XVII WASHINGTON LATIN AMERICAN FILM FESTIVAL
September 20 - October 8
The American Film Institute, the Association of Ibero-American Cultural Attachés and the Inter-American Development Bank's Cultural Center are proud to present the 17th annual Washington Latin American Film Festival, an extensive exploration of filmmaking throughout Latin America, Spain and Portugal with over 30 films including multiple award-winners, festival favorites, local box-office hits and debut works by promising new talents.
AFI would like to thank the Inter-American Development Bank, President Luis Alberto Moreno, Félix Angel and Anne Vena; the Association of Ibero-American Cultural Attachés, Marcelo Cima and Ana María Currea; the Inter-American Cultural Development Foundation; and Festival Coordinator Rosario Carlino for their invaluable support and collaboration in presenting this event.
2006 XVII Washington Latin American Film Festival sponsors: Inter-American Development Bank, IDB and the IDB Cultural Center, World Bank Group, Smithsonian Latino Center, Telemundo, Fannie Mae Foundation, ICDF, Divino Lounge, Ceviche, Rumba Café, Rumberos, Washington Hispanic, and VIVA 900.
The IDB Cultural Center will host the following special Festival events in its Enrique V. Iglesias Conference Center Auditorium, 1330 New York Avenue NW, Washington, DC. The events are free and open to the public and on a first come, first serve basis:
- Panel discussions on film in Spanish: Thursday, September 28.
- Ibermedia Seminar on Spanish/Latin American film production and collaboration, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- Panel discussion on the challenges facing Latin American Film Festival directors, 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
- Festival closing and awards ceremony: Friday, October 6 at 6:30. The Festival will honor participating filmmakers with five DC Latin American Film Festival Awards: Best Feature, Best Short, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Actress. A screening of "Maroa" (Venezuela) will follow the awards.
Festival Jurors include: Shirin Ghareeb, Assistant Director, Washington, DC International Film Festival; Albert J. Casciero, Dean, Learning Resources Division, University of the District of Columbia; Margaret (Peggy) Parsons, Head, Film Department, National Gallery of Art.
Listen to win free passes on VIVA 900!
All films are in Spanish or Portuguese with English subtitles unless otherwise noted.
AFI Member Passes will be accepted at all screenings in the Latin American Film Festival.
Download a PDF of the full calendar with descriptions and film times in order by 1) country; 2) film times in chronological order by date; or 3) by film in chronological order.
A R G E N T I N A
Teenager Paco is haunted by the tattoo his mother gave him before she left him and his father. In desperation, Paco takes to the road with his troubled girlfriend and his father in search of answers that lead them to the man his mother left them for.
DIR/SCR Eduardo Raspo; SCR Enrique Cortés; PROD Marcelo Schapces. Argentina, 2005, color, 84 min. NR
A R G E N T I N A
Gorgeous photography highlights this existential film noir from the writer/director of the hit film NINE QUEENS (Nueve Reinas), who died suddenly in June. On a hunting trip to Patagonia, Ricardo Darín (NINE QUEENS), who fantasizes about pulling off perfect crimes, stumbles on a real plot to pull a heist. Darín assumes another man's identity to get in on the action, but his vision of the perfect crime is complicated by brutal, messy reality.
DIR/SCR Fabián Bielinsky; PROD Mariela Besuievski, Pablo Bossi, Samuel Hadida and Gerardo Herrero. Argentina/France/Spain, 2005, color, 110 min. NR
A R G E N T I N A
BLESSED BY FIRE
[Iluminados por el fuego]
Special Jury Prize, 2005 San Sebastian and Best Narrative Feature, 2006 Tribeca Film Festivals. Director Tristán Bauer's powerful and moving film explores the difficult legacy of the Falkland Islands/Islas Malvinas War. Called to the hospital after the attempted suicide of a wartime pal, memories come flooding back for veteran Gastón Pauls (NINE QUEENS), and in flashback we see the horrors of the battlefront as well as individual acts of courage and fellowship among comrades.
