Archive for the ‘FILMS’ Category

Boca de Pozo_Roughneck - 01

Roughneck / Boca de pozo

Dir. Simon Franco, Argentina, 2014, 82 min, colour, English subtitles.
Cast: Pablo Cedron, Nicolas Saavedra

Boca de Pozo tells the story of Lucho, an oil worker in Comodoro Rivadavia, Argentina.

A bit of a roughneck, he finds little enough outlet for his energies in this artificial city, which has been developed to serve the needs of industry, rather than those of its human population. He could leave, of course; but the pay is just too good.

This tense and gritty tale is Simon Franco’s sixth feature film. His marvelous “Not So Modern Times” was a huge draw at LLAFF 2012.


Days of the Flowers

Dir. John Roberts, UK /Cuba, 2013, 99 min, colour, English subtitles.
Cast:Carlos Acosta, Eva Birthistle, Charity Wakefield, Christopher Simpson, Bryan Dick

Renowned dancer Carlos Acosta gives a sizzling performance in this laugh-out-loud romantic comedy from BAFTA award-winning director, John Roberts.

Two quarrelsome sisters must overcome their differences as they journey to Cuba to uncover the mysteries of their family’s past. But arriving in Havana, their plans soon go awry as they encounter romance and danger, in what will become a holiday they will never forget.

Gato Negro_Black Cat - 02

Black cat / gato negro

Dir. Mario Gaston Gallo, Argentina, 2014, 120 min, colour, English subtitles.
Cast: Luciano Caceres, Luis Luque, Leticia Bredice, Roberto Vallejos, Lito Cruz, Favio Posca, Juan Acosta, Paloma Contreras, Guillermo Arengo, Eduardo Cutuli, Sergio Surraco, Daniel Campomenosi

This is a penetrating account of one young life as it develops against a backdrop of the most turbulent period of Argentina’s recent history. Tito Pereyra’s story begins in the town of Tucuman, where he grows up without a father. The life decisions he makes, emerging into adulthood, are coloured by this background, as well as by the general darkness and undertow of violence implicit in the times. This is a portrait of a complex character, neither wholly bad nor good, which culminates in Buenos Aires, with the return of democracy in the 1980s.

Extirpador de Idolatrías - Paulina Bazan (the girl) & Magaly Solier (mother of the boy)

Extirpador de idolatrias

Dir. Manuel Siles, Peru, 2013, 86 min, colour, English subtitles.
Cast: Oswaldo Salas,Waldo Mamani,Magaly Solier ,Paulina Bazán,Renato Gianoli
Diego Yupanqui, Augusto Casafranca, Oscar Ludeña,Fiorella Flores,Amiel Cayo, Julián Vargas
Firelei Barreda, Ana Arce, Diana Castro
Extirpador de Idolatrías.

This dark and compelling detective mystery is set against an unusual background: the Peruvian Andes, and a universe of indigenous supernatural beliefs. Two children nearing puberty, a boy and a girl, are preparing to participate in traditional rites of passage, in the course of which they are expected to commune with spirit creatures sacred to the religion practiced in some high Andean regions. However, a baleful shadow is cast over this peaceful ritual when it is violently interrupted by the arrival of the Extirpador de Idolatrías.  This self-styled ‘scourge of idolatry’, though pretending to be on a mission of pure faith, is actually a monster of religious intolerance.

Inspector Waldo, an introverted and irascible character with personal demons of his own, is tasked with investigating the growing string of crimes associated with indigenous ceremonies. Although hampered by the discriminatory attitudes of his high-handed boss, and dogged by inner conflicts that have troubled him all his life, Waldo is determined to track down and capture the deeply sinister ‘scourge of idolatry’. A unique, and hugely intriguing slice of Peruvian Noir.


Casa dentro

Dir. Joanna Lombardi Pollarolo, Peru, 2012, 87 min, colour. English subtitles.
Awards: Conacine Best Producion Award, Lima Peru. Conacine Distribution Award, Lima Peru.
Cast: Elide Brero, Delfina Paredes, Stepnanie Orue, Grapa Paola, Annaliese Fiedler, Giovanni Ciccia.

