Archive for the ‘2016’ Category


The Wanted Child / El Hijo Buscado

Dir. Daniel Gagliano, Argentina, 2014, 82 min. colour, English subtitles.
Cast: Rafael Ferro, Maria Ucedo, Sofia Brito, Susana Varela, Nicolas Garcia, Omar Holz, Lali Gonzalez

After ten fruitless years spent trying to adopt through the official channels, Alvaro and Ana, both now entering middle age, have reached the point of desperation. After yet another setback, they decide their only recourse is to buy a baby on the black market. As Alvaro sets out on the perilous journey to the Brazilian border, leaving Ana to wait in trepidation, the mood darkens and events soon start to spiral out of control. A brooding, terrifying thriller, which lays bare the fault lines of a society in which money and privilege can prove powerless to fulfil the demands of the heart.

Mar del Plata International Film Festival – National Competition – Actriz revelación/ “Revelation Actress”; 11/2014; Argentina.

Mostra de Cinema Llatinoamericà de Catalunya – “Premio Radio Exterior de España”; 04/2015; Spain.


Boccaccerias Habaneras

Dir. Arturo Sotto, Cuba, 2014, 100 min. colour, English subtitles.
Cast: Zulema Cruz, Jorge Perugorria, Felix Beaton, Claudia Alvarez, Mario Guerra, Luis Alberto Garcia, Patricio Wood

A wickedly contrived portmanteau of three separate tales, all loosely based on stories from The Decameron, and held together by a linking narrative that features a burnt-out writer offering money in exchange for creative ideas.

Though Habaneras to the core, the stories are shot through with as much satirical and erotic energy as is to be found anywhere in Boccaccio’s seven hundred year old masterpiece.

Winner of the 2013 Havana International Film Festival Audience Prize for Best Screenplay, Boccaccerias Habaneras has rightly been hailed as representing a new dawn for the Cuban film industry. Certainly, it is difficult to imagine a funnier (or sexier) commentary on the social and cultural turbulence that characterises today’s Cuba, and the countless Boccaccerias it has surely given birth to.


Dancing With Margot / Bailando Con Margot

Dir. Arturo Santana, Cuba, 2015, 105 min. colour, English subtitles.
Cast: Mirtha Ibarra, Edwin Fernandez, Yenisse Soria, Niu Ventura, Max Alvarez, Jorge Enrique Caballero, Rolando Chiong

Havana, New Year’s Eve, 1958. A detective investigating the theft of a painting from the house of a wealthy widow, unearths a dark and tangled history, rooted in a pre-revolutionary past of cabaret decadence and shady Mafia, dealings (a world that, unbeknownst to the protagonists, is due to be swept away, in a few hours time, with the arrival of the Revolutionary Army in the city). Through masterly lighting, art-direction and location work, the film evokes the atmosphere of Havana in the1930s, 40s and 50s, with a huge wink to the conventions of Film Noir, (as well as more nuanced references to Latin American genres such as the Mexican Cine de Rumberas). Director Arturo Santana keeps a firm hold on the reins, ensuring that the film never becomes a mere exercise in style; a sure-footed script interpreted by a multi- talented cast, whisks us through a compelling human story, while the side-long, self-referential humour preserves a distance from any indulgence in romanticised nostalgia for what was, in fact, a brutal period in Cuban history. A must-see at the Festival this year!


Omega 3

Dir. Eduardo del Llano, Cuba, 2014, 74 min. colour, English subtitles.
Cast: Carlos Gonzalvo, Dailenys Fuentes, Omar Franco, Hector Noas, Edith Massola, Carlos Massola, Aramis Delgado

In a post-apocalyptic world, different factions contend in a bitter conflict – over what the surviving population should be eating. Arguably, it is a very Cuban question; and also typical is the ingenuity and imagination with which this future dystopia is evoked on a minimal budget. As in all great science-fiction, however, it treats universal themes: in this case, intolerance and dogma. For all that it is focused through the satirical lens of dietary fetishism, “Omega 3”, with its incisive script, assured performances and brooding visual style, manages to remain both thought- provoking and highly emotive. One of the most innovative films in this year’s Festival, and one that will stay with you long after you have left the theatre.


Chezz Game / Jodo De Xadrez

Dir. Luis Antonio Pereira, Brazil, 2014, 80 min. colour, English subtitles.
Cast: Priscila Fantin, Tuca Andrade, Antonio Calloni, Carla Marins

Street smart Mina, (Priscila Fantin ) is doing time for fraud in Rio’s notorious Talavera Bruce Penintentiary. With the backing of her close allies, Beth and Martona, she runs the prison’s trade in contraband goods; but this is not the source of her main problem. Sleazy Senator Franco (Antonio Calloni ) believes Mina knows too much about his part in the corrupt dealings that got her gaoled in the first place, and decides he must ensure her silence. He bribes the Governor (Tuca Andrade ) to engineer Mina’s death, and so begins a visceral struggle over who really owns the prison: Mina, or the criminals in charge? A tense and exciting thriller, with a cutting satirical edge.


The Longest Distance / La Distancia Mas Larga

Dir. Claudia Pinto, Venezuela, 2013, 93 min. colour, English subtitles. Cast: Carme Elias, Omar Moya, Alec Whaite, Ivan Tamayo, Isabel

Rocatti, Marcos Moreno An epic story of astounding compassion and beauty, a multiple award-winning film that has been widely credited with making Venezuelans fall back in love with their own country. Martina, a woman of sixty, is reeling from the news that she is terminally ill. She decides to undertake a last journey to Gran Sabana, a sublime wilderness, a place where she was once happy. Her plan is to climb the magnificent Mount Roraima; and never to come back down. Deep in her heart, though, she realises she will never be able to manage such a journey on her own. An unheralded visit from her grandson Lucas changes everything. Oblivious to his grandmother’s condition, he agrees to accompany her, little knowing that he is about to be confronted with her intention to end her own life. With stunning performances from Spanish actor Carme Elias, and Omar Moya as Lucas, this is truly the longest  journey – a journey from the chaos of 21st century Caracas, to one of the most ancient landscapes on Earth, and a journey from alienation and loss, to love and self-realisation.