DIR/SCR Tristán Bauer; SCR Miguel Bonasso, Edgardo Esteban and Gustavo Romero Borri; PROD Ana de Skalon and Carlos Ruta. Argentina/Spain, 2005, b&w/color, 100 min. NR
A R G E N T I N A
[Buenos Aires 1977, aka Crónica de un fuga]
Based on the true story of Claudio Tamburrini, a pro soccer player falsely identified during the dark days of the Argentine military dictatorship as an anti-government "terrorist" and wrongly imprisoned. Rodrigo de la Serna (THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES) plays Tamburrini, who endures months of imprisonment and torture before making a daring escape. A tense thriller and a recreation of an all-too-real horror story from the director of BOLIVIA.
DIR/SCR Israel Adrián Caetano; SCR Esteban Student, Julián Loyola; PROD Oscar Kramer. Argentina, color, 2005, 103 min. NR
B O L I V I A
SAY GOOD DAY TO DAD
[Dí Buen Día a Papá]
In Person: Director/writer/producer Fernando Vargas at the Saturday, Oct. 7, 2:15 and Sunday, Oct. 8, 2:15 shows
"Dí buen día a papá," was the Bolivian government's code for the assassination of Che Guevara. In the Bolivian village of Vallegrande, where Guevara was eventually murdered, the specter of the guerilla hangs over the lives of several generations of Bolivians, shaping mythology, dividing and uniting families until 1997, when his remains are exhumed.
DIR/SCR/PROD Fernando Vargas; SCR/PROD Verónica Córdova; PROD Hugo Castro Fau, Pablo Trapero and Fernando Vega. Argentina/Bolivia/Cuba, 2005, color, 107 min. NR
B R A Z I L
IN EVIL HOUR
[O Veneno da Madrugada]
Brazilian master Ruy Guerra's fourth adaptation of Gabriel García Márquez recalls Henri-Georges Clouzot's classic LE CORBEAU, with a Latin twist. A small town in Latin America is besieged by endless rains and an epidemic of anonymous poison pen letters. While the letters' allegations are open secrets, the mayor doesn't want anything interfering with his plot to assassinate the local ruling family. But then a strange circus rolls into town.
DIR/SCR Ruy Guerra; SCR Tairone Feitosa; PROD Liliana Mazure and Bruno Stroppiana. Argentina/Brazil/Portugal, 2005, color, 118 min. NR
B R A Z I L
CINEMA, ASPIRIN AND VULTURES
[Cinema, Aspirinas e Urubus]
IN PERSON: Actor Peter Ketnath
During World War II, Johann, a young German opposed to the war, travels through Brazil selling a new wonder drug (aspirin) to peasants and farmers, who are more beguiled by the short commercials he projects on a drop cloth than by the drug itself. Along the way he meets Ranulpho who seeks a new life in Rio, but as Brazil enters the war against Germany each must determine his own definition of freedom.
DIR/SCR Marcelo Gomes; SCR Karim Ainouz and Paulo Caldas; PROD Maria Ionescu, João Júnior and Sara Silveira. Brazil, 2005, color, 99 min. NR
B R A Z I L
TWO SONS OF FRANCISCO
[2 Filhos de Francisco - A História de Zezé di Camargo & Luciano]
In Person: Actress Dira Paes
As the highest grossing Brazilian film of the last 25 years, this gorgeous, heartwarming film tells the true story of Zezé di Camargo and Luciano, Brazil's beloved brothers of country music. From the backcountry of Gola province, the duo fought the odds and fulfilled their father's dream of becoming successful music stars. The directorial debut of cinematographer Breno Silveira (Andrucha Waddington's ME, YOU, THEM).
