting journey with her new friends: a troupe of bullfighting dwarves. Beautifully shot in black-and white, this silent film is an original take on the classic fairy tale set in the south of Spain in the 1920s, packed with drama, adventures, emotion and laughs. Never before had we been told the story this way. Blancanieves was Spain’s official submission to the Oscar’s Best Foreign Language category. It won ten Goya Awards including Best Film in 2012. (N.B: No bulls were hurt
in the making of this movie).
The 3rd Latin American and Spanish Film Week took place from Tuesday 18 to Sunday 23 of September, 2012. This year’s line-up included films from Brazil, Chile, Mexico/Spain, Perú, Cuba and Argentina.
TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 18th – O Palhaço [The Clown] by Selton Mello (Brasil, 2011) – 88 min.
In this beautifully shot, lighthearted and nostalgic tale, Valdemar and Benjamin are the fabulous father/son clown duo of Puro Sangue (Thoroughbred) and Pangaré (Mangy Horse). They make their living travelling the Brazilian countryside with the Circo Esperança (Hope Circus). They have no fixed address. Benjamin begins to grow tired of the road and worries he is no longer
funny. With only his birth certificate in hand, he embarks on a journey of self-discovery to claim a life he has for so long only dreamed of knowing.
Selton Mello was born in Passos, Brazil in 1972. O Palhaço, his second feature film, became a box office hit in Brazil for which he won the São Paulo Association of Art Critics Award for Best Director.
WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 19th – Gatos viejos [Old Cats] by Sebastián Silva and Pedro Peirano (Chile, 2010) – 88 min.
Isadora and Enrique live a comfortable life. They have a modest yet elegant apartment in Santiago’s old downtown district – complete with a lovely terrace and mountain views. Well into their 80’s, they both maintain their independence and live happily with their books, their eclectic art and with their beloved two ample cats. But one day, Isadora’s passionate “wild child” daughter Rosario and her butch female lover, Hugo, come for a visit with a new scheme of how to make them all rich… Gatos viejos is a well-crafted drama about family relations, the generation gap and misplaced expectations.
Sebastián Silva’s second feature film, La Nana, launched his career internationally with a Golden Globe nomination for Best Foreign Film and accolades at the Sundance and Gotham festivals. Pedro Peirano is the co-writer of Silva’s first film, La vida me mata, and La Nana. Gatos Viejos was selected at the New York Film Festival, Sundance among many others.
THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 20th – La maleta mexicana [The Mexican Suitcase] by Trisha Ziff (Mexico/Spain, 2010) – 86 min.
The Mexican Suitcase tells the incredible story of the recovery in 2007 of 4,500 negatives taken during the Spanish Civil War by Robert Capa, Gerda Taro, and David Seymour, three of the most renowned war photographers of the twentieth century. The film follows the journey of these negatives to Mexico – the images are exiles themselves, recovered seventy years later. The Mexican Suitcase brings together the recovery of the suitcase and the story of the Spanish exile. It also looks at how people in Spain today confront their own past, 30 years after its transition to democracy. The Mexican Suitcase addresses the power of images, the persistence of memory, and the convergence of personal and collective histories.
Trisha Ziff is a curator of contemporary photography, filmmaker and Guggenheim scholar. She directed the documentary Chevolution (2008) about the iconic image of Che Guevara. She is currently finishing a documentary about piracy in the arts and media. She lives and works in
FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 21th – Operación Diablo [The Devil Operation] by Stephanie Boyd (Peru/Canada, 2010) – 69 min.
Father Marco Arana is being followed. A private investigative firm is photographing and videotaping his every move. This humble priest has spent two decades defending Peruvian mountain farmers from a US -owned gold mine, earning him the nickname “El Diablo”, the Devil. When Father Marco’s allies are harrased and tortured, he and his supporters take action and develop a counterespionage plan. They obtain graphic footage, photos and reports taken by the spies worthy of a Hollywood spy flick. This real-life thriller exposes the new wave of corporate terrorism faced by Latin America’s human rights defenders.
Stephanie Boyd was born in Canada and has spent the past 14 years living and working in Peru as a filmmaker and journalist. The Devil Operation has been selected at the most prestigious documentary film festivals in the world, including IDFA in Amsterdam and Hot Docs in Toronto.
SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 22th – Juan de los muertos (2009) [Juan of The Dead] by Alejandro Brugués (Cuba, 2011) – 100 min.
