A New Beat in Latin American Cinema

Posted by Tiffany Vazquez on 6.12.2013


Santiago Loza's La Paz

This summer, Film Society of Lincoln Center will once again celebrate Latin American cinema with Latinbeat 2013, taking place July 12 - 21.

According to Film Society Programmer Marcela Goglio, this year’s lineup marches to the beat of a different drum: "The notion of Latin American cinema is changing rapidly, as is Latin America itself; co-productions amongst countries within the region now abound, as support from outside countries continues." This year, the films reflect on more sociopolitical issues than in years past, providing a deeper perspective on the various countries that comprise Latin America. 

Argentinian filmmaker Santiago Loza will kick off this year’s fest with La Paz, while Matías Piñeiro will present his early films The Stolen Man (2007) and They All Lie (2009) in conjunction with the theatrical premiere of his New Directors/New Films hit Viola and 2011 short Rosalinda. And that’s all just Opening Night!


Ernesto Díaz Espinoza's Bring Me The Head of the Machine Gun Woman

The films in this years lineup range from AninA, an beautifully animated family film based on the 2003 book Anina Yatay Salas, to Bring Me The Head of the Machine Gun Woman, an action-packed romp by Ernesto Díaz Espinoza that is a nod to Sam Peckinpah’s Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia.

Several directors who are old friends of Latinbeat will return with new films, including Alicia Scherson’s The Future (an unprecedented adaptation of Roberto Bolaño’s Una Novelita Lumpen), Mercedes Moncada’s Magical Words, and Enrique Rivero’s Never Die.

There will be many opportunities to hear the filmmakers and stars talk about their work in person. Scheduled appearances include: Barbara Sarasola-Day (Belated), Lina Rodriguez (Señoritas), Mercedes Moncada (Magical Words), Emiliano Altuna and Carlos Federico Rossini (The Mayor), Leticia Jorge (So Much Water), Santiago Loza (La Paz), Ernesto Diaz Espinoza (Bring Me The Head of the Machine Gun Woman) and Michael Wahrman (Avanti Poppolo).


Alfredo Soderguit's AninA

Tickets for Latinbeat 2013 go on sale June 18 for Film Society Members, and on June 20 for the General Public. In the meantime, scroll down for the full lineup, schedule, and film descriptions.

Opening Night
La Paz
Santiago Loza, Argentina, 2013; 73m

North American Premiere!
La Paz is the story of Liso, a young man who emerges from a psychiatric institution and tries to re-adapt to daily life in the universe of his middle class family and neighborhood. Though everything seems difficult, under the surface and very subtly things start to change for him.  Quietly and slowly, Loza draws us into Liso's inner plight as he connects again with the outside world and searches for a new balance, a kind of inner peace, while exposing what have become, for him, the limiting rituals of a comfortable middle class life.  Also an influential playwright in the nascent indie theater scene of Buenos Aires, Loza is a prolific filmmaker whose films (showcased in Latinbeat since 2000) have remained faithful to a very personal kind of aesthetic/search. He was one of the very first of the so -called "New Argentine Cinema" filmmakers, with a career as discreet and quietly loaded as his films. His films are a space for challenging and uncommon aesthetic exploration—in how to convey emotions visually, using silence as pulse of the story. The result is clear and poignant storytelling devoid of any excess in performance or staging, in which his affection and deep understanding of his characters reach out to the spectator. To quote Marcelo Panozzo, program director of this year’s Bafici:  "La Paz’s tone is its true triumph: it’s something related to patience, a rare feature in both cinema and life".
July 12 at 7:00pm
July 14 at 6:50pm

*Director in attendance at both screenings.

AninA
Alfredo Soderguit, Uruguay/Colombia, 2013; 82m

US Premiere!
The palindromically named Anina Yatay Salas lives in Montevideo and attends elementary school, where her classmates make fun of her because of her name. She has a best friend, but also a girl with whom she doesn’t get along at all: Yisel. One day she fights with Yisel, and so her problems begin: the school principal gives them both an intriguing punishment, a suspended detention. Anina spends her days in that suspension, a period of time with particular tension and questions, and her voiceover guides us as she comments on life with her nice parents, meals, the eyes of gossipy neighbors, homework, and childhood feelings, joys, and fears. Featuring a particularly beautiful animation that perfectly integrates the movement of the characters with background settings that are worthy of illustrated children’s books (AninA is based on the 2003 book Anina Yatay Salas), this moving animated film has the homemade flavor of a warm and happy afternoon tea on a rainy day (Bafici ’13)
July 13 at 11am
July 14 at 11am

