The Chilean movie “Bring Me the Head of the Machine Gun Woman” is one of Latinbeat 2013’s new offerings. Photo/courtesy of the Film Society of Lincoln Center

Beyond borders: Film festival offers newest, hip Latin American movies

For U.S. moviegoers passionate about Latin American movies, Latinbeat showcases some of the latest and best from the region. The festival, now in its 14th year, is taking place at the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York City. Latinbeat features films by both up-and-coming and well-established directors, many of whom were first introduced to U.S. audiences through this series.  Latinbeat’s present edition kicked off on July 12 and will wrap up Sunday, July 21.

“The number of wonderful films that are being produced right now in Latin America is huge, so we just present a sample of them, mostly by emerging filmmakers,” says Latinbeat curator Marcelo Goglio. Latinbeat 2013 features movies from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, and Uruguay, in many cases co-productions between several countries, including some European countries.

“Latin America is changing rapidly, and so is its cinema,” adds Goglio. “Today, Latin American films express a higher sense of shared identity beyond national borders than in the past.”

Every year, Latinbeat highlights one filmmaker’s work. On this occasion, the tribute was for Matías Piñeiro, one of the most exciting new young directors from Argentina. His four films to date (“The Stolen Man,” “They All Lie,” “Viola,” and the short “Rosalinda”) are a fascinating mix of young love, Shakespeare, politics and present-day Latin America, and all were screened during the first week of the festival.

Other films being shown this weekend include:

Bring Me the Head of the Machine Gun Woman, directed by Chilean Ernesto Díaz Espinoza. This hilarious take on American Sam Peckinpah’s 1974 movie “Bring Me the Head of Alfredo García” is a Latin American Western – with a video game structure.

Impenetrable, directed by Daniele Incalcaterra and Fausta Quattrini, an Argentina-France co-production.  This fascinating adventure is a tale of two brothers who inherit land sold by Paraguay’s dictator Alfredo Stroessner that originally belonged to the Guarani indians. It is a searing indictment of exploitation and trying to preserve precious resources.

Magical Words, directed by Mercedes Moncada, a Guatemala-Mexico co-production.  As she traces the changes undergone by the Sandinista movement since the 1979 revolution in Nicaragua, filmmaker Moncada weaves herself into the story—her own dreams, love, and pain at every historic step.

Belated (Deshora), is directed by Bárbara  Sarasola-Day, and it’s an Argentina-Colombia-Norway co-production. Through the use of hand-held camera, the movie deftly explores marriage and a portrait of a decadent landowning aristocracy and its rigidity in a tobacco plantation in northwestern Argentina.

The Tears (Las Lágrimas), Mexican director Delgado Sanchez’s first feature is about two brothers and a painful camping trip as they struggle in a disturbing parental environment.

So Much Water (Tanta Agua), directed by Ana Guevara and Leticia Jorge, it’s an Uruguay-Mexico-Holland-Germany collaboration. Two teenagers and their divorced father go on vacation and get trapped inside a rented cabin under a heavy, seemingly unending rain. Everybody’s moods become altered as the cabin –and the family’s—is about to explode.

While most of us will not be able to attend Latinbeat and watch these films, it’s a good way to flag the newest movies – and directors – coming from Latin America, and hopefully we will get a chance to see them in the future.

ClaudioRemeseira

Claudio Iván Remeseira is a New York-based award-winning journalist, writer, and critic. Translator of the Spanish-language on-line section of The Nation and editor of Hispanic New York, an online portal and blog on current events and culture. Editor of Hispanic New York: A Sourcebook (Columbia University Press, 2010), an anthology of essays on the city’s Latino, Latin American & Iberian cultural heritage, and winner of the Latino International Book Award in the category of Best Reference Book in English (2011).

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