Archive for the ‘UK PREMIERE’ Category


August Evening

Friday 7th Nov 7:00pm Renoir
Sunday 9th Nov 4:00pm Renoir
Dir. Chris Eska, USA, 2007, 115 mins, colour
Cast: Pedro Castaneda, Veronica Loren, Jeremy Becerra, Amelia Castillo, Raquel Gavia
Awards: Best Film John Cassavetes Spirit Awards 2008; Best Feature Film, Target Award Los Angeles Film Festival; Best Film Maverick Award Woodstock Film Festival; Best Film Ashland Independent Film Festival; Best Cinematography Phoenix Film Festival; Best First Feature San Francisco International Latino Film Festival.

Pedro Castaneda plays Jaime, a Mexican farmer who, in his old age, is obliged to re-evaluate his past life and presen trelationships. He discovers that Lupe, his young widowed daughter-in-law, loves him more than his own daughters: nothing, it turns out, is as it seems. Against a background of the depopulation of the Mexican countryside, we see a touching and delicate portrait of ageing parents and their adult children unable to express either their love for, or disappointment with each other. Lupe and Jaime are forced to the conclusion that, however late in life, they need to make big changes and carve out their own place in the world. The emotional turmoil of the characters’ interior lives is reflected in the poetic use of landscape in this beautiful and evocative film.



Saturday 8th Nov 6:30pm Renoir
Dir. Ezio Massa, Argentina, 2008, 90 mins, colour
Cast: Julio Zarza, Fernando Roa, Jonathan Rodriguez, Adrian Spinelli, Diego Zampayo, Miguel Zarate, Floria Bloise

In this offbeat and engaging offering, when Argentina plays Nigeria, in the World Championship of 2002, three friends, battle all the odds in their bid to see the match, with mixed results! The film offers a telling portrait of life in the eponymous town and the struggles undergone by its citizens to lead a decent life with human values to the fore, in circumstances of economic depression which can, all too often, lead to alienation and bitterness. (Q&A with the director after the screening).


The 12 Labours/Os 12 Trabalhos

Wednesday 12th Nov 6:30pm Renoir
Dir. Ricardo Elias, Brazil, 2006, 112 mins, colour
Cast: Sidney Santiago, Flavio Bauraqui, Vera Mancini Vanessa Giacomo, Francisca Queiroz
Awards: Sidney Santiago Best Actor, Flavio Bauraqui Best Supporting Actor, Best Original Soundtrack, Best Screenplay, Ricardo Elias Best Director, PE Film Festival; Best Film Horizontes Award 54th San Sebastian Film Festival; Sidney Santiago Best Actor, Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival; Best Film Coral Award, Havana International Film Festival.

From award winner Ricardo Elias (San Sebastian, 2006) this is an intelligent and wry updating of Greek myth. Rookie deliveryman, Heracles, has to navigate the chaos of Sao Paulo to do all twelve of his deliveries in one day…or lose his job. This is a road movie par excellence offering a colourful portrait of the extreme characters and situations which Heracles encounters in the course of his ‘12 Labours’. A visually stunning and compelling narrative exposition of the agonies and ecstasies which comprise modern urban life in Brazil.


Dreaming in Blue/Fuera de Liga

Tuesday 11th Nov 6:30pm Renoir
Dir. Ian Padron, Cuba, 2008, 70 mins, colour
Awards: Best Film, New York Baseball Film Festival

This compelling documentary charts the fortunes of Cuba’s Industriales team, revealing the social and cultural schisms between its fans and its enemies, in a land where baseball is not a matter of life and death… it’s much more important!


I am Palestinian/Soy Palestino

Tuesday 11th Nov 6:30pm Renoir
Dir. Osama Qashoo, UK, 2008, 59 mins, colour

Another fine example of the new, investigative genre in Cuban filmmaking which reveals the discrimination suffered by those from the undeveloped Eastern region of Cuba (dismissively dubbed ‘Palestinians’ because of the poverty of their surroundings). Orientes provinces remain, to this day, a part of Cuba which is largely agricultural and prone to the vicissitudes of nature and the climate (as eloquently demonstrated by the recent hurricanes that ravaged the region). For this reason, the people often find themselves in the position of having to migrate to Havana and the industrialised West. Curiously, their stories are related by a filmmaker who is, himself, actually Palestinian: director Osama Qashoo will be available for Q& A after the screening.


