20th LLAFF 2010


Chico and Rita (Animated Feature)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010 at 7:00pm
Bolivar Hall.
Dir. Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal, Spain / Cuba 2010, 94 min, colour & b/w
Cast: Rita: Limara Meneses, Chico: Emar Xor Oña, Ramon: Mario Guerra

An unmissable treat: a sumptuous animated feature with an original soundtrack by the legendary Cuban bandleader and composer Bebo Valdés. The story follows the tempestuous love affair between Chico, a talented piano player, and gorgeous, honey-voiced chanteuse Rita, as they pursue each other from the steamy nightclubs of pre-revolutionary Havana, through the Mambo and Jazz haunts of Harlem, to the glamorous world of Forties Hollywood and, finally, to a seedy motel in Las Vegas. The artwork, directed by the brilliant Valencian artist Javier Mariscal, displays the beautiful detail of line and tonality of a top graphic novel, punctuated by stunning chiaroscuro compositions animated to swing along to a soundtrack, which evokes a unique moment in American music. Maestro Valdés effortlessly evokes the New York heyday of greats such as Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente and Chano Pozo.A visual and musical feast, topped off with an epic love story that spans half a century. What more could you ask for?


Riverside Studios Friday 19- 8.30 pm
Dir. Teresa Costantini, Argentina, 2009, 128 min, colour
Cast: Antonella Costa, Sabrina Garciarena, Ana Celentano, Gonzalo Heredia.

Based on the real life of Felicitas Guerrero, Teresa Costantini’s luminous historical extravaganza brings to the screen the real life tragedy of Felicitas and thEnrique, young lovers torn apart by class, wealth and war in 19 Century Buenos Aires . At the age of fifteen, Felicitas is engaged by her father to the wealthiest man in Argentina (who is forty years her senior), regardless of the fact that her heart already belongs to another. Just as beautiful and modulated as it is moving.

Two Times Ana / Dos veces Ana

Dir. Sergio Giral, USA, 2010, 105 min, colour
Cast: Elvira Valdes, Michelle Fragoso, Yvonne Lopez Arenal, Yesleer de la Cruz, Isabel Moreno, Lili Renteria.

The story of two mixed race women who inhabit very different worlds that, somehow, seem to run parallel and overlap. One is a cashier at a market in Miami ‘s Little Havana. The other Ana is an actress who plays an African slave in a TV soap opera and is on the road to Hollywood . The two Ana’s live in parallel realities, (or perhaps one Ana’s reality is the other’s illusion). Fantasy, reality, success and deception blend in a brilliant comic drama that bends racial and social boundaries and where nothing is as it seems

The Annunciation / La Anunciación

Dir. Enrique Pineda Barnet, Cuba, 2009, 97 min, colour
Cast: Veronica Lynn, Broselianda Hernandez, Hector Noa, Ismael de Diego, Roberto Diaz.

Pineda Barnet is the multiple award winning director of La Bella del Alhambra, (Oscar nominated, and one of the most important Cuban films of recent years). His latest feature, set in Havana , is an overwhelmingly powerful evocation of a Cuban family’s tumultuous history, centring around the reading of a will by widowed, spiritualist matriarch Amalia. It is a brilliant and visceral cinematic study of inter-generational turmoil as the family members fall victim to the tyranny of memory, tortured by the turmoil which marked their past lives.


Dir. Magdiel Aspillaga, USA, 2010, 84 min, colour
Cast: Maria Isabel Diaz, Jorge Luis Alvares, Ramon Veloz, Danny Jacomino, Ibetti Larralde.

A woman beset by strange visions; a scriptwriter tormented by his past and a constant nagging tooth… a divorcing couple who decide to sell their most treasured possession: their bed… a pornographic voice-over artist, grieving for the loss of his only son… a pregnant woman, rejected by her lover, who wanders into a dangerous neighbourhood. These strangers share a deep sense of loneliness that mysteriously links their lives in a converging chain of events.

Sumptuous, neon, neo-Noir feature in which a disparate cast of characters are drawn together from their own isolation by forces at work within the stormy night time of the city. Brilliant cinematography and direction make this an unnerving visual treat.

