22nd LLAFF 2012

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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.

Marina

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.

Uomo

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.

Reus

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.

Smuggled

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.

In the city of fury / En la ciudad de la furia

Dir. Marcelino Calzada. Mexico, 2012, 93 min, colour . English subtitles.
Cast: Mauricio Atri, Jorge Mendoza, Guido Smulevich, Aserette Iturriaga.

Merciless hit man Max needs help in uploading his “terror videos” (footage of murders, posted on YouT ube to intimidate rival drug gangs). Unsuspecting wedding video-maker , Rafael, ends up teaching Max a lesson in compassion and forgiveness.

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And the river flows on

Dir. Carlos Perez Rojas, Mexico, 2010,70min, colour . English subtitles.

This is the inspiring story of a long fight by peasant farmers, south of Acapulco, to prevent the Mexican government building a hydroelectric dam that would flood their lands. The campesinos, themselves, show us their lives, work and love for the land.

Dreaming Nicaragua

Dir: Marcelo Bukin. Nicaragua / USA, 2009, 60 min, colour. English subtitles.

Jafet, an art teacher, visits the most cruelly deprived communities in Nicaragua, inviting the children to express their dreams through their drawings. The documentary focuses on four of these children who, in the face poverty and illiteracy, still look to the future with laughter and with hope.

Cocaine unwrapped

Dir: Rachel Seifert. UK / Bolivia / Colombia / Ecuador / Mexico/ USA, 2011, 83 min, colour. English subtitles.

The ultimate example of unregulated, amoral, globalised commodity trading? The sheer human cost inflicted by the cocaine business, the charade of the US “War on Drugs”, and the ignorance of the average Western end user are all spelled out compellingly as the documentary follows the trail of blood from the producer countries, through Mexico, the S tates and the UK.

Daughter / Hija

Dir: María Paz González. Chile, 85 min, colour. English subtitles.

Director María Paz Gonzáles embarks on a thousand mile road trip across Chile, in the course of which she, and her mother try to piece together the truth about both their pasts from the fragments of fantasy and obfuscation they have always accepted as their real history . María wants to find her biological father, her mother hopes to be reunited with her sister. An assured piece of drama- documentary making, involving and beautiful.

With Fidel whatever happens

Dir. Goran Radovanovic. Cuba/Serbia, 201 1, 47 min, colour. English subtitles.

Three stories from the Sierra Maestra unravel on the day of the 52nd anniversary of the Cuban revolution. With no interviews or voice-overs, the image speaks eloquently for itself as scenes of celebration on TV contrast starkly with the experiences of the local people.

To dance like a man: triplets in Havana

Dir. Sylvie Collier . Cuba/UK, 201 1, 58 min, colour. English subtitles.

The astonishing, new rising stars of the Cuban National Ballet School are identical 11-year-old triplets, Angel, Cesar and Marco, who are almost indistinguishable in their talent, as well as their appearance. This is an unmissable documentary insight into the children’s own response to the rigorous discipline demanded of them, as well as a rumination on the amazing success story of Cuban ballet.

Behind the hills / Detras de las colinas

Dir: Samanta Yépez. Colombia / France, 2012, 42 min, colour. English subtitles.

Under President Alvaro Uribe Velez, the Colombian government offered soldiers a bounty for every guerrilla fighter they killed. Most of the bodies presented for payment turned out to be those of innocent peasants (known, euphemistically , as “Falsos Positivos”). The enormity of these crimes is revealed through testimonies from the families of the victims, whose murders remain unpunished.

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Inside the solar / Dentro del solar

Dir. Maria Elisa Perez and Duniesky Canton Fernandez, Cuba / USA, 201 1, 5 min, colour. English subtitles.

The sequel to the original film “Solar 11”, “Dentro del Solar” revisits the inhabitants of Solar 11: the decaying Havana tenement block, capturing their reactions and responses to the screening of “Solar 11”. Despite the poverty and many difficulties that surround them, the solidarity , love and friendship that lies within each individual, family and the Solar 11 community as a whole, centres this tender and insightful documentary .

Solar 11

Dir. Maria Elisa Perez and Duniesky Canton Fernandez, Cuba / USA, 201 1, 5 min, colour. English subtitles.