Questions with no answers, emotional barriers and locked doors pervade Joanna Lombardi’s intriguing and mysterious feature film Casa Dentro. In the home of the aged Senora Pilar, who lives with her housekeeper and maid, a visit from relatives evokes strained emotions, buried histories and painful memories. These, however, go unvoiced, swallowed up by the deadening domestic routine of the house.

Lombardi makes every scene count: building the tension with lengthy tableaux, she uses day to day life as the backdrop for a complex and emotionally challenging exploration of mother- daughter relationships spanning four generations of women. A home, a refuge, a cage, a prison – what goes on inside this house is kept under lock and key.


A map for love

Dir. Constanza Fernandez, Chile, 2012, 81 min, colour. English subtitles.
Cast: Moro Andrea, Francisca Bernardi, Romano Kotto.

Roberta lives in Santiago with her young son and enjoys an intense relationship with Javiera, a free-spirited actress, philosopher, singer and erotic performer. Roberta’s life would be perfect if it were not for the fact that her conservative and domineering mother, Ana, does not really approve of her daughter’s life as a lesbian… and certainly does not approve of her relationship with Javiera.

In an optimistic attempt to remedy the situation, Roberta decides to invite the two women in her life to join her on a sailing trip. Trapped together in the confines of a tiny yacht with a Pacific storm raging around them, the three women are forced to confront their differences and try to work together to survive this calamitous, oestrogen-fuelled voyage.

With a cast of brilliantly delineated comic characters, a biting script and a dash of Latina flair, director Constanza Fernández entertainingly explores the struggles we go through to understand those we love and those who love us.


Adrift /A la deriva

Dir. Fernando Pacheco, Argentina, 2012, 65 min, colour. English subtitles.
Cast: Daniel Valenzuela, Juan Palomino, Julian Stefan, Mariana Medina, Monica Lairana.

Ramón lives a simple and serene life in the Argentinean countryside but faced with unemployment and family responsibilities he finds himself seduced by the promise of easy money that drug trafficking offers. Against a background of beautifully photographed landscapes a brooding drama emerges as Ramón attempts to navigate his own moral conflicts and, at the same time, maintain a troubled friendship with his partner in crime Antonio (a loose cannon who rapidly falls out of favour with their dealer bosses). A La Deriva raises stark issues of survival, family, masculinity and responsibility, played out in an atmosphere of uncertainty and lurking violence. The result is a compelling and subtly textured thriller.


Calloused hands

Dir. Jesse Quinones, UK / USA, 2013, 97 min, colour. English subtitles.
Cast: Andres Royo, Daisy Haggard, Indra Patel, Hans Howes, Luca Oriel, Sean McConaghy.

Bert dreams of being a baseball star, a millionaire, a success, a somebody. The reality is different: he is broke, insecure, addicted and his violent mood swings have a devastating impact on everyone around him. He tries to take twelve year old Josh, his partner’s son, under his wing, desperate to be the supportive and encouraging father figure he never had himself: but he only knows how to push Josh towards the goals he had hoped to achieve in his own life.

This oppressive and domineering character is brilliantly played by Andre Royo, who ably portrays the positive, as well as the powerfully negative, aspects of Bert’s personality, creating a fully rounded and convincing character and adding immense emotional weight to the unfolding story.

What could be a thoroughly depressing tale of violence, broken homes and shattered relationships, gradually transforms into a narrative of redemption, love, commitment and support. Uncomfortable, unsettling, sobering and, at times, genuinely uplifting, Calloused Hands is a masterpiece of emotive storytelling.


Grandmother mambo / Abuela mambo

Dir. Ihm Eun - hee, Mexico, 2012, 82 min, B /W ., English subtitles.
Cast: Virginia Carreon Quiroz, Diane Eowin Lopez Galindo, Lucia Maria Montalvo Nieto, Iveth Salome Galindo Robles, Emily Valdez Galindo.