Guitar Holiday

Monday 10th Nov 6:30pm Renoir
Saturday 15th Nov 4:00pm Cafe Crema
Dir. Dennis Conway, USA/Mexico, 2007, 45 mins, colour

The town of Paracho, Mexico, is built around the guitar – making industry. The vast majority of the 30.000 strong population earn their livelihoods from one or another aspect of the instrument’s manufacture or its employment in making music. Perhaps understandably, the arrival of the National Day of the Guitar is the trigger for an entire week of celebrations, in true Mexican style. During the festivities, Paracho, in the province of Michoacan becomes the centre of the guitar world as the best musicians arrive from all over Mexico to display their dazzling talent. A zestful and joyous slice of Latin musical culture, not to be missed by any music lover.


The Circle/El Circulo

Sunday 9th Nov 2:00pm Renoir
Dirs. José Pedro Charlo and Aldo Garay, Uruguay/Germany/Argentina/Chile, 2008, 90 mins, colour
Awards: Best Documentary, Best Direction, Best Script, Best Soundtrack, Bahia International Film Festival

In solitary confinement, each individual finds their own way to survive. Henry Engler, a hostage of the Uruguayan dictatorship who spent 13 tormented years in prision, found his own method of preserving his sense of himself, in the midst of unconscionable suffering. By controlling his thoughts, he managed to escape the physical pain, hunger and thirst and prevent the horror of the conditions from destroying his spirit. Through Henry, this documentary serves as a tribute to all the young Uruguayan leftists who, at that time, decided to make a stand and fight to change a society that they believed was unfair. It is also a stark warning over the ever-present threat of totalitarianism and the price paid by its victims whose lives, health and emotional well-being are ruined for ever.



Wednesday 12th Nov 6:30pm Renoir
Saturday 15th Nov 4:00pm Cafe Crema

From Mexico, this is the compelling tale of teenager Joaquin’s desperate bid to make it to Mexico City for his try-out as a professional footballer, despite the dangers of the journey from his native Oaxaca where the popular uprising is being harshly repressed. Set amidst the real events of 2006, the film makes a forceful statement about the dual iniquities of economic underdevelopment and political oppression suffered by the region.


On the Eve/La Vispera

Saturday 8th Nov 6:30pm Renoir
Saturday 15th Nov 4:00pm Cafe Crema
Dir. Ezequiel Juarez, Argentina, 2007, 15 mins, colour
Cast: Pablo Marti, Alejandro Accobino, Juan Cruz

After many years leading their separate lives in the big city, two old acquaintances, Oscar and Raul, hear of the death of their childhood friend El Gordo and return to the village of their birth for his memorial service. Back in the heart of the countryside, they are forced to readjust to the simpler, slower pace of life they had forgotten all about. As they reminisce, the harshness of their years in the city falls away in this gentle evocation of childhood.


Presidio Modelo

Sunday 9th Nov 2:00pm Renoir
Saturday 15th Nov 4:00pm Cafe Crema
Dir. Pablo Alvarez, Canada/Colombia, 2008, 15 mins, colour
Awards: Best Experimental Production, Montreal World Film Festival 2008

This is Pablo Alvarez’s striking account of the lives of men consigned to the ‘Panoptico’ prison, where Fidel Castro was incarcerated in 1953,(Cuba’s equivalent of Robben Island). Now a museum, it was built in the early 20th century to a design, by the British philosopher and academic Jeremy Bentham, which allowed one man to keep watch over thousands. Inexorably, during the decade of civil insurrection leading up to the revolution, it became, primarily, a political prison where hundreds were immured in some of the most brutal conditions imaginable. Using startling testimonies, this documentary pays tribute to the many prisoners consigned to a living death within its hellish walls.



Sunday 16th Nov 6:00pm Cafe Crema
Dirs. Ricardo Bacallao and Elvira Rodríguez Puerto, Cuba, 2002, 20 mins, colour

The Habana International Film Festival enters its 30th year this December, with the exhibition of more than a hundred films from 14 Latin American countries. 600.000 viewers, producers and film directors from all over the world and a terrific selection of the best Latin American productions of the year make this festival a unique event. “Mimesis” uncovers the unseen face of the festival, the events off-stage, the huge build up of excitement in the audience waiting for the screening, and the uproar amongst those who have not managed to secures a ticket and decide to hold a demonstration in the foyer!. Directors Ricardo Bacallao and Elvira Rodríguez Puerto reveal, through interviews with filmmakers, directors of other international film festivals and Hollywood producers, just how much the festival means for Cuba. The documentary includes archive images from the history of Cuba and everyday scenes of life in Havana interspersed with the interview material, and presents a funny and vivid portrait of cinema as a dynamic, popular cultural force as much as a form of entertainment.