City in Red

Dir. Rebeca Chavez, Cuba, 2009, 100 min, colour
Cast: Rafael Ernesto Hernandez, Eman, Xor Ona, Yori Gomez, Carlos Enrique Almirante, Mario Guerra.

Beautifully realised, “City in Red” perfectly evokes the look and atmosphere of Cuba in the late 1950′s and, especially, the fight for freedom by the people of Santiago de Cuba and the price they had to pay for victory. Springing crisply from the pages of Jose Soler Puig’s novel “Bertillon 166”, the film explores the cost in young lives and the permanent psychological and emotional scars left on ordinary people who are forced to take up arms. It eloquently explores the struggle to return to equanimity and a sense of self worth after one has stepped over the line to become a killer; a struggle that many Cubans live with to this day. A highlight of the Festival.

Syncronicity / Sincronia

Dir. Jorge Ivan Morales, Mexico, 2009, 83 min, colour
Cast: Marisol Centeno, Luis Gerardo Mendez, Mario Heras, Marifer Malo (Fuzz ), Hugo Catalan.

Sandra and Arturo, two of the most charming screen lovers you’ll ever meet, live in the same building in Mexico City. We can see they are made for each other but, for months now, neither has made the move towards becoming more than just friends. Just when Sandra’s plan to open a shop is coming to fruition, actor Arturo lands a job abroad and the cat is suddenly among the pigeons. How do you balance a life-changing opportunity against the possibility that you have found your soul mate? Can you even bring yourself to tell them how you feel? The age-old dilemmas of young love are brought to the screen in a film of enormous warmth and wit.

Memories of Overdevelopment / Memorias del Desarrollo

Dir: Miguel Coyula, Cuba/USA, 2010, 114 min, colour
Cast: Eileen Alana, Trent Harris, Susana Perez, Paul De Sousa.
Awards: Best Film; Havana International Film Festival, Cuba. Honourable Mention-Narrative Feature, Cine Las Americas International Film Festival. New York, USA.

The sequel to Cuban literary and cinematic classic “Memories of Underdevelopment”, Coyula’s towering, brooding masterpiece is filled with challenging, open and thought-provoking imagery as it tussles with themes of stcynicism and exhaustion (both personal and cultural) in the 21. Century.


Dir. Piero Mancini, Chile, 2007, colour, 65 min, colourCast: Cristian Hidalgo, Irene Medina, Mario Poblete.

Piero and Andres Mancini’s offbeat and atmospheric feature has become a big hit on the underground scene. Through a series of random happenings, Tomas is thrown together with Lisa and, at her bidding, they set off together across country to Curanipe and the (then) still pristine Pacific coastline which marks the end of continent and the start of the vast blue emptiness of the ocean. He does not know why they are travelling: she, perhaps, does: but it proves to be as much a passage through time as through space, a journey redolent with the memory of Chile’s recent past.


Dirs. Alfredo Pourailly and Piero Mancini, Chile, 2008, 67 min, colour
Cast: Julio Ruiz-Tagle, Nicolas Toledo, Manuela Mignot, Alberto Hayden.

An existential road movie in which Julio, a young man, parts from his girlfriend to embark on a mysterious pilgrimage through the desolate Coquimbo Region of Chile. His guide is the total stranger who has given him a ride: the only one that can get him closer to the place he needs to find: and as they go deeper, the paths and history of the two men begin to converge. A mysterious and exciting mélange of desert sun, solitude, night roads filled with American electronica and Chilean rock and gas stations under the heat of an inclement sky.

April 31/ 31 de Abril

Dir. Victor Cubillos, Chile, 2010, 91 min, colour
Cast: Manuel Cubillos, Vera Puelma, Claudio Rath, Carolina Fernandez, Leonardo Cubillos, Tomas Cubillos, Jose Campos
Awards: Audience Award. SANFIC Festival, Chile.

A fiendishly clever cinematic fugue, skipping a light-footed dance around the conventions of both documentary and drama. Seemingly, it is the story of a young filmmaker who tries to deal with the death of his older brother by making a film about the reactions of his family and friends. Inspired by his own home movies from his adolescent years, Víctor Cubillos weaves a narrative which pays close attention and an open mind as you are led into territory where you may no longer be able to tell what’s up and what’s down!Cubillos is a Chilean journalist who studied film in Berlin . “April 31st” is his first feature.

