Splendour and weakness of the Latin American Cinema
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- Arts and Culture
- Central America
- Culture and Traditions
- South America
- 01 / 17 / 2010
The Latin American film is in good conditions, states Frank Padrón in this interview, despite crisis and other problems. It is expected to enjoy even greater success in the recently started year of 2010.
What first comes to sight is a very personal, intimate pattern, with the human being and his most deep conflicts as subject. Many of the films premiered in 2009 reveal talents from different places. We must follow them carefully.
How did the Latin American film behave in the recently concluded year? Let’s have a look at tendencies and results. What comes first to sight is a very personal, intimate pattern, with the human being and his most profound conflicts as subject.
La teta asustada (Claudia Llosa, Peru), winner in the Berlin, Guadalajara, and Havana Festivals, among other important events, follows an old Quechua legend (language used in some parts of the film).
This second film by the young filmmaker alludes to a disease allegedly transmitted by the mother’s milk of women raped or maltreated during the terror war in Peru.
But even after the conflict is over, the main character dares not to face her fears and her inner secret: she introduces a potato in her vagina as protection.
The script is evidently suggestive, but the director fails to accomplish the strength present in her previous film (Made in USA), because there is evasiveness, anti-climax, and editing problems.
La nana (Sebastián Silva, Chile) has also deserved recognition several times, including that to brilliant star Catalina Saavedra.
With great tact and precision, the brilliant script deals with a servant full of frustrations who is obsessive with others’ kids and against any rival who gets to the middle class house where she works. One day, one of the rivals made her change her stance radically.
Viajo porque te necesito, vuelvo porque te amo, by Brazilians Marcelo Gómez and Karim Ainouz (El cielo de Suely), keep the merge of two patterns that have been defining regional contemporary film: experimentation and poetry. It is a true mixture of genres, a movie text that symbolizes the ever weakening barriers between documentary and fiction.
Rather than a road movie, it is a testimony where the leading character is a dramatic and narrative subject and object.
A lonely young man is on a trip through several north-eastern regions, in an attempt to forget his love, and shares with us a sort of film diary that is also narrated, thus complementing the images.
This poetic film hence introduces great subjectivism, through right minimalism where music and excellent photography join the discourse, enriching it. It is actually a love story, but conceived in a non-conventional yet audacious way.
The means are innovative but catching, and it has the complicity of those willing to share sensitivity.
With laureate script by Sabine Berman, Carlos Carrera’s film El traspatio (Mexico) is a well told story on the assassination in Ciudad Juárez of young female workers of cross-border plants.
It is a well conceived thriller Carrera takes to the screen in a pretty lineal way, without aesthetic euphuisms but with the unquestionable strength the theme entails.
The film El último verano de la boyita, by Argentine Julia Solomónoff, is another well done poetic search.
The case of a hermaphrodite in rural Rosario, from the perspective of a girl who spends her holidays there along wit her family, allows the young director embroider a story with respect for differences and a vote for children’s sensitivity against a world sometimes closed or distant to adults, particularly in that savage but brutally beautiful world infected by prejudices and ignorance: the countryside.
The camera turns that context into a co-star. Performances (chiefly by children), photography, editing everything leads to a solid, mature work.The first works keep revealing talents from different places; we must follow them carefully.
Gigante, a Uruguayan-German-Argentine-Dutch co production by Adrián Biniez, has that deliberate, necessarily slow and reflexive pace implied in the analysis of a character.
In this case, it deals with a tall, strong man who is security agent at a supermarket and does not know how to express his love to a clerk there. He finally does so in a way pretty much like his personality. The film is beautiful, precious, and definitely full.
Cinco días sin Nora, by Mexican Mariana Chenillo, plays with black humour in an amazingly effective and mature way. Before committing suicide, a woman makes a plan that will make relatives and friends interact among them, thanks to a letter and a mysterious photo “left” under the bed.
The corrosive irony of dialogues, the excellently intermingled situations, the singular design of characters pretty well performed (Fernando Luján, Verónica Lánger, Enrique Arreola…) make us wonder: will there be self-inflicted deaths that would improve other lives?
“Os famosos e os duendes da morte,” by Brazilian Esmir Filho, also bears
neo-modernist pretensions with lyric touches. It is a part of Brazil poorly explored: the south. The story takes place in a rural settlement where there is a German colony that has already had relations and descendents with locals. It is the environment where a 16-year-old boy, fan of Bob Dylan and Internet, evades himself and builds a world of his own, but he cannot avoid exchanging with others.
Complexities of youth, links with people with different ages and interests are also present in a film that could be considered a movie essay, with excellent visual treatment and background sound. The images (both true and those dreamt of or imagined by the protagonist) are mixed almost imperceptibly. Though there is room for certain, proper editing cuts and dramatic improvement, Os famosos… is an audacious, sensitive proposal.
Of course, there are many other examples, but the review we intend to make here would be too long. This analysis is enough to show the Latin American film is in good conditions, despite crisis and other problems. I hope it enjoys even greater success in the recently started year of 2010.