Kill them all/Matar a todos

Monday 10th Nov 6:30pm Renoir
Cast: Roxana Blanco, Jorge Bolani, Cláudio Arredondo, Walter Reyno, Cesar Troncoso, Patricio Contreras, Dario Grandinetti, Maria Izquierdo, Juan Bonaudi, Guillermo Caraballo
Awards: Casa America-Catalunya Award for the Best script, XIV Mostra de Cine Latinoamericano in Lleida; Audience Award TV5 in FESTIVALISSIMO, Festival de Films Iberolatinoamericains, Montreal, Canadá; Audience Award, Biarritz Latin American Film Festival, Francia; Best Screenplay Pablo Vierci, Daniel Henríquez and Alejandra Marino, Best Female Actress, Roxana Blanco; Signis Award, Havana Film Festival; Best Actress, Roxana Blanco, Ourense Film Festival, Spain

Esteban Schroeder’s taut and nerve-shredding political thriller Kill Them All won the Audience Award at the Biarritz Film Festival. It also made the Official Section at San Sebastian Film Festival (a first for a Uruguayan film). Solicitor Julia Gudari is investigating the kidnapping, in Uruguay, of Eugenio Berrios a Chilean chemist accused of having collaborated with the Pinochet regime in the manufacture of chemical and biological weapons. As the investigation develops, the case starts to accrue unexpected and disturbing consequences, both professional and personal for Julia. It becomes apparent that her father and brother, both of whom are members of the Uruguayan military, are involved in the conspiracy that is trying to hide Berrios. The Condor Plan, the alliance created between the secret services of the Latin American dictatorships during the Cold War period, seems to be alive and kicking notwithstanding the inseption of democratic institutions across the continent. One of the Latin American Film Festival highlights, Kill Them All most be rated amongst the best made and hardest hitting Latin American films of recent years.


Our Disappeared

Saturday 7 Nov 4:00pm Riverside Studios
Dir. Juan Mandelbaum, USA, 2008, 99 mins, colour & B/W

Awards: The Phoenix: Outside the Frame Gerald Peary’s Top Ten Films of 2008, USA Cine Golden Eagle Awards, Washington, USA

Cast: Sabina Garciarena, Veronica Palaccini,
Lucas Crespi

Argentine documentary maker Juan Mandelbaum, returns from exile after he discovers that his former girlfriend was among the thousands murdered by the junta in the 1970’s. In a painfully personal exposé, he uncovers her story and that of a whole lost generation.


Little Havana/Pequena Habana

Sunday 16th Nov 6:00pm Cafe Crema
Dir. Rolando Pardo, Argentina/Cuba, 2007, 72 mins, colour

‘I was born lacking a couple of chromosomes, but it doesn’t matter. That is what made me’. Twelve Cuban’s with dwarfism talk to the camera about sex, love, work and dignity, comprising a realistic and revealing portrait of the city of Havana, as seen from a slightly different perspective than usual. The aim of the documentary, as director Rolando Pardo describes, is to reflect the reality of being a small person in Cuba, while trying to counter some of the prejudices they suffer. ‘I clearly wanted to show that they are not monsters, but normal people who live normal lives within a society that should respect them’. The interviewees range from a chiropodist who tries to bring his son up so that he can deal with the limitations his height might impose on him, to a mother who sleeps in her baby’s cot, to a family man who drives a taxi-bicycle to make a living. This is the optimistic, life-affirming story of twelve anonymous people who, over the course of 72 minutes, come to life as vivid, individual characters with amazing stories to tell.


Viva Mexico

Sunday 8 Nov 8:15pm Riverside Studios
Dir. Nicolas Defosee, Mexico, 2009, 120 mins,

Awards: Audience Award: Tepoztlan Film Festival, Mexico

A devastating indictment of globalisation which is marginalising the indigenous peoples of Mexico, their culture destroyed or commoditised by central government. Through this documentary, which profiles the many campaigns by organisations seeking to give a voice to the voiceless, the people cry out for peaceful resistance to the racism and poverty being imposed on them. Moving and revelatory viewing.


I am Happy

Tuesday 10 Nov 8:30pm Dulwich Paradiso Film Society

Sunday 8 Nov 4:15pm Riverside Studios
Dir. Soraya Umewaka, Brazil/USA, 2008, 66 mins, colour

Far from being just another example of ‘poverty porn’, this beautiful documentary reveals the vivacious culture of Rio’s slum communities in the face of the prejudice and deprivation suffered by the poor. A positive representation of the decent and hardworking folk of the favelas, and a joyous celebration of the power of human creativity.