Crossing / Cruzando

Dir. Michael Ray Escamilla & Mando Alvarado, Mexico / USA, 2009, 94 min, colour
Cast: David Barrera, Gerardo Rodriguez, Janis Dardaris, Liza Rodriguez, Mando Alvarado, Maria Lopez, Michael Ray Escamilla.
Awards: Best Narrative, Reel Visions, Reel Rasquache Film Festival, USA. Grand Jury Award, Best Actor-Michael Ray Escamilla, San Antonio Film Festival, USA. Silver Palm Award, Mexico International Film Festival, Mexico. Best Foreign Film: Seattle True Independent Film Festival, USA. Best Narrative: Athens International Film Festival, Greece.

This clever, funny and atmospheric feature is set in La Valle, on the Mexico / US border. It depicts a delicately shaded rites of passage and a deeply moving exploration of the relationship between place and personal identity. In this treatise on the paradoxes of exile and belonging a young man, Manuel, heads for the USA. However, his reasons are not stereotypical, he is seeking his estranged father, and his friend, Diego, comes along to video the journey. With its cool, knowing soundtrack and brilliant cinematography, “Cruzando” avoids all the usual clichés and presents a heartfelt account of a personal quest.

The Forest / El Bosque

Dirs. Pablo Siciliano and Eugenio Lasserre, Argentina, 2008, 100 min, colourCast: Paula Brasca, Martin Markotic, Oscar Perez.
Awards: Best Feature Film, Best Director, Best Overall Production, Best Actor-Oscar Perez. Saladillo Film Festival.
Superb cinematography and sound design combine to create a deeplydisturbing viewing experience in this dark and eerie film following amodern day Hansel and Gretel marooned in the wild forest of northernArgentina and prey to sinister, ancient forces. On another level, here isa wry reflection on the deeply Argentinean division and misunderstandingbetween city and country.

The Belle of the Alhambra / La Bella del Alhambra

Dir. Enrique Pineda Barnet, Cuba, 1989, 108 min, colour
Cast: Beatriz Valdes, Omar Valdes, Cesar Evora, Carlos Cruz, Veronica Lynn, Ramon Veloz, Isabel Moreno, Miguel Navarro.
Awards: Best Production Design; Havana International Film Festival, Cuba.

A young and beautiful woman exploits others and allows herself to be exploited in her single-minded determination to become a singer at the Alhambra, Cuba’s most notorious cabaret. Set in the 1920s, when being a cabaret star is synonymous with prostitution, Rachel is well aware that she is expected to entertain influential men with more than her stage performance. Combining the boldness of her satirical revues with the limits of the period’s social and political machinations, The Belle of the Alhambra is a fascinating portrait of women cabaret performers of the time.


Altiplano is built upon moments of trauma and loss but is, fundamentally, an expression of faith in the possibility of redemption and mutual understanding for mankind. The main protagonist, Grace, is a war photographer who has lost her soul in Baghdad. She suffers further grief at the loss of her husband. She is forced to evaluate her perception of reality, her obligations of conscience, her relationship to the image and her sense of worth. In Peru, Saturnina sacrifices her body in protest against corrupt outsiders. Saturnina’s spirit and Grace’s body eventually merge, in a sense, by infusing one another with purpose and power.

Impulse / Impulso

Dir: Mateo Herrera, Ecuador, 2009, 84 min, colour
Cast: Cecilia Vallego, Carlos Racines, Erica Granda, Tamara Navas, Enrique Acosta, Rosita Sanchez de Romero, Lady Estrella.
Awards: Best Film, Toulouse International Film Festival, France. Best Post-production, Best Direction, Cuenca Film Festival, Ecuador. Best Production, Latin American Film Festival, Quito, Ecuador.

Running from her busy city life, Jessica encounters dark family secrets amidst her country cousins in this compulsive Ecuadorion thriller.


The Burn / La Quemadura

Dir: Rene Ballesteros, Chile / France, 2010, 65 min, colour

Through intense imagery and a taut soundtrack, Rene Ballesteros tells the story of his own disrupted childhood, abandoned by his mother whose disembodied voice on the phone is the structuring absence at the heart of the film. Powerful human drama.

