Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Cinema Latino delves deeper into Latin American films

Wexner Center Presents Cinema Latino in January

NEW YORK, NY.- Cinema Latino—a popular annual series, now in its third year and this year running January 9-29 at the Wexner Center—offers a survey of the contemporary and classic films of Latin America. Featuring documentaries, comedies, and drama, the series provides an opportunity to see films that are rarely screened in this region. Each year, Cinema Latino delves deeper into Latin America, both culturally and geographically; this year’s opening night film, The Pope’s Toilet, offers the first Uruguayan film for the series.

Notes Chris Stults, organizer of the series and assistant curator in Wexner Center’s film department, “Increasingly, many of the most vibrant and acclaimed films being released have been coming of out Latin America. This year's Cinema Latino series brings to Columbus a diverse sampling of the entertaining, powerful, and illuminating filmmaking being produced in the region.”

Ticket prices for most films or double features are: $7 for general public; $5 for members, students, and seniors citizens. Please note that one of the films (Macario) is free. Most films are in Spanish and include English subtitles. All will be screened in the Center’s state-of-the art Film/Video Theater, 1871 N. High St. inside the Wexner Center. More information: 614 292-3535 or


Friday, January 9 at 7 pm (free public reception at 6)
The Pope’s Toilet (Enrique Fernández and César Charlone, 2007). 90 mins., 35mm.
This charming film offers a compelling portrait of a family and community trying to escape grinding poverty in an Uruguayan border town. Papal fever and get-rich-quick schemes abound as the townspeople anticipate crowds arriving for John Paul II’s 1988 visit. As the tension mounts, anything that can go wrong does. The Village Voice called this film an “alternately heartbreaking and hilarious satire.”
The free public reception before the screening will be hosted by Fronteras de la Noticia, a local Spanish-language weekly publication.

Thursday, January 15
7 pm: Silent Light (Carlos Reygadas, 2007) 135 mins., 35mm.
9:25 pm: Made in L.A. (Almudena Carracedo, 2007) 70 mins., video.

Carlos Reygadas, Mexico’s most uncompromising young filmmaker, has garnered rapturous critical attention for Silent Light, his third film, since its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. The tender story unfolds in an isolated modern-day Mennonite community in rural Mexico, where a devout farmer is torn between his love for two women and tries to decipher God’s role in these relationships. Silent Light currently does not have a U.S. distributor, so this is a rare opportunity to see this film. In Plautdietsch with English subtitles.

The moving documentary Made in L.A. follows the remarkable journey of three Latina immigrants working in Los Angeles’ garment sweatshops and their struggle for self-empowerment as they wage a three-year battle to bring the clothing retailer Forever 21 to the negotiating table.

Thursday, January 22 at 7 pm
The Old Thieves: The Legends from Artegio (Everardo González, 2007) 85 mins., 35mm.

The Old Thieves is a chilling yet humorous documentary portrait of the Mexican underworld in the 1960s. Intimate interviews with four notorious and charismatic bandits and archival footage vividly recall a time when these charming professional thieves were virtually unstoppable—and reveal the price they eventually had to pay. Nominated for Best Picture and Best Director at the Ariels, Mexico’s national film awards.

Thursday January 22 at 8:35 pm
Macario (Roberto Gavaldón, 1960) 91 mins., 35mm.
This screening is free, but tickets are required. Call 292-3535 to reserve tickets (for pickup the day of film).

A landmark film by one of the key filmmakers of Mexican cinema’s golden age, Macario is one of the purest and most audacious examples of “magical realism” in cinema. Its enigmatic tale—adapted by B. Traven (The Treasure of the Sierra Madre) from the Brothers Grimm—becomes a startling, angry satire, as a poor woodsman encounters God, Satan, and Death. Gorgeously photographed by the legendary Gabriel Figueroa.

Thursday, January 29
7 pm: Cochochi (Israel Cárdenas, Laura Amelia Guzmán, 2007) 87 mins., 35mm
8:40 pm: Encarnación (Anahí Berneri, 2007) 93 mins., 35 mm

Set in the beautiful Sierra Tarahumana region of northwest Mexico, the unforgettable Cochochi (Land of the Pines) is a folktale that doubles as a remarkable portrait of an indigenous community facing change. During a journey to deliver medicine to a remote community, two young brothers lose their grandfather’s horse and then each other, and they cannot return until all are reunited. Filmed with nonprofessionals from the Rarámuri (or Tarahumara) community in their indigenous language.

Another great example of the rich cinema coming out of Argentina, Encarnación is an engaging character study of a 40-something actress, who survives on fading memories of her pinup days. The film centers around her visit to a favorite niece’s birthday party in a small farming town. Silvia Pérez gives the performance of a lifetime as the actress.

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