Juan is 40 years old, and has spent his life in Havana doing absolutely nothing. It’s his way of life, and he’s prepared to defend it at any cost, along with his pal Lázaro, as lazy as Juan but twice as dumb. Suddenly strange things happen; people are turning violent attacking one another. Official media refer to the attacks as isolated incidents provoked by Cuban dissidents paid by the
US government, but the attackers are not normal human beings… Juan decides to take matters into his own hands, but little by little he and his friends realize that getting rid of the invaders is quite a difficult task. Half zombie movie, half political satire, Juan de los muertos is a dark comedy brimming with action and reflecting with poignant humour on Cuban society today.
Alejandro Brugués was born in Buenos Aires in 1976. He graduated from the International Film and Television School of San Antonio de los Baños (Cuba). “Personal Belongings”, his first feature as director, was selected for the 1st Latin American Film Week in Victoria in 2010.
SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 23th – Un Cuento Chino [A Chinese Tale] by Sebastián Borensztein (Argentina, 2011) – 93 min.
For over 20 years, introverted hardware store owner Roberto (Ricardo Darín of the Oscar winning The Secret in Their Eyes) has lived as a recluse in a Buenos Aires suburb. Roberto’s orderly yet lonely existence is disrupted when Jun, a young man from China stumbles into his path. Jun has just landed in Buenos Aires in search of his uncle, his only living relative, but does not speak a word of Spanish. Roberto suddenly finds himself the custodian of this stranger as he is unwillingly caught up in Jun’s predicament. In this funny and heartwarming tale, destiny’s intersections are many and they may even divulge the film’s curious opening sequence of a cow falling from the sky.
Un cuento chino, Sebastián Borensztein’s third feature, won the Marc’Aurelio Jury Award for Best Film at the Rome Film Festival, the Spanish Goya Award for Best Iberoamerican Film, and the Argentine Academy Award for Best Film and Best Actor. It was also seen by close to a million cinema-goers in Argentina, making it the most successful Argentine film of 2011.
The 2nd Latin American and Spanish Film Week from September 19 to 25, 2011, featured movies from Venezuela, Mexico, Chile, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina and Spain.
MONDAY SEPTEMBER 19th – Brother [Hermano] by Marcel Rasquin (Venezuela, 2010) – 96 min.
Daniel is an exceptional footballer, a striker. Julio is the team’s captain, a born leader. They were raised as brothers and play football in their slum, La Ceniza, in Caracas. Daniel dreams to play professional football while Julio feeds the family with dirty money: he has no time to dream. The opportunity of their lives arrives when a football scout invites them to try out with the city’s best team: Caracas Football Club. But tragedy strikes them. They must choose, on a dirty football pitch, what is more important: family, revenge or the dream of their lives. On this pitch, life is on the line…
Marcel Rasquin’s 2010 debut feature has made the rounds in the international film circuit and was selected as the Venezuelan entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 83rd Academy Awards.
TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 20th – Perpetuum Mobile by Nicolás Pereda (Mexico/Canada, 2009) – 86 min.
Gabino is a 24-year old man who still lives with his mother and works as a moving truck driver in Mexico City. He constantly witnesses the perils and distress that others have to endure as they move out of their homes and out of other people’s lives. Gabino and his mother have a distant relationship that comes to a climax when they stumble upon an unexpected discovery.
Nicolás Pereda was born in Mexico City in 1982. In 2007 he earned a Masters in Fine Arts from York University in Toronto. His award-winning first feature film ¿Dónde están sus historias? has screened at festivals around the world, and his subsequent films have all garnered critical acclaim. Perpetuum Mobile won best Mexican film at the Guadalajara Film Festival.
WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 21th – Post Mortem by Pablo Larrain (Chile, 2009) – 98 min.
Psychological thriller and political drama, Port mortem tells the story of 55 year-old Mario, a clerk at the city’s morgue who makes a living typing autopsy reports. He daydreams of his neighbour Nancy, a cabaret dancer, who disappears mysteriously on September 11, 1973, the fateful day Pinochet staged his coup d’état. Following a violent search of her house by the army, he learns that they have arrested Nancy’s brother and father, a staunch Communist and supporter of Salvador Allende. Beside himself with worry over the disappearance of his would-be lover, Mario searches frantically for Nancy.
Port Mortem is Pablo Larraín’s third feature film (his second film, Tony Manero, was featured at the 2008 Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes). Port Mortem had its world premiere at the 2010 Venice Film Festival.
THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 22th – Smoke Gets in Your Eyes [É Proibido Fumar] by Anna Muylaert (Brazil, 2009) – 86 min.
Aby (Gloria Pires), a chain-smoking guitar teacher in her forties, craves for a romantic relationship. When musician Max (Paulo Miklos) moves into the apartment next door, she sees the possibility of turning her lonely life around. Instead, she unexpectedly finds herself involved in a love triangle leading to a terrible jealous rage. A bad time to give up smoking! A story of love, sex, agony and death, Anna Muylaert’s Smoke Gets in your Eyes balances the fine line between comedy and tragedy, taking its characters on a journey to and from the dark side. As in life, they end up bruised, but perhaps better human beings in the long run.