The public housing block Solar 11 has gained a reputation around Havana not only because of its precarious state of decay , but also because of its history and the colourful community that lives within its crumbling walls. This documentary penetrates deep into the heart of this neighbourhood; sensitively exploring the joys, ills, and relationships that characterise these peoples lives.

Telenovela: Colombia’s daily fix

Dir. Rebecca Radmore. UK, 2012, 5 min, colour and B/W. English subtitles.

Among Colombia’s (perhaps dubious) exports, the Telenovela (the best known of which, in this country , is “Ugly Betty”) stands out as a special area of expertise. This small gem of a film provides a snapshot of a nation obsessed with the escapist worlds offered up by the Colombian entertainment industry .

La Mirada perdida

Dir. Damian Dionisio. Argentina, 2012, 11 min, colour. English subtitles.

A darkly compelling portrait of a family in hiding from the murderous military repression in 1970s Argentina. About to be discovered, they can take shelter only in fantasy.

The Cable

Dir. Jesse Quinones. Cuba / USA / Ireland. 2012,12 min, colour. English subtitles.
Awards: Audience Choice Award at Walthamstow Short Film Club.

A fascinating short documentary about a cable, strung across the width of a mountain valley, which is the only route possible for two children as they travel from their home to the outside world.

My name is Haiti

Dirs. Mar Dominguez and Amparo Mendo. Spain / Haiti, 2012, 28 min, colour. English subtitles.
Awards: Best Foreign Short Drama Film, The Indie Gathering, USA; Best Short Film at Port 7, Portugal. Special Jury Mention, One Shot International Short Film Festival, Armenia. Special Jury Mention, The People's Film Festival, USA. Special Jury Mention, MARFICI, Argentina. Best Short Film, Jornadas de Cine Independiente Buenos Aires, Argentina. Special Jury Mention, West Viriginia Mountaineer Short Film Festival, USA. SICA Award For Its Social Values, Argentina. Best Short Film, FICIP , Argentina. Best Short Film, The Short of the Year, Spain. Third Place to the best Short Film, Georges Melies, Argentina.

With the unaffected optimism of youth, Haitian children take control of the camera to show us their lives, first hand; sharing the joys and preoccupations of kids from anywhere in the world.

The Other side / Del otro lado

Dir. Yanillys Perez. Dominican Republic / France, 201 1, 14 min, colour. English subtitles.

Far from dreaming of a rich future in the States, Miguel, a young Dominican, only yearns to build a simple life with his childhood love, Laura: but he has her domineering grandmother to contend with. When the old woman discovers the relationship, Laura is pressured by her family , and her life changes forever.

Siesta

Dir. Kate Hartnoll. Cuba, 201 1, 12 min, colour. English subtitles.

Raimundo, an old man living alone in an over-crowded Havana apartment block, is only too happy to look after his neighbour’s baby for the afternoon. But as time passes and the mother does not return, an unexpected visit forces him to reconsider his position and threatens to destabilise his world.

The Homework / La tarea

Dir. Biviana Marquez. Colombia, 201 1, 15 min, colour. English subtitles.
Awards: Best Short Film at Maraton Audiovisual de Cortometrajes Pantalones Cortos de Colombia.

Sergio’s seemingly impossible homework (to write down, on magic paper, what he dreams of becoming when he grows up) eventually transforms itself into an exhilarating adventure.

Jacana and Adoniran

Dir. Rogerio Nunes. Brasil, 2012, 20 min, colour. English subtitles.

A lively and controversial exploration of one of the most famous Brazilian songs and its composer.

Camilo

Dir. Rafael Salazar. USA/Spain, 201 1, 15 min, colour. English subtitles.

Jeremy is desperate not to lose a career-making opportunity; the chance to fly to Haiti to cover the earthquake, but sometimes the real story is staring you in the face…

Aulas

Dir. Alberto Valhondo. Dominican Republic, 201 1, 9 min, colour. English subtitles.

Acaustic overview of the teacher’s role in the Dominican Republic over the past few decades, revealed in a series of vignettes.

The people’s lawyer / El abogado del pueblo

Dir. Ricardo Jimenez. Colombia, 2012, 8min, colour. English subtitles.

Clever, sure-footed cinematic bricolage: a dynamic monologue presented in such a way as to rupture the relationship between discourse and image.