DIR/SCR/PROD Breno Silveira; SCR Patrícia Andrade, Domingos de Oliveira and Carolina Kotscho. Brazil, 2005, color, 132 min. NR
B R A Z I L
IN PERSON: Screenwriter Sergio Murilo de Oliveria
A cool and quirky thriller stylishly combining road movie, neo-noir, the western and an homage to Camus's The Stranger, pitched somewhere between Michael Mann and David Lynch. Long estranged from his family, São Paulo weatherman Guilherme Weber returns to the desert town of Rocha for the funeral of his murdered father. While some things have changed - the family once ran a cotton plantation, but marijuana is now the cash crop - others have not: Weber is expected to defend the family's honor and avenge the murder!
DIR/SCR Lírio Ferreira; SCR Hilton Lacerda, Eduardo Nunes and Sérgio Oliveira; PROD Murilo Salles. Brazil, 2004, color, 115 min. NR
B R A Z I L
[Quase dois irmaos]
During Brazil's 1970s military dictatorship, political activist Miguel and burglar Jorge were buddies in notorious Ilha Grande prison. Now a senator, Miguel seeks the support of drug kingpin Jorge, who is back in prison running his gang by cell phone. The divisions within Brazil's society are sensitively portrayed by director Lúcia Murat (who did prison time in the 1970s) while co-scripter and City of God novelist Paulo Lins shows how favela slum life - and gangsterism - adapts to the times.
DIR/SCR/PROD Lúcia Murat; SCR Paulo Lins; PROD Milena Poylo and Gilles Sacuto. Brazil/Chile/France, 2004, color, 102 min. NR
B R A Z I L
GOD ONLY KNOWS
[Solo Dios Sabe]
Alice Braga (CITY OF GOD, LOWER CITY) plays a Brazilian student who loses her passport while partying in Tijuana. Kind-hearted journalist Diego Luna (Y TU MAMÁ TAMBI#201;N) finds the passport, but is unwilling to relinquish it once he knows she needs to journey to Mexico City to be issued a new one. The two embark on a road trip that leads to romance.
DIR/SCR/PROD Carlos Bolado; SCR Diane Weipert; PROD Yissel Ibarra and Sara Silveira. Brazil/Mexico, 2005, color, 115 min. NR
C H I L E
In Person: Director/writer Alberto Fuguet and producer Diego Valenzuela
This poignant exploration of youth's bittersweet passing, the ironies of success and the promise of new love recalls the best of Arnaud Desplechin and Paul Thomas Anderson. Music student Luciano Cruz-Coke worries about "selling out" and whether to score a fellow student's horror film (THE KILLER ANTS). Flash forward 15 years: some of his least talented friends are now the most successful, Luciano has nothing to show after six years waiting tables in New York and THE KILLER ANTS has gained a cult following.
DIR/SCR/PROD Alberto Fuguet; SCR Francisco Ortega; PROD Luigi Araneda. Chile, 2005, color. 109 min. NR
C H I L E
In Person: Director Pablo Larraín at the Tuesday, Sept. 26, 9:15 show
A musical opus of death and immortality. Prodigious Eliseo Montalbán composes a symphony based on the notes struck by the lifeless hand of his sister who was murdered atop a piano. But when his female pianist dies during the work's first performance, Eliseo goes mad, destroys his score and retreats into obscurity. Years later, a talentless musician discovers the last remaining pages of Eliseo's symphony and seeks to make a name for himself by recreating it. What results is a cat-and-mouse game through the human psyche and the originality of creation.
DIR Pablo Larrain; PROD Christina Littin; SCR Mateo Iribarren and Hernan Rodriguez. Chile/Argentina, 2006, color, 110 min. NR
C H I L E
THE SACRED FAMILY
[La Sagrada Familia]
A raw and unnerving portrait of love and betrayal. An upper class Chilean family's world is turned upside down when mother is called unexpectedly out of town and a son's sensualist girlfriend visits for Easter weekend. A quiet sister holds an unspeakable attraction to someone she shouldn't while father grapples with issues of fidelity and family loyalty. By the weekend's close, the illusion of relative calm in the family has been shattered.
