New Latin American Film Series at La Raza Galeria Posada

14/07/2010 at 11:56 am Leave a comment

La Raza Galeria Posada‘s canary yellow walls set a vibrant tone Thursday for the gallery’s latest offering in a Latin cinema series.
“This series is about highlighting the films that are coming out of Portuguese- and Spanish- speaking countries,” said Michael Collett, the gallery’s education manager.
“We want to give a broader perspective to Sacramentans that not everyone who speaks Spanish is Mexican,” he continued. “There’s a whole Spanish-speaking world out there and those people have issues similar to us here in the States.”
The series is a part of the New Latin American Film Series held Thursdays at 7 p.m. in July.
Thursday featured the Argentinean film “El Secreto de su Ojos” (The Secret in Their Eyes), which won the Oscar this year for Best Foreign Language Film.
The Mexican film “Arrancame La Vida” (Tear This Heart Out) originally was scheduled, but the change didn’t seem to ruin anyone’s evening.
The film tells the story of retired court investigator. Benjamin Esposito (Ricardo Darin), who has decided to pen his memoir. A series of flashbacks highlights political corruption and Argentina’s crippled justice system against the background of a love affair. The affair, an emotional seesaw, complicates the quest for justice of the investigator and his colleagues.
Although Esposito is retired, he is haunted by a murder-rape case that had been solved. What disturbs him about the case is that the criminal was released and served no time in prison.
The audience learns that the criminal is a political hitman who was protected by the government, making him untouchable. And, here is the mandatory spoiler alert: The court investigator – hell-bent on uncovering the truth — finds years later that the “missing” criminal has been imprisoned for more than two decades by the husband of his murder victim. The wronged spouse embodies action against an unjust legal system.
Pablo Sandoval (Guillermo Francella), assistant to Esposito, said these haunting lines: “There’s nothing that me, you, nobody can change … and that’s passion. A man cannot change his passion. Passion is passion.”
Fred Dobb, CSUS film professor and gallery curator, provided the audience with historical background on El Secreto,” shedding light on Argentina’s political unrest and its caste system, including untouchable members of government and society.
Dobb pointed out that in 1974, the vice president of Argentina was Isabelita Peron, third wife of President Juan Peron. Upon her husband’s death, she became the country’s first female president. Another interesting fact was that the second wife of Juan Peron was Eva Duarte, more commonly known as Evita Peron. The name should be familiar. “Evita,” a 1996 biopic, was nominated for five Academy Awards and won for best song. The lead role was played by singer-actress Madonna.
Dobb pointed out that certain characters as portrayed in “El Secreto de su Ojos,” such as court investigator Esposito, would not have been protected from government action, but that his upper-class amour, an attorney, would have been considered untouchable.
“The film is really interesting in that by the end of the film we all wonder who really is the prisoner,” he said.
“El Secreto de su Ojos” is a well-crafted piece of Latin foreign cinema that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

WRITER’S NOTE: Local filmmakers can visit La Raza Galeria Posada, 1024 22nd St., and inquire about submitting Latin feature-length foreign films or film shorts to the series. Contact Michael Collett at 916-446-5133.


Applications are now open for Docs 360 Traveling to Latin America? Don’t buy a guide, watch a movie!

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