A big city story kicks off this year's two week long Latinbeat fest at the Film Society tonight.
Gustavo Taretto’s Sidewalls (Medianeras) is a romantic comedy featuring a lonely man and woman who, despite living on the same block in Argentina, cross paths but have never quite met. Mixing live action with animation, photography, and graphic illustrations, the film explores how new technologies can unite people but also keep them apart. The film has been hailed as an homage to Woody Allen's Manhattan and a love letter to Buenos Aires.
"Although Taretto shares [Woody] Allen's self-deprecating wit, his sensibility comes from a visual place more in keeping with the likes of Michel Gondry," praised Variety's Peter Debruge, reviewing the film at this year's Berlin Film Festival. "Medianeras is filled to bursting with clever stylistic ideas, including an inspired shot in which the two strangers stand side-by-side yet oblivious on a traffic island, momentarily united amid the confusion."
Sidewalls (Medianeras) will screen again tomorrow night and on Saturday night at the Film Society of Lincon Center's Walter Reade Theater. Now in its twelfth year, the Film Society's two week long Latinbeat will feature films from eleven Latin American countries through August 24th.
"Even though it is the oldest of all, LatinBeat has not received its just due in a community that hosts so many mediocre Latin American and Latino film festivals and exhibitions," film critic Howard Feinstein wrote last week in Filmmaker Magazine. "In spite of some skimming off the top for bigger festivals (New Directors/New Films, Tribeca, the New York Film Festival), the 23 movies screening this go-round are really quite good, a testament both to the curators’ tastes and the fact that there has been over the past 10-15 years so much fine product coming from the South."
Feinstein noted that without a unifying movement of films from the continent, such a showcase offers audiences a way to explore a wide range of diversity with contemporary and classic Latin American cinema.
"We try as much as possible to shatter people's stereotypes of Latin Americans," explained Film Society programmer Marcela Goglio, talking about Latinbeat with the Wall Street Journal. "We're hoping that if people come and see a film from Colombia, then go see a film from Argentina, then go see a film from Mexico, they'll understand that these are very different countries with very different cultures."