DIR/SCR/PROD Pablo César. Argentina, 1988, color, 80 min. NR
C O L O M B I A
In Person: Actor Manolo Cardona
A box office smash in Colombia. Medellin rich kids Manolo Cardona and Unax Ugalde meet Flora Martinez at a disco. After Martinez casually shoots a guy who tries to hassle her, the trio escapes out the back door and into a fast friendship. An assassin for the cartels, and sometime call girl, Martinez has a fearsome reputation on the streets, but dreams of a better life.
DIR Emilio Maillé; SCR Marcelo Figueras, based on the novel by Jorge Franco Ramos; PROD Matthias Ehrenberg, Gustavo Angel Olaya and Antonia P. Pérez. Colombia/Mexico/Spain/Brazil, 2005, color, 120 min. NR
C O L O M B I A
THE ART OF LOSING [Perder es cuestión de método]
In Person: Director Sergio Cabrera and actress Martina García at the Friday, Oct. 6, 9:10 and Saturday, Oct. 7, 9:40 shows
In this action-packed detective story and piquant social commentary from director Sergio Cabrera (THE STRATEGY OF THE SNAIL), investigative journalist Daniel Giménez Cacho (BAD EDUCATION, LOVE IN THE TIME OF HYSTERIA) follows a tip about the grisly remains of an unclaimed body found near a nudist colony, and discovers implications that reach from the Bogotá underworld to the city government and beyond. Aiding him along the way are Sancho Panza-like cabbie Cesar Mora and sultry bar hostess Martina García.
DIR Sergio Cabrera; SCR Jorge Goldenberg, based on the novel by Santiago Gamboa; PROD Gerardo Herrero and Tomás Zapata. Colombia/Spain, 2004, color, 105 min. NR
C U B A
This bright and lively fable of two best friends was Cuba's 2005 Oscar entry. Jorgito and Malu are school children who journey from Havana in search of Malu's father when Jorgito's mother threatens to move her abroad. As the pair's friendship is tested on the road, they both discover that with pluck and imagination some bonds are never broken.
DIR/SCR Juan Carlos Cremata Malberti; SCR Manolito Rodriguez; PROD Nicolas Duval-Adassovsky. Cuba/Argentina/France, 2005, color, 80 mins. NR
C U B A
"A rangy, earthy item from esteemed helmer Humberto Solás that strips away
the tourist view of la isla"
Three separate storylines of struggle and transcendence: Maria unhappily plays mediator between her feuding father and brother while in love with an unfaithful man; Chino and Vivian lose their unborn child, bringing tension into their once happy marriage; and while Maria and Santo happily prepare for their future together, an unexpected tragedy derails their dreams.
DIR/SCR Humberto Solás; SCR Sergio Benvenuto and Elia Solás; PROD Aldo Benvenuto, Santi Camuñas, Jorge Gómes and Camilo Vives. Cuba, 2005, color, 105 min. NR
D O M I N I C A N . R E P U B L I C
AFI alumnus Carlos Bidó directed the first Dominican film shot entirely in high-definition video. According to Bidó, "The narrative of the film is a faithful portrait of the difficulties that our Dominican brothers go through to reach the American dream. A lot of times their lives are lost along the way."
DIR Carlos Bidó; SCR José Ramón Díaz. Dominican Republic, 2006, color, est. 100 min. NR
E C U A D O R
A documentary chronicle of the prisoners' takeover of the Garcia Moreno Penitentiary in Quito, Ecuador. The prisoners find they suddenly have a voice after they take 360 people hostage, and a pattern of abuse and corruption by the guards toward the prisoners becomes clear after lengthy negotiations.
DIR/SCR Mateo Herrera; PROD Jorge N#250;ñez. Ecuador, 2005, color, 93 min. NR
NOBODY WILL NOTICE IT
[Nadie lo Notaría]
When a small town's notary dies, everyone is surprised to find a large stash of cash in his house. The old waitress in the nearby bar is even more surprised when the money - along with the burglar who stashed it - ends up in her store. But she takes a liking to the miserable thief and hides him and the money from the probing police.