The Crab, the Crocodile and Love in Cuba

Dir: Sylvie Collier, Cuba/UK, 2009, 55 min, colour

Documentary about an exuberant Cuban community with world famous ceramics artist, Fuster, at its centre. His great, vivid, Gaudiesque artworks form the visual core of this delightful and inspiring film, encapsulating all the colour and vigour of Cuban society today.

Chasing Che

Dir: Alireza Rofougaran, Iran, 2010, 78 min, colour

Fascinated by the legend of Che Guevara, Iranian businessman Alireza Rofougaran spent four years in Latin America following Che’s footsteps, armed with a handicam. What results is a highly entertaining, true one-off documentary examining an extraordinary and profound cultural cross-fertilisation.

Hail Mary / Ave Maria

Dir: Gustavo Perez, Cuba/Portugal, 2009, 54 min, colour
Awards: Sara Gomez Award; Havana International Film Festival

A community near Santiago de Cuba, built around a now defunct copper mine, today makes a living from pilgrims to the nearby shrine to the Madonna. The paradox of materialism versus spirituality is explored in this beautiful and sensitive documentary.

Maria in No Man’s Land / Maria en Tierra de Nadie

Dir: Marcela Zamora, Mexico, 2010, 98 min, colour

A gripping, terrifying documentary following three women from Central America trying to cross Mexico in their desperation to reach the USA, forced to travel illegally, prey to paramilitary gangsters who systematically rob, rape and kill the poor migrants with impunity.

My Kidnapper

Dir: Mark Henderson and Kate Horne, UK, Colombia, Germany, 2010, 83 min, colour
Awards: Best Director, Ourense International Film Festival. Portugal.

After being held hostage by guerrillas in Colombia, Mark Henderson began a remarkable five year email correspondence with one of his former captors. This compelling film documents his return to Colombia, an in attempt to make sense of his ordeal.


Dir: Mayckell Pedrero Mariol, Cuba, 2010, 50 min, colour

Expect a high octane feast of music and imagery in this powerful documentary on hip-hop group Los Aldeanos whose angry, acidic lyrics have got the Cuban authorities worried. The film was only screened once in Havana: journalists and bloggers were banned!

Rio Breaks

Dir: Justin Mitchell and Vince Medeiros, Brazil, 2009, 90 min, colour

There’s a new twist on Rio in this fascinating documentary about the surfer community of Arpoador Beach, where two young boys come to catch big waves, escape the poverty of their favela homes and (just maybe) make the big time.

The Day Brazil Was Here

Dirs: Caito Ortiz and Joao Dornelas, Haiti / Brazil, 2005, 72 min, colour

Before the earthquake, a match between the Brazilian and Haitian national teams is organised. Haiti’s obsession with Brazilian football creates a euphoria which helps the people forget, for a while, the poverty, hunger and civil unrest which surrounds them.

Memories of my Soul / De mi Alma Recuerdos

Dir: Lourdes de los Santos, Cuba, 2001, 55 min, colour & b/w

Lively documentary examining the roots of the radical “Nueva Trova” music movement of Cuba in the 60′s and 70′s, told through contemporary archive and interviews with artists who were there at the outset.


Dir. Marcel Gonnet, Argentina, 2010, 76 min, colour

This film is about Claudia Sobrero, who has spent more time in prison than any other in Argentina . She was convicted in 1984 of being involved in the killing Lino Palacio, a well known Argentine artist (who is also the grandfather of one of her children) and his wife. The film focuses on the penitentiary system in general and the re-integration of ex-convicts into society.

South of the Border

Dir. Oliver Stone, USA, 2010, 100 min, colour

If you haven’t seen ‘South of the Border’ it’s a must, and if you have seen it I’m sure you’ll want to see it again: There’s a revolution underway in South America, but most of the world doesn’t know it. Oliver Stone sets out on a road trip across five countries to explore the social and political movements as well as the mainstream media’s misperception of South America while interviewing seven of its elected presidents. In casual conversations with Presidents Hugo Chávez (Venezuela), Evo Morales (Bolivia), Lula da Silva (Brazil), Cristina Kirchner (Argentina), as well as her husband and ex-President Nëstor Kirchner, Fernando Lugo (Paraguay), Rafael Correa (Ecuador), and Raúl Castro (Cuba), Stone gains unprecedented access and sheds new light on the exciting transformations in the region.

