Films

Jump to FILMS, DOCUMENTARIES or SHORTS

Anti-Argentine Campaign / Campana Antiargentina

Dir. Alejandro Parysow, Argentina, 2016, 104 min. colour, English subtitles.
Cast: Juan Gil Navarro, Valeria Correa, Paco Gorriz, Pablo Chao, Carlos Rivkin, Daniel Melingo

Leo J., a vapid, but immensely popular actor and singer, finds his champagne lifestyle interrupted when he inherits an old house. Searching through the dank and dilapidated ruins, he begins to uncover evidence of a sinister ‘Anti-Argentina Campaign’ that has dogged his own family, and the nation, over generations. Through a brilliantly balanced mix of slapstick, character comedy and political satire, the film critiques the notion of, ‘Campana Antiargentina’, which has been regularly resurrected ever since the era of the ‘Dirty War’, often to cover a multitude of sins. Yet, as we watch Leo J’s life descend into fear and obsession, we need to ask ourselves, ‘could it be true?’ As the Old Man of the Mountains put it ‘just because you’re paranoid, it doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you’. Hilarious, queasy, unmissable.

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.

Jump to FILMS, DOCUMENTARIES or SHORTS

Rumba Calling / La Rumba Me Llama

Dir. Oliver Hill, Cuba / Jamaica, 2015, 48 min. colour. English subtitles.

Joyous, sexy Rumba, is the bedrock of all Cuban music. In this witty, lively short, leading lights of contemporary forms (Son, Timba, Jazz, Hip Hop), pay homage to Rumba for the role it has playing in shaping Cuban identity, and rooting it in an ancient ancestral heritage.

Limpiadores

Dir. Fernando Gonzalez Mitjans, UK, 2016, 39 min. colour. English subtitles.

Short documentary with an acute reminder of the human cost of the globalised labour market. We follow exploited Latin American cleaners as they work, before dawn, to prepare London universities for the day ahead.

Marina

Dir. Haliam Perez Fernandez, Spain, 2015, 69 min. colour. English subtitles.

Caridad Marina Pérez was born in 1926, one month before Fidel Castro. She is at the beating heart of this deeply personal documentary, which looks at contemporary Cuba through the eyes of an expatriate returning after thirteen years. How much is left of the revolutionary utopia that was held out to her and her extended family, as the reward for so many decades of hardship, toil and deracination? Yet, Marina persists, tackling every new challenge with patience and optimism: the very soul of Cuba.

Umaturka, The Call Of The Water / El Llamado Del Agua

Dir. Giovanna Miralles, Bolivia, 2016, 48 min. colour. English subtitles.

In the Bolivian Andes an isolated, indigenous community trusts more in its traditional cloud-calling ceremony than in any help from the 21st century (perhaps rightly so). Against the stark, lyrical backdrop of the desert, this documentary records what could well be the last enactment of an age-old ritual. I hope it rains for them…

Maestra

Dir. Catherine Murphy, USA, 2012, 33 min. colour & b/w, English subtitles.

In 1961, more than 250,000 Cubans joined the National Literacy Campaign and taught more than 700,000 of their compatriots to read and write. Almost half of these volunteer teachers were under 18. More than half were women. Narrated by Pulitzer Prize winning author Alice Walker, ‘Maestra’ explores the experiences of nine of the women who, as young girls, helped eradicate illiteracy from Cuba in a single year. Interweaving interviews, archive footage and campaign photos, this lively documentary, features one of the first Cubans of her generation to call herself a feminist and one of the first open and proud members of Cuba’s LGBT community. These pioneers recount their struggle for autonomy and independence in a culture still bound by patriarchal structures. Eight years in the making, ‘Maestra’ celebrates the will and courage that made this monumental endeavour possible, and the pivotal role played by women and the young in building a new society.

Jump to FILMS, DOCUMENTARIES or SHORTS

Good Hair, Bad Hair / Pelo Bueno, Pelo Malo

Dir. Sarah Akrobettoe, UK, 2016, 10 min. colour, English subtitles.

A colonial past, massive cultural diversity and rampant individualism are all reflected in Cuban’s attitudes to their hairstyles, as demonstrated in this lively, light-hearted documentary short.

Underwater / Bajo El Agua

Dir. Sebastian Benalcazar Vega, Ecuador, 2016, 10 min. colour, English subtitles.

Abel, a physiotherapist with issues, goes into emotional meltdown after discovering his girlfriend has cheated on him. Throwing himself into his work, he finds redemption in the form of his patient, Jorge, an acerbic old man who helps him get his life back on track.

Clubman 13.03.13

Dirs. Lucia Castellano & Ines Mongil, Puerto Rico, 2016, 18 min. colour & B/W, English subtitles

Mr. Antonio Navedo arrives bright and early for work at the shop on Ponce de Leon Avenue, Santurce, Puerto Rico. He has arrived bright and early every single day… since 1951. (Yes, you read that right)!

Winner of Best Documentary at the Festival de Cine Latinoamericano de Rosario 2016.

Tierra Caliente

Dir. Alvaro D. Ruiz, Colombia, 2015, 22 min. colour, English subtitles.

The Tierra Caliente (Hot Lands) of Colombia, is the region sought out by city folks in search of summer sun. It is known as a place of freedom and licence, where the people go to experience new things and…  get hot. As the mercury starts to shoot up the thermometer, a weekend in the Tierra Caliente turns into a life changing event for Veronica, Lucia and their boyfriends.

Happy Widow / Viuva Alegre

Dir. Jose Antonio Pereira, Brazil, 2016, 12 min. colour, English subtitles.

Has she found a new husband, already? Or did she never become a widow, after all? Why Sofia is quite so happy?

I Still Bleed Inside / Ainda Sangro Por Dentro

Dir. Carlos Segundo, Brazil, 2016, 24 min. colour, English subtitles.

Sometimes, the pain inside that no one can see, is the worst agony of all.

The Package / O Pacote

Dir. Rafael Aidar, Brazil, 2012, 18 min. colour, English subtitles.

Starting at a new school, Leandro and Jefferson form an instant attachment and soon realise that theirs is no ordinary friendship; but there is one unavoidable truth Leandro needs to learn about Jeff, if they are going to stay together… something that is all part of the package.

Sonata For A Calendar / Sonata Para Un Calendario

Dir. Carmen Rosa Vargas, Peru, 2016, 19 min. B/W. English subtitles.

Stylish, mordantly funny short, without dialogue, in which a middle age accountant enacts the central purpose of his life, against a backdrop of existential monochrome.

Submarine / Submarino

Dir. Rafael Aidar, Brazil, 2014, 20 min. colour, English subtitles.

Eighty five year old Olavo has lived alone for two long years, immersed in grief for the loss of his partner. In search of human contact, he ventures into the online world, only to become immersed in a fantasy world, somewhere between the internet’s public and private spaces.

Helen’s Images / Las Imagenes De Helena

Dir. Andrea Santamaria, Argentina / UK, 2016, 14 min. colour. English subtitles.

A highly imaginative treatment of feminist themes, involving body images, secret sorrows and thwarted hopes. The story of a forsaken women flows between two historical periods, the 1890s and the 1970s. The film conjures up a picture of the contrasts, and similarities, in the roles afforded to women in these different  eras.