Avanti Popolo
Michael Wahrmann, Brazil, 2012; 72m

North American Premiere!
In this layered and formally subversive first feature, iconic (and recently deceased) Brazilian filmmaker Carlos Reichenbach plays a withdrawn and foul tempered father who for 30 years has been waiting for the return of his son, who disappeared during the 70s dictatorship. When his other son, Andre (played by film academic Andre Gatti), moves in after his divorce, he tries to reconnect with his father and awaken him to life and his past via recovered Super-8 films and old LPs. Wahrmann crafts an intricate and evocative universe of images and especially of sound in an attempt to shake up the father's monotonous present and make the disappeared brother—as well as the past—less of a ghost. Andre wants the past to become part of his father's present, perhaps for him to even connect with the pain in order to wake up. Wahrmann attempts something similar with the spectator, taking us on a voyage as radical in form as the movements it evokes.
July 13 at 5:15pm
July 14 at 1pm

*Director in attendance for both screenings.

Belated/Deshora
Bárbara Sarasola-Day, Argentina/Colombia/Norway, 2013; 102m

North American Premiere!
Helena and Ernesto live by the mountainous jungle, in their tobacco plantation in Salta, Northwestern Argentina. Their marriage is already in crisis, but shakes up even further when a quiet and mysterious cousin of Helena’s arrives from Colombia to complete his rehab in this isolated wilderness. The cousin unleashes unknown forces on the couple, putting them in touch with emotions and desires until then suppressed. Through the use of handheld camera, an austere mise-en-scene and contained but subtly explosive performances, Sarasola-Day succeeds in creating an almost unbearably tense atmosphere as each character develops a relationship with the other. With this film, she crafts both a potrait of a decadent landowning aristocracy and its rigid patriarchal social structure, and an exploration of desire’s limits and expression. Paradoxically, the tension brings life to Helena and Ernesto’s marriage. But by then they have become different people, and the restrained emotions that have accumulated throughout the movie eventually explode in surprising ways.
July 19 at 8:45pm
July 21 at 6pm

* Director in attendance for both screenings.

Bring Me the Head of the Machine Gun Woman /Traiganme la cabeza de la mujer metralleta
Ernesto Díaz Espinoza, Chile, 2013; 75m

New York Premiere!
An unusual genre in Latin American cinema: the action movie. This exuberant and hilarious tribute to Peckinpah’s similarly titled 1974 film is also a Western, but with a video game aesthetic and structure. A naïve and nerdy DJ who lives with his mother in Santiago and spends his days on his Playstation gets into trouble with a dangerous Argentine gangster. In order to save his own life, the DJ must undertake the mission to capture the untamable female mercenary Machine Gun Woman, dead or alive. The film is structured according to the missions he must accomplish on his way to finding the woman, as he is chased around by paid assassins and witnesses bloody acts.
July 20 at 9:30pm
July 21 at 8:30pm

*Director in attendance for both screenings.

The Eternal Night of Twelve Moons / La eterna noche de las doce lunas
Priscilla Padilla, Colombia, 2013; 87m

U.S. Premiere!
“I’m happy to be locked up and to carry on our traditions,” says Pili, a young Wayuu who is making the transition to womanhood. In Pili’s community, tradition dictates that, after their first menstruation and in order to be properly appreciated, young women must be isolated from all men for 12 moon cycles. During this time, accompanied only by the women in the family, the girls learn to weave and acquire other skills that will be useful to them in future. A solid narrative discourse that includes references to Wayuu cosmogony describes the three phases in the ritual Pili must complete: the history behind her isolation, the long period of seclusion she must sit out, and the celebration at the end of it, when Pili is officially declared a young woman or majayut. Thanks to some intelligent directing and inspired photography, what could easily have been a simple ethnographic documentary is transformed into a beautiful film about tradition, liberation and the ever-arduous task of being a woman.
July 12 at 3:00pm
July 17 at 6:15pm
July 19 at 4:30pm

From Tuesday to Tuesday / De martes a martes
Gustavo Fernandez Triviño, Argentina, 2012; 97m

New York Premiere!
Juan Benitez is a tough bodybuilder with a slightly menacing presence, but gentle and quiet in his interactions with people. He is hardworking, a textile factory operator during the day and a club bouncer at night, and dreams of eventually opening his own gym. But with a family to support, this prospect seems out of reach. Midway into the story, his steady routine is overturned after he witnesses a crime, and the film takes on a different tone, moving from subdued drama to a taut and suspenseful thriller as Benitez ponders what action to take. A cameraman and assistant director on more than 70 films since he graduated from film school 16 years ago, this is Trivino’s directorial debut.
July 15 at 8:15pm
July 17 at 8:15pm