Followed by Q&A with Dr Francisco Dominguez

The Voice of the Mapuche / La Voz Mapuche.

Dir: Pablo Fernández and Andrea Henríquez, 113 min, Argentina/Chile 2009, colour

Awards: Best Environmental Film; Bogota International Film Festival, Colombia.

The Mapuche people now live on less than 2% of their orginal land as the legal, political and military structures of Chile and Argentina persist in favouring the interests of big business. However, the Mapuche remain focused on maintaining their identity as a people, in spite of systematic repression from the Chilean regime. This impressive documentary takes the viewer across the rivers, lakes, forests and mountains of Mapuche land. It registers the words and wisdom of Mapuche women, men, children and elders and through music, paintings, poetry and rituals presents the Mapuche vision of the world.

Requecho, A Thousand Years Later

Dir. Humberto Saco, Peru, 2009, 50 min, colour

In Requecho. A thousand years later, Humberto Saco tells us the story of Los Uros, the pre-Inca people who for centuries have been living on the floating islands over lake Titicaca between Peru and Bolivia and who are nearly about to disappear. María is a centenary woman and the oldest settler of the community, who lives isolated from the coast and surrounded by the cold waters of the lake and flourishing landscape of totora reeds. She represents the part of the Uros that refuses contact with outsiders and prefers living with the customs of its ancient heritage. Maria’s relatives instead have become part of those who have settled closer to the coast, established contact with the tourists and generally are more comfortable adapting to the outside world. Both are engaged in a bitter fight against the Peruvian State which doesn’t recognize them as owners of their land. The sound of the oar moving the water blends with the impressive images of the landscape and the bright colours of the Uros’ fabrics and crafts. The portrayal of religious syncretism and people’s spiritual relationship with nature brings up the issue of identity and the importance of its preservation.

El Puesto / The Post

Dir. Aurelien Leveque, France, 2009, 74 min, colour

Marin lives alone in a hut in the wide expanse of Argentina’s heartland plateau. A few visitors sometimes break the solitude of this gruelling life. A meeting with a foal gives a human dimension to this wild tale. A western without bullets or fisticuffs.


Vainilla Chip

Dir: Erik Knudsen, Cuba, 2009, 17 min, colour

A poignant and intimate portrait of life in contemporary Cuba. The film follows Javier Casanova, ice cream maker, through a day of silent toil permeated with the loneliness he feels since the death of his wife.

The River / El Rio

Dir: Adrian Saba, Peru, 2009, 7.5 min, colour

An exquisite piece of cinema encapsulating the conflicting emotions evoked by the end of an affair, and leading to the most painful of conclusions.

The Second Choice

Dir: Alberto Belli, USA, 2009, 8 min, colour
Cast: Brenda Canela, Oscar Blanco.

Ana is trying to raise her son in the right way, but the life of a poor immigrant is often unforgiving. A touching and poignant short drama.

Little Wings / Alitas

Dir: Gabriela Palacios, Mexico, 2009, 12 min, colour

A touching short drama portraying the tenderness lavished on two young motherless girls by a community in small town Mexico, in contrast to the harshness of the work they have to do to survive.

The Bridge

Dir: Nicolás Ureta, UK, 2008, 25 min, colour
Cast: Tiago Correa, Manuela Martelli, Michael Lindall, Phil Snowden.

This thought-provoking film deals with the obstacles faced by Latin American immigrants coming to the UK to make successful careers. Despite the apparent cosmopolitan appeal of London, life is tough for those at the bottom.

La Chirola

Friday 26 November 6 pm
Dir. Diego Mondaca, Bolivia, 2008, 26 min, colour

This is an outstanding reflection on the value of freedom and the human condition, presented through the captivating character of ‘Pedro’ on his release from prison in Bolivia.With Pedro’s monologues as a vehicle, the infinite possibilities of life in LA CHIROLA are presented. We are given a unique insight into his memories of prison and into his perceptions on his own life and humanity in general. Beyond freedom or the lack of freedom, the underlying theme of the documentary is the loss of innocence and the rediscovery of tenderness and affection, which for Pedro comes from the relationship and hence responsibility that emerge with his love for his dog.