Inspired by the debate about a new class of “Granny Slaves” the film examines the plight of a woman who, instead of enjoying a restful old age, is pushed into taking more and more responsibility for the upbringing of her grandchild. The remarkable aestheticism of the cinematography is a tool, which the director uses to convey, through allusion and metaphor, the hidden emotion beneath the surface of every scene. Stunning.


Garifuna in peril

Dir. Ali Allie and Ruben Reyes. Honduras / USA, 2012, 100 min, colour. English subtitles.
Cast: Aubrey Wakeling, Aldrin Enriquez, Josephinne Zelaya, Tiffany Edwards.

Ricardo struggles to protect his Afro-Amerindian culture and language (Garifuna) from the steady encroachment of the tourist trade. T old in Social Realist style, the film subtly explores the parallels between the iniquities of the British Colonial period and the modern day threat from globalised commerce.



Dir. Enrique Alvarez. Cuba, 2011, 95 min, colour. English subtitles.
Cast: Claudia Muñiz, Marianela Pupo, Mario Limonta, Carlos Enrique Almirante, Rosa Vasconcelos.

An evocative rendering of deeply Cuban themes, (city and country , male and female, age and youth) told through the unfolding love story between a girl returning to her Holguín home from Havana, and a young, local fisherman.



Dir. Rafael Escolar . Argentina, 2011, 84 min, colour. English subtitles.
Cast: Julio Pierangeli, Maria Elena Troncoso, Natalia Di Cienzo, Pablo tolosa.

Arandom encounter between Damian, a married lawyer undergoing a mid-life crisis, and Estela, a local transvestite prostitute, begins a strange relationship between two individuals who seem poles apart but have more in common than they know . Seeing the world through Estela’s eyes, Damian begins to look at things from a different point of view and will soon make a decision that will affect the rest of his life.



Dirs. Pablo Fernández, Alejandro Pi, Eduardo Piñero. Uruguay, 2011, colour. English subtitles.
Cast: Alberto Acosta, Camilo Parodi.

Montevideo, set amidst the vastness of land, ocean and river, is the scene of a bloody feud of Shakespearean proportions as two dynasties (one Jewish, one gentile) fight to preserve their honour and tradition. Reus, the district in which the drama plays out, is rich with the narrative and iconography of European émigrés, who long have thrived, clashed and coexisted there, so far from their original roots” perhaps with “European émigrés, who have long thrived, clashed and coexisted there, so far from their native homelands.


See you never / Hasta nunca

Dir. Mark Street. Uruguay / USA, 2012, 70 min, colour . English subtitles.
Cast: Rufo Martinez, Maiana Olazabal, Noemi Gonzalez, Rio Kim, Cesar Martinez, Luciano Coccia, Benjamin Silva, Enrique Gayo.

An extraordinary melding of vérité-style stories shot on the streets of Montevideo, strung around the central narrative of a popular radio DJ who is searching for meaning in his life. The harsh and evocative city is revealed through beautiful cinematography as the film pokes tentative fingers into some of the darker recesses of Uruguay’s past and present life.



Dir. Ramón Hamilton. USA / Mexico, 201 1, 80 min, colour. English subtitles.
Cast: Denisse Bon, Ramsess Letrado.

The harrowing story of 10-year-old Miguel’s illegal entry into the US is recounted in flashback as he is being interrogated for shoplifting. The suffering of Miguel (Ramsess Letrado) and his young mother (Denisse Bon) is portrayed in a hard-hitting, but never sentimental way.


Not so modern times / Tiempos menos modernos

Dir. Simón Franco. Argentina / Chile, 2011, 95 min, colour. English subtitles.
Cast: Oscar Payaguala, Nicolás Saavedra.
Awards: Pantalla Pinamar 201 1, INCAA, Winner of Balance de Oro Best Feature Film.

Payaguala, a Tehuelche shepherd, lives a solitary and contented life in the wilds of Patagonia, indifferent to the mining and tourist industries gradually encroaching upon his world: until a visitor helps him to set up a solar-powered television (a ‘gift’ from the government). With a wry, satirical glee, the film explores the devastating consequences as Payaguala’s peaceful existence is gradually corroded by this un-looked- for new arrival.