The Future / Il future
Alicia Scherson, Chile/Germany/Italy/Spain, 2013; 98m

New York Premiere!
This faithful rendition of Una novelita lumpen is the first of Roberto Bolaño’s literary works to be adapted for cinema. Scherson’s third feature (Play and Turistas, her first two, showcased in earlier editions of Latinbeat) tells the story of Bianca and her brother Tomas, two suddenly orphaned Chilean teenagers who, in the dark midst of their mourning slowly descend into an underworld of B-movies, cheap novels and derelict characters in the margins of their adopted city, Rome. Manuela Martelli plays the vulnerable and beautiful Bianca, who is drawn into a heist to rob a hidden treasure from an aging and ailing former Miss Universe and old-school Hercules star (Rutger Hauer). This sexual and emotional adventure becomes a rite of passage that gives her a sense of empowerment strong enough to move on into a future, however uncertain, from which she soberly narrates this story.
July 12 at 9:15pm
July 16 at 8:15pm

Impenetrable / El impenetrable
Daniele Incalcaterra & Fausta Quattrini, Argentina/France, 2012; 95m

North American Premiere!
Incalcaterra and Quattrini take us deep into the Paraguayan Chaco with this narratively rigorous, fascinating adventure that is at once travel diary, Western, road trip, scientific exploration, and a portrayal of the savagery of capitalist exploitation. During his dictatorship, Stroessner sold to friends huge amounts of land for very little money, land that originally belonged to the Guarani Indians. This is how the filmmaker and his brother, Italians living in Argentina, came to inherit 5,000 hectares in the heart of Paraguayan Chaco. This land is also the reason they became estranged from their father until his death in 1994. Twenty years later, the brothers embark on a quixotic adventure to restore this piece of wilderness teeming with wildlife and precious botanical resources to its original owners.  But the “impenetrable” (as much a geographic as a judiciary term) land seems to be hiding dark forces—in the form of locked gates, bulldozers, armed neighbors—that won’t allow them to advance. Thus starts an intricate suspense story that unwinds with narrative and rhythmical precision to its unexpectedly happy ending.
July 20 at 7:00pm
July 21 at 3:45pm

Magical Words (Breaking a Spell) / Palabras mágicas (Para romper un encantamiento)
Mercedes Moncada, Guatemala/Mexico, 2012; 83m

New York Premiere!
Moncada lived in Nicaragua for 18 years and, as a child in 1979, witnessed the triumph of the Sandinista revolution. In this, her fourth film (her first two showcased at past editions of Latinbeat), she uses Lake Managua as a metaphor for what her beloved Nicaragua has gone through, and has become, since this pivotal and promising moment in the country’s history.  As she traces the changes undergone by the Sandinista movement since the revolution, Moncada weaves herself into the story—her own dreams, love, and pain at every historic step.  Her relationship to the revolution is intense and personal and so her feelings about it progress as it does, “from a childhood in which death is romantic and heroic to the deepest and most beautiful love, the pain of loss, betrayal and finally a void.”  A poignant and engaging personal perspective on the Nicaraguan revolution.
July 19 at 6:30pm
July 21 at 1:30pm

*Director in attendance for both screenings.

The Mayor / El alcalde
Emiliano Altuna, Carlos Federico Rossini & Diego Enrique Osorno, Mexico, 2012; 81m

New York Premiere!
Located in the state of Nuevo León, the municipality of San Pedro Garza García is considered the richest and safest in the whole country, despite the violent atmosphere that exists in the northern states of Mexico. Despite the fact that the murder of municipal mayors by the drug cartels is a common practice, the mayor of this municipality, Mauricio Fernández Garza, is not only very much alive but also sparking heated arguments. This eccentric millionaire and collector of art, who both repels and charms, has decided to take justice into his own hands. The unorthodox security strategies he has put into place in order to restrain drug violence are highly questioned. The film wisely captures the fascinating contradictions in Garza’s personality as it reflects the complex situation of Mexico’s drug wars—a mix of violence, modern Mexican politics, strong economic interests, and a bold discredit of the political class.
July 13 at 7:15pm
July 15 at 6:15pm

*Directors in attendance for both screenings.