Smoke Gets in your Eyes won 10 awards at the Brazilia Film Festival including Best Film and Best Actor.
FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 23th – Sins of my Father [Pecados de mi padre] by Nicolás Entel (Argentina-Colombia, 2009) – 93 min.
Sins of my Father tells the story of Pablo Escobar, head of the prominent Medellín drug cartel in the 1980s, narrated by his son, Sebastian Marroquín. Sebastian recounts the extraordinary tale of his childhood, living with his beloved father, who was also Colombia’s enemy number one. This outstanding documentary takes a look at Colombia’s recent political past, and includes a
narrative of two victims killed by Escobar: Rodrigo Lara Bonilla, a Court Justice, and Luis Carlos Galán, a popular presidential candidate, told by their sons. The film displays Sebastian’s desire to break the cycle of vengeance and assassinations, by means of reconciliation with the descendants of his father’s victims.
Sins of my Father played at Sundance and won the audience award at the Miami International Film Festival.
SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 24th – The Man Next Door (2009) [El hombre de al lado] by Gastón Duprat and Mariano Cohn (Argentina, 2009)– 101 min.
Leonardo, a successful industrial designer, lives with his family in an architectural wonder, a mid-century Le Corbusier home in the city of La Plata, Argentina. One morning, he wakes to an irksome noise and is appalled to discover that workmen next door are building a large window that faces directly into his home. Victor, the neighbor, is a weird, extroverted character, both
friendly and threatening. The small incident escalates and starts to take over Leonardo’s life, until it leads to an unexpected outcome.
The Man Next Door (2009) won Best Argentine Feature Film at the 24th Mar del Plata Film Festival and Best Cinematography in the World Dramatic Competition at the Sundance Film Festival in 2010.
SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 25th – Even the Rain [También la lluvia] by Icíar Bollaín (Spain, 2010) – 103 min.
Costa and Sebastian arrive in Cochabamba, Bolivia, to shoot a period film about Columbus’s arrival in the Americas. They’re on the tightest of budgets, but the shoot gets off to a smooth start. Things get complicated when the extras and the main actor, locals to Cochabamba, rise up against the privatization of their city’s drinking water. The battle to get the film made intertwines
with the fight of their Bolivian crewmembers, deprived of their most basic rights, prohibited from collecting even the rain.
Featuring noted actors Gael García Bernal and Luis Tosar, Icíar Bollaín’s film premiered at the Toronto Film Festival last year and was Spain’s Official Selection for the Oscar Academy Awards.
The 1st Latin American and Spanish Film Week took place from September 15 to 19, 2010. It featured movies from Cuba, USA, Mexico, Chile, and Argentina.
WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 15th – The Man of Two Havanas by Vivien Lesnik Weisman (Cuba-USA, 2007) – 93 min.
“Okay, here’s the situation. I was born in Havana. That makes me Cuban. But, I was raised in little Havana (Miami, Florida), which makes me Cuban-American. However, since I don’t see Castro as the root of all evil in the universe, nor would I strangle him with my bare hands given the opportunity, I am a little out of step with my tribe. I always have been. And I really don’t care. My dad, on the other hand, does care”. Vivien Lesnik.
With a childhood filled with bombings and assassination attempts on her father
(legendary journalist and revolutionary Max Lesnik), the filmmaker explores her relationship with him and the Cuba he left behind. Through the prism of a daughter we explore the past, the present, and the nature of social responsibility and personal sacrifice. The movie contains highly controversial top-secret audiotapes of a CIA trained Cuban exile Terrorist who is in the middle of a trial and incarcerated by Homeland Security. His trial puts the Bush administration’s War on Terror on trial as well. The audiotape excerpts are from an NYT reporter who refuses to turn over these tapes. The never before heard audiotapes will be hotly debated in the media.
Vivien Lesnik Weisman was born in Havana, Cuba. She graduated from Barnard College with a B.A. in Art History and New York Law School with a Doctorate in Jurisprudence. She went on to receive an MFA in directing from the UCLA School of Film and Television. The Man of Two Havanas is her first documentary. She won IFP New York’s Fledging Fund Award for a Work-in-Progress for her film that premiered at The Tribeca Film Festival to a standing ovation in 2007. In 2007 she won the 1st Coral Award at The Festival de Nuevo Cine Latino Americano in Cuba and was a Finalist for The Social Justice Award at The Santa Barbara International Film Festival.
THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 16th – The Desert Within [Desierto adentro] by Rodrigo Plá (Mexico, 2008) – 112 min.
Well-paced prelude is set during the Cristero war (in 1928), when whole towns suspected of supporting rebels were wiped out by government troops. Even priests and their churches aren’t safe, as Elias (Mario Zaragoza) discovers when his baby Aureliano is
about to be born. To not have a baptism is out of the question, yet to go to the priest for one is sure to attract the eye of the military… Forced to flee with his immediate family, Elias has a vision of God… and is convinced his children will die prematurely for his sin of bringing death to the town. With his brood and sickly baby Aureliano tucked inside a glass case for protection (a vivid sight), Elias treks to the desert… Central section set in 1934 establishes a bizarre yet thoroughly realized world, in which the family has begun building a church.
Rodrigo Plá (Uruguayan born) is a Mexican director, he has written and directed five short films, including Novia mía which received the award as Best Short Film at the Biarritz Festival and the Guadalajara Film Festival and Ojo en la nuca, which, among
other awards, received the student Oscar for Best Foreign Short and the Ariel for Best Fictional Short. He has also written and directed two feature films, La Zona and Desierto Adentro. The first received several international recognitions, including: the Lion of the Future for the Best Debut Film at the 64th International Venice Film Festival (2007) and the International Critics Award (FIPRESCI) – Toronto International Film Festival (2007). Desierto Adentro won seven awards at the 2007 Guadalajara Film Festival.
FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 17th – Personal Belongings by Alejandro Brugués (Cuba, 2006) – 95 min.
Ernesto has been trying to leave the country for as long as he can remember. His only activity is going from embassy to embassy, trying to get a visa. He lives in his car, and all his belongings fit in a small bag. Ana’s family left Cuba on a raft. She decided to stay
behind, alone in her huge and empty house. She’s determined to show them they made the wrong choice. From the moment they meet, Ana and Ernesto fall hopelessly in love to the point where they can’t live without each other, even though they both know they have chosen completely different life paths.
Alejandro Brugués was born in Buenos Aires in 1976. He graduated from the Escuela Internacional de Cine y Televisión de San Antonio de los Baños, Cuba. Brugués is one of the founders of Producciones la Quinta Avenida, an independent Cuban film production company. As a screenwriter, he has worked on the films Tres Veces Dos and Frutas de Café. Personal Belongings has screened in a number of international film festivals, including Chicago and Malaga. The film won the third prize for Best First Film at the 2008 Havana Film Festival.
SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 18th – The Maid [La nana] by Sebastián Silva (Chile, 2009) – 95 min.
After working for the Valdes family for 23 years, Raquel has become almost a member of the clan, with a rather large emphasis on the “almost.” Even as she cooks and cleans, and is privy to the innermost secrets of the family–whether it’s the price of a sweater or a teenage son’s vigorous new interest in masturbation–Raquel is never truly a part of things. Her loneliness follows her like a stain. Into the austerity and sepulchral chill of her life, comes a blast of goofy joie de vivre in the form of a new maid named Lucy, whose force of personality and habit of topless sunbathing makes her almost impossible to resist. Raquel’s gradual return to life is akin to the first signs of spring, when even the first small hints of new green life are cause for celebration.
Sebastián Silva is a multifaceted artist whose work includes painting, illustration, and popular music. His paintings have been exhibited in Santiago and New York, and Sonic 360 picked one of his three bands, Los Monos, for distribution in the United States and the United Kingdom. His first film, La Vida Me Mata, won numerous awards in Chile and earned him the attention of critics and film festivals. La Nana is his second film and won the World Cinema Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival in 2009.
SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 19th – Lion’s Den [Leonera] by Pablo Trapero (Argentina, 2008) – 113 min.
In a gripping opening sequence, a pregnant young woman, Julia, wakes in her apartment beside the bloodied bodies of two men, Ramiro and Nahuel. Ramiro is still alive, Nahuel is dead, and Julia herself is pretty beaten. We deduce that both have been her lovers, and that a crime of passion has occurred. The night’s events are unclear, and both Ramiro and Julia are arrested. When Julia is eventually convicted, she faces the prospect of raising her son in jail, with the knowledge that when he is four he will be taken away from her.
Pablo Trapero was born in 1972 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Trapero studied architecture and film at the Universidad del Cine in Buenos Aires. His dazzling career began in black-and-white with the film Mundo Grúa, one of the most significant films of the Argentine New Wave. Leonera was selected for the main competition at the Cannes Film Festival in 2008. Since then, the film has been selected for a number of festivals and has won several awards, including best Latin American Film at the Mexican Academy Awards and the Jury Prize at the Havana Film Festival in Cuba.