The Film Society of Lincoln Center’s 12th edition of The Latinbeat Film Festival showcases the best in Latin American cinema with one of its most diverse slates ever. Twenty-one films, nineteen in their New York premieres, represent seven Latin American countries.
“The variety of genres, styles, voices, and subjects in films from the region is as diverse as Latin America itself,” says Programming Associate Marcela Goglio, curator of the Latinbeat Festival. “We are seeing a strengthening of emerging film industries in countries like Mexico, Argentina and Brazil and a continued resurgence of fresh new voices.”
Opening Night Films
This year’s Latinbeat opens with Mexican filmmaker Mariana Chenillo’s 2008 film Nora’s Will. This first-time director’s meticulously assembled dark comedy revolves around a woman who lays out the details for a perfect Passover for her family before she commits suicide. Her death and last wishes force her ex-husband, a staunch non-believer, to carry out the preparations for her funeral with her Mexican-Jewish family by his side. Chenillo’s impressive debut develops into a thoughtful and heartfelt look at notions of love, faith, family, dysfunction, and religion with surprisingly funny moments.
Opening Night also features Argentinean director Hernán A. Goldfrid’s Music On Hold. A boxoffice hit back home, this sidesplitting romantic comedy features a stellar cast including Norma Aleandro (Live-In Maid), Diego Peretti, and Natalia Oreiro. Variety called it “a wonderfully simpatico riff on a blocked composer’s struggle to find the right music… It reps a superior Argentinean screwballer in a field well known for its quality… Witty early on before gliding smoothly into an understated tenderness in its final reel.”
Latinbeat has highlighted the cutting-edge “New Argentine Cinema” since the late 90s. This year’s edition offers boxoffice hits from Argentina with Juan Taratuto’s A Boyfriend for My Wife, the country’s biggest commercial success of 2008, a clever anti-romantic comedy starring the superb Valeria Bertuccelli (XXY). Love by Accident is Inés Braun’s debut, a light farce linking multiple stories of love to a circular narrative set in the Buenos Aires neighborhood of San Telmo. Lovely Loneliness by Victoria Galardi & Martín Carranza follows a hypochondriac, played by Inés Efron (The Headless Woman, XXY, Empty Nest) determined to avoid dating for three years after being abandoned by her boyfriend Nico (Nicolas Pauls). And The Camera Obscura by María Victoria Menis is a beautifully narrated turn-of-the-century period piece which follows Gertrudis, a Jewish immigrant born as her family disembarks in the harbor of Buenos Aires.
Latin American Women Filmmakers
Women have played a major role in the resurgence of a new Latin American cinema and eleven female directors will be presented at this year’s festival. The Film Society of Lincoln Center and The International Committee of New York Women in Film and Television celebrates them with a special brunch panel discussion Saturday, September 12 at 11 am with María Victoria Menis (The Camera Obscura, Argentina), Mariana Chenillo (Nora’s Will, Mexico), Eva López Sánchez (One for the Road, Mexico), and Inés Braun and Natalie Cabiron (Love by Accident, Argentina), followed by a 1:00 p.m. screening of Nora’s Will. Women filmmakers in the festival include Laís Bodanzky, María Victoria Menis, Natalia Almada, Inés Braun, Victoria Galardi, Claudia Llosa, Mariana Chenillo, Eva López Sánchez, Yulene Olaizola and Alicia Scherson.
A Tribute Latin American Literary Master Julio Cortázar
Latinbeat 2009 will mark the 25th anniversary of the passing of one of the most influential Latin American writers of the twentieth century, Julio Cortázar, with seven films honoring the writer. The master of the short story, Cortázar and his highly visual language has been adapted by filmmakers for generations. Four adaptations will be showcased including perhaps his most famous, “Las babas de diablo“, transposed to Swingin’ London by Michelangelo Antonioni in Blow-Up. A documentary series dedicated to Cortázar’s work and life, produced by Argentina’s prestigious cultural channel Canal (á) will also be screened.
Film Society Alum Claudia Llosa returns with The Milk of Sorrow – winner of the coveted Golden Bear at Berlin and a selection of New Directors/New Films 2009. Variety declared Llosa “one of the most interesting femme helmers working in the Americas today.” Actress Magaly Solier brings her inherited pain and the discovery of inner power to the screen with dignity and grace in Llosa’s visceral fable.
Also returning is Latinbeat Festival veteran Andrés Wood with his award winning 2008 drama The Good Life. Earning the Goya (Spanish Academy Award) for Best Spanish Foreign Language Film, Wood’s latest work is reminiscent of Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu and Guillermo Arriaga’s elliptical narrative style (Amores Perros, Babel). It follows four characters immersed in Santiago’s urban maelstrom: Teresa is a psychologist trying to save lives; Edmundo, a hairdresser who dreams of buying his own car; Mario, a musician trying out for the Philharmonic; and Patricia is just trying to survive, one day to the next.
Other films include Federico Veiroj’s Acne,a charming coming-of-age tale, reflecting a new, edgy, cinema coming from Uruguay, and Natalia Almada’s The General, winner of the documentary directing award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.
Directors In Person
Finally, Latinbeat 2009 will host one of the largest groups of Latin American directors ever to visit New York. Appearing to discuss their films are Natalia Almada (The General), Inés Braun and Natalie Cabiron (Love by Accident), Mariana Chenillo (Nora’s Will), Hernán A. Goldfrid (Music on Hold), María Victoria Menis (The Camera Obscura), Mikhail Kosyrev-Nesterov (Océano), Diego Sabanés (Made Up Memories), EvaLópez Sánchez (One for the Road), Alicia Scherson (Tourists).
For more information on the films and schedule, please visit www.filmlinc.com.