Never Die / Mai morire
Enrique Rivero, Mexico, 2012; 84m

New York Premiere!
Director Enrique Rivero moves away from the kind of minimalist aesthetic of Parque Vía (New Directors/New Films ‘09) in his new film starring Chayo, a woman who must return to her hometown of Xochimilco after she learns that the death of her mother is near. The contemplative camerawork paints a stunningly beautiful portrayal of the town, rich in ancient customs and rituals that are still quietly observed. Amidst lush, majestic natural surroundings, Chayo delicately prepares for the imminent loss, which leads to a profound and meditative reflection on the constantly renewing cycle of life and our changing place in the world.
July 13 at 1:00pm
July 16 at 6:15pm

Señoritas
Lina Rodriguez, Colombia/Canada, 2013; 87m

US Premiere!
The camera follows Alejandra, a young middle class woman from Bogotá, in her daily routines—as she puts on makeup, gets ready to go out, parties with friends, goes out with boys, walks home—capturing both her moments alone and her interactions with the world. The camera stays close enough to Alejandra to make us feel immersed in her world, yet keeps just enough distance to preserve a sense of her mystery. In her exploration of a young woman’s universe, Rodriguez claims that she wanted “to know how women are negotiating expectations of themselves and each other, of their families and friends and the men they meet.” Though conceptually and formally simple—the film has few scenes and each is resolved with just a few shots—hers is a daring, new kind of (minimalist) filmmaking that breaks ground not only in Colombia but in the rest of Latin America as well.
July 12 at 5:00pm
July 14 at 4:45pm
July 19 at 2:30pm

*Director in attendance on July 14.

Tanta agua (So Much Water)
Ana Guevara & Leticia Jorge, Uruguay/Mexico/Holland/Germany, 2013; 100m

New York Premiere!
What can be worse than being 14 and going on vacation with your father? Taking your children on vacation and not being able to go out because of the rain. Alberto has not been able to spend much time with Lucia and Federico since his divorce. The three of them are on their way to the hot springs for a short vacation. But when they arrive at their rented cabin they learn that the pools have closed until further notice because of the electric storms. Alberto tries to remain enthusiastic and is determined to not let anything ruin their plans, but everybody's moods inevitably become altered. The rain continues to fall and it seems the house they rented is about to explode.
July 18 at 8:30pm
July 20 at 2:30pm

*Director in attendance for both screenings.

The Tears / Las lagrimas
Pablo Delgado Sanchez, Mexico, 2012; 66m

North American Premiere!
A camping trip in the woods becomes a painful but ultimately healing rite of passage for two brothers who are struggling to cope with their disturbing family environment. With an absent father and a severely depressed, alcoholic mother who stays locked inside her room all day, spending the summer vacation at home seems like a punishment as it heightens the brothers’ sense of solitude and vulnerability. Though intended as a break from all of this, their escape into nature actually triggers memories and brings forth the fears and hardships that haunt their daily life. Delgado Sanchez's first feature has a taut, suspenseful narrative and sparse mise-en-scene that eloquently conveys the brothers' ordeal and the cathartic spirit of their voyage.
July 18 at 6:30pm
July 20 at 5:00pm

*Director in attendance for both screenings.

Matías Piñeiro Retrospective
The Stolen Man / El hombre robado
Matéas Piñeiro, Argentina, 2007; 91m

New York Premiere!
Pineiro’s sparkling debut film breathlessly follows a clever, capricious young woman as she carefully interweaves friends and lovers into an intricate web of secretive yet often unexpectedly compassionate games. Together with her best friend and fellow tour guide at a rival Buenos Aires historical museum, Piñeiro’s headstrong heroine attempts to tame the unpredictable course of her heart, eccentrically drawing inspiration from Sarmiento’s magnum opus, Facundo.  With its grainy 16mm black-and-white cinematography, its political sub- and super-texts and its compelling portrait of impetuous youth, The Stolen Man recalls the alternately sober and sprightly nouvelle vague of Jean Eustache and Jacques Rivette. (Harvard Film Archive)
July 13 at 3:00pm
July 14 at 8:45pm

*Director in attendance for both screenings.

They All Lie / Todos mienten
Matías Piñeiro, Argentina, 2009; 75m

A more abstract counterpart to The Stolen Man, Piñeiro’s second feature unleashes eight strong-willed characters into a clandestine plot involving art forgery, an unfinished novel, and Sarmiento’s U.S. journals, resulting in a giddy kaleidoscope of differing meaning that playfully channels the high postmodernism of William Gaddis. Piñeiro explores a cool stylistic restraint in They All Lie, deploying previse mise-en-scene to transform the rambling country house that is the film’s sole location into a series of inter-nested boxes and closets in which strange skeletons inevitably wait. With their zealous embrace of Sarmiento’s introspective writings, Piñeiro’s youthful and self-absorbed characters once again become the delightfully improbable vehicles for thoughtful reflections on the history of modern Argentina. (Harvard Film Archive)
July 13 at 9:10pm
July 14 at 2:45pm

*Director in attendance for both screenings.

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