Where to See Latin American Movies

September 25, 2007

If seeing Latin American films is difficult in Latin America, it is even more difficult in the United States. Each year, fewer and fewer foreign films are shown in U.S. theatres while the majority of video stores feature mostly U.S. action fare.

Careful scrutiny may pay off for Spanish-speakers, who might find some celluloid treasures in the Spanish section of their local video stores. Despite the overwhelming quantity of Mexican industry pulp, cautious investigation may turn up classics from the Golden Age, and Cantinflas comedies along with some newer titles by such directors as Mexicans Arturo Ripstein and Felipe Cazals, Argentine Hlctor Olivera, Venezuelan Fina Torres, Colombian Jorge All Triana and Peruvian Alberto (Chicho) Durant.

Video stores with a good foreign-film section may offer the following subtitled fare: from Mexico, "Maria de mi coraz6n" (My Dearest Mary, 1979) and "Doha Herlinda y su hijo" (Doha Herlinda and Her Son, 1984) by Jaime Humberto Hermosillo and Paul Leduc's "Frida" (1984); from Argentina, "La historia oficial" (The Official Story, 1985) by Luis Puenzo, "Camila" (1984) and "Miss Mary" (1986) by Maria Luisa Bem- berg, and "Hombre mirando at sureste" (Man Facing Southeast, 1986) by Eliseo Subiela; from Cuba, "Cartas del parque" (Letters From the Park, 1988) and "Memorias del subdesarrollo" (Memories of Underdevelop- ment, 1968) by Tomas Gutierrez Alea, and "Retrato de Teresa" (Portrait of Teresa, 1979) by Pastor Vega; from Colombia, "T~cnicas de duelo" (Dueling Techniques, 1988) by Sergio Cabrera, "Milagro en Roma" (Miracle in Rome, 1988) by Lisandro Duque, and "Rodrigo D. (No Futuro)" (1989) by Victor Gaviria; and from Brazil, Bruno Baretto's "Dofa Flor and Her Two Husbands" (1978), "Opera de Malandro" (1986) by Ruy Guerra, H6ctor Babenco's "Pixote" (1980), and "Hour of the Star" (1985) by Suzana Amaral.

For serious film fans, Latin America holds two major festivals specializing in films from the entire region: the Havana International Festival of New Latin American Cinema, usually held the first 10 days of December, and the Cartagena International Film Festival, traditionally held in the second week of March.

In the United States, the oldest continuous Latin film festival is CineFestival, which takes place at the end of January in San Antonio, Texas. Other U.S. Latin film festivals include: Festival Latino in New York, formerly sponsored by the New York Shakespeare Festival, which this summer was held in conjunction with the Film Society of Lincoln Center; Chicago's Latino Film Festival, sponsored by Chicago Latino Films, in cooperation with Columbia College; and the Americas Film Festival, held in Washington, D.C. in October, which is sponsored by the Organization of American States (OAS), the Inter-American Development Bank and other organizations.

For media programmers and classroom instructors, a significant number of Latin American titles may be found in the catalogs of several U.S. distributors, including: The Cinema Guild, First Run/Icarus Films, Kino International, New Yorker Films, Third World Newsreel, and Women Make Movies.



Read the rest of NACLA's Sept/Oct 1993 issue: "Peril And Promise: The New Democracy in Latin America."

Tags: cinema, media bias, film festivals

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