DIR/SCR Mateo Herrera; SCR/PROD Gabriela Calvache. Ecuador, 2006, color, 20 min. NR
E L . S A L V A D O R . & . H O N D U R A S . : . S H O R T S . P R O G R A M . 1
TWO FILMS ABOUT SALARRUÉ
[Dos películas sobre Salarrué]
In Person: Director/writer/producers Tomás Guevara (THE BLUE APPLE) and Katia Lara (OPEN HEART) at the Sunday, Sept. 24, 12:20 and Monday, Sept. 25, 6:30 shows of SHORTS PROGRAM 1
THE BLUE APPLE
[La manzana azul]
This enthralling documentary showcases Salarrué's (El Salvador's premiere writer, poet and painter) cosmopolitan life from 1946 to 1957, when he made New York his home. With old city images, readings of Salarrué's poetry, and a portrayal of his affair with married socialite Leonara Nichols.
DIR/SCR/PROD Tomás Guevara. El Salvador, 2006, color, 44 min.
THE TALE OF WHAT I WANT AND WHAT I DON'T WANT
[El cuento de lo que quiero y de lo que no quiero]
Two peasant girls argue about those things that they would like and would not like to have. Based on the story of the same name of Salvadoran writer Salarrué.
DIR/SCR/PROD Ricardo Barahona. El Salvador, 2004, color, 4 min.
THERE IS NO LAND WITHOUT AN OWNER was the first feature film out of Honduras by Sami Kafati. Production lasted two years and post-production for four, complicated further by Kafati's death in 1996 before the final cut. Another compelling drama unfolds in this interesting documentary as family, friends and colleagues struggle with how to end the film.
DIR/SCR/PROD Katia Lara; DIR Julia Herrera and Mario López; PROD Karla Reyes. Honduras, 2005, b&w/color, 40 min. NR
M E X I C O
ON THE OTHER SIDE
[Al Otro Lado]
Three different children from three different cultures and countries - Mexico, Cuba and Morocco - must all deal with the absence of fathers who have emigrated to "the other side" in search of better lives. As the children struggle, each decides to bring their father home - with differing degrees of success and heartbreak.
DIR/SCR/PROD Gustavo Loza; PROD Luis Granados. Mexico/US, 2005, color, 89 min. NR
M E X I C O
LOVE IN THE TIME OF HYSTERIA
[Sólo con tu pareja]
The 1991 debut from Alfonso Cuarón (Y TU MAMÁ TAMBIÉN, HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN and this fall's CHILDREN OF MEN) was a smash hit in Mexico, and is now receiving a US release from IFC First Take. In this dark comedy from Latin America's hottest director, it's love at first sight for Tomás. Unfortunately, he's on a window ledge, sneaking back and forth between the apartments of his two lovers. When his girlfriends discover his two-timing, they exact terrible revenge, teaching Tomás a lesson in love.
DIR/SCR/PROD Alfonso Cuarón; SCR Carlos Cuarón; Mexico, 1991, color, 90 min. NR
M E X I C O
NEWS FROM AFAR
"We were born poor and that's how we'll die," seven-year-old Martin's stepfather tells him as he discourages the child's dreams for a better future. As the narrative interweaves past and present, the pattern of poverty and despair becomes clear. Leaving his family behind, Martin seeks to break the cycle and flees to Mexico City, intent on finding something larger than his small barren community can offer.
DIR/SCR/PROD Ricardo Benet. Mexico, 2005, color, 120 min. NR
P E R U
Beautiful 14-year-old "Madeinusa" (Mah-day-in-OO-suh) lives with her father and sister in a tiny mountain village, but dreams of running away to the city as her mother did. A young man from Lima arrives right before the town's biggest festival - from Good Friday to Easter all sin is permissible while "God is dead." Afraid he will interfere with their local customs, the townspeople jail the young man for the weekend. But Madeinusa is powerfully drawn to him.
