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Film Festival Today

Founded by Jeremy Taylor

Festivalissimo!

Written by: FFT Webmaster | June 20th, 2011

Montreal’s main Latino film festival has just ended.  Founded 16 years ago by Elisa Pierna, it has gone from strength to strength.  This year’s edition, with all the films subtitled in French or English, had 28 films, from a whole range of countries: twenty-six films, from 12 countries were premieres.

There were more from Chile than elsewhere.  The opening film, director Matias Bize’s La Vida de los Peces (The Life of Fish) was Chile’s entry in the Oscar competition, and won the Goya Prize for the best Latin American film.  A travel journalist returns to Chile after 10 years in Europe, and talks, and talks, with his old girl-friend about what might have been.

Obviously keen to show his versatility, Bize’s film En Cama (In Bed) was also shown–it’s a remarkably sensuous film–  two strangers in a motel room explore sexual options, and talk incessantly about themselves.

Other Chilean films include Lucia, Niels Atallah’s first film.  Then there’s , Bize’s sabado, una Pelicula en el Tiempo Real.  And amusing, in a kind of grating way, is Sebastian Silva’s Los Gatos–  a sardonic, musing film about mother-daughter relationships, as a lesbian  tries to trick her aging mother out of ownership of her apartment.

There’s not just Chilean films, of course.  Argentina, for example, presents  La Mirada Invisible.  This film is shot within an elite Buenos Aires high school, and looks indirectly at the tacit support military governments get.  This is  a stern, somber film, portraying Argentina just before the Falklands war.  It’s shot almost entirely within the Escuela Nacional as a young teacher  tries desperately to fit in–measures which she learns to regret.

Pequenas Voces has been compared to other animated successes such a Persopolis.  It shows kids in Colombia–it’s said “In Colombia more than one million children are victims of war–as they try to escape through play.  And drawing of course.

The Mexican film Chicogrande concerns itself with the invasion of the US by Pancho Villa in 1916. The US government sent General Pershing and 5,000 troops in retaliation.   This Mexican western has plenty of blood and action.  Likewise with a Mexican-Dominican republic co-production, Tropico de Sangre.

Honduras has only produced 5 feature films, and the latest, Amor y Frijoles,  was shown here.  Staying in Central America, Guatemala produced Distancia.   In too many Latin American countries over the past number of years year,w the ‘disappeared’ ha been a basic problem for too many families.  This film shows a father walking across his country trying to find his daughter missing for the last 20 years.  It’s a quietly impresssive ‘road movie’ set amidst this country’s mountains.

There’s plenty of other films—but if you’re xhausted with all this family or national conflict?  make your way across town to Cabot Square where Festivalissimo put on Fiesta Latina.    Workshops in tango and other Latino dances by profesional dance companies, and concerts.  Salsa and other Latino cuisine, and other Hispanic gastronomy and wine.

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