More about Montreal Latin Film Festival
Film lovers shouldn’t miss the new Festival du Cinéma Latino Americain
“It’s been a really, really good year for Latin American film,” says Yuri Berger. And while that’s the kind of thing you’d expect to hear from the programming director of the new Festival du Cinéma Latino Américain de Montréal, he’s actually quite right. Films from South and Latin America have been picking up awards and acclaim at Cannes, Sundance and most recently the Oscars, and FCLM’s programming is full of the cream of the recent crop. Berger, formerly of Festivalìssimo (which has moved to June) has put together an excellent selection, almost all of which will play with English subtitles, and even if you’re not specifically into Latin American cinema, you should really make some time for this new fest.
Probably the festival’s biggest coup was scoring El Secreto de Sus Ojos, the Argentine film that unexpectedly beat out Michael Haneke’s The White Ribbon to win the Best Foreign Film Oscar last month. Directed by Juan José Campanella, who, oddly enough, has made a career directing episodes of House, Law & Order and 30 Rock, El Secreto is apparently a procedural murder mystery somewhat in the vein of L&O. I’m looking forward to seeing this opening night selection.
There’s a lot worth seeing from Argentina. (When I asked Berger which country in South or Latin America was producing the most exciting cinema these days, he replied “Argentina” without a moment’s hesitation, and I happen to agree with him.) Personally, I can’t wait to finally see Lucrecia Martel’s La Mujer Sin Cabeza (The Headless Woman). The latest from the director of The Swamp and the fantastic The Holy Girl has met a rapturous critical reception wherever it’s played—it’s about time it came to Montreal.
BORGES MEETS TINTIN
And this is the part where I convince you to see a four-and-a-half-hour low-budget experimental Argentine movie with little to no dialogue. Historias Extraordinarias, by director Mariano Llinás, is playing as part of Argentina 100 Years, a celebration of the country’s filmic centennial. When I saw it last year at Festivalìssimo, it just about blew my brain right open and I’m thrilled to get a chance to see it again.
Broken up into chapters, Historias tells three interwoven (but never overlapping) stories that bring to mind the literature of countryman author Jorge Luis Borges. It’s almost like watching a novel, as the stories are largely conveyed through the use of an omnipresent, unseen narrator. It feels a little Arabian Nights, a little Borges and a little Tintin (the latter of which Llinás has stated was one of his biggest inspirations for the film). Is it long? Yes. But you’ll be happy it is; it’s one of the funniest, most entertaining and creatively abundant films I’ve seen in years. Do not miss it.
But there’s a lot more than just Argentine cinema on display, with selections from Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Chile and Paraguay. Another film I’m looking forward to revisiting is Pedro González-Rubio’s Alamar (To the Sea), which was a sleeper success at TIFF last year. Part fiction, part doc, the movie follows a father and son spending a few last days together in the Mexican Caribbean before the kid moves to Rome with his mother. This is a beautiful film, one that really captures the feeling and quiet of being on a boat, of catching and cooking a fish, or just hanging out on the water. And if there were an Oscar for Best Performance by a Bird, it would definitely go to Blanquita, a little white egret who steals the show. This is a special movie, and one that would be great to show to kids.
Other potential highlights include Uruguay’s Gigante, about a lonely security guard who falls for a woman through the eyes of his security camera; Lisandro Alonso’s Liverpool, another TIFF hit; Parque Via, a Mexican film about an agoraphobe who needs to overcome his fears when his house is sold, and La Nana, the Chilean film from director Sebastián Silva that won the Sundance World Cinema Grand Jury Prize last year.
Also keep an eye out for perhaps the most timely selection, Cinco Dias Sin Nora, a Mexican-Jewish comedy directed by Mariana Chenillo set during Passover.
THE FESTIVAL DU CINÉMA LATINO AMÉRICAIN DE MONTRÉAL RUNS AT THE CINÉMA DU PARC, APRIL 2-15
Entry filed under: ARGENTINIAN CINEMA, BRAZILIAN CINEMA, CHILEAN CINEMA, COLOMBIAN CINEMA, DOCUMENTALS, FILM FESTIVALS, LATIN AMERICAN FILM, MEXICAN CINEMA, MONTREAL, PARAGUAYAN CINEMA, PERUVIAN CINEMA, SHORTFILMS, URUGUAYAN CINEMA. Tags: Campanellá, festival de cine latino de montreal, Montreal Festival du Cinéma Latino Americain.