DIR/SCR/PROD Claudia Llosa; PROD Antonio Chavarrías and José María Morales. Peru/Spain, 2006, color, 100 min. NR
P O R T U G A L
A SHOT IN THE DARK
[Um tiro no escuro]
Director Leonel Vieira's vivid kidnapping drama combines edgy thriller with timeless tragedy. Young mother Vanessa Machado hits the skids after her baby is kidnapped on a trip to Rio de Janeiro. Reduced to dancing in a seedy Lisbon strip joint, she turns to bank robbing to fund her search for her missing child. When tough cop Joachim de Almeida takes the case, it leads to a dynamic battle of wits and a stunning revelation about the youngster's fate.
DIR Leonel Vieira; SCR Jorge Almeida, João Nunes and Alberto Fernandes; PROD Tino Navarro. Portugal, 2005, color, 107 min. NR
S P A I N
Civil wars split nations, but they split families as well. EL INMORTAL takes us to the Nicaraguan countryside, into the shattered world of the Rivera family, whose twin brothers through a twist of fate fought on opposite sides of the Contra war. Moncada Rodríguez's poetic story of a simple family devastated by war transcends locality and conflict, embracing both the weaknesses and strengths of humanity itself. (Sundance Film Festival)
DIR Mercedes Moncada Rodríguez. Mexico/Nicaragua/Spain, 2005, color, 80 min. NR
S P A I N
Caye is a prostitute whose sadness belies her tough demeanor. Zule is a prostitute from the Dominican Republic who works to support a son back home. When Zule steals a client from Caye, it doesn't bode well for a friendship, but an act of kindness from Caye after Zule is badly beaten binds them together. As they fight to maintain a belief in dignity and true love, the realities of their complicated lives are always a step behind in this hard-hitting drama from the director of MONDAYS IN THE SUN.
DIR/SCR/PROD Fernando León de Aranoa; PROD Jaume Roures. Spain, 2005, color, 113 min. NR
U R U G U A Y
[A Dios Momo]
Eleven-year-old street kid Obdulio sells newspapers for a living but can't read or write. He befriends the newspaper's night watchman, who not only introduces him to reading, but also teaches him the real meaning of life during the legendary nights of the Uruguayan carnival. With poetic nods to Fellini, Ricagni uses the carnival atmosphere to transport the viewer to a magical place. (AFI Fest)
DIR/SCR Leonardo Ricagni; PROD Raul Pochintesta. Uruguay, 2006, color, 100 min. NR
V E N E Z U E L A
Great performances from the young cast highlight this hard-hitting melodrama. Yorlis Dominguez plays 11-year-old Maroa, who struggles with the lure of the Caracas streets and a fractious life at home with his violent granny. When granny's ne'er-do- well boyfriend is implicated in a shooting, Maroa is arrested and sent to reform school. At first he doesn't fit in, but the youth orchestra teacher brings him out of his shell.
DIR Solveig Hoogesteijn; SCR Fernando Castets, Solveig Hoogesteijn and Claudia Nazoa; PROD Gerardo Herrero and Solveig Hoogesteijn. Spain/Venezuela, 2005, color, Spanish, 102 min. NR
S H O R T S . P R O G R A M . 2
After moving to a lonesome hut in the dead of winter, a mother fights for survival as her child fights for her affection in this heart-wrenching winner of the Short Film Jury Prize, 2006 Cannes Film Festival.
DIR/SCR Pablo Agüero; PROD Daniel Selen. Argentina, 2006, color, 15 min.
The story of a fallen apple, in stop-motion animation with mesmerizing sound effects.
DIR/SCR/PROD Javier Mrad. Argentina, 2005, color, 6 min.
This haunting treatise on nuclear weapons contrasts atomic bomb footage with speeches by several US Presidents.
DIR/SCR/PROD Javier Mrad. Argentina, 2006, color, 4 min.
A young village girl copes with loneliness after her friends move to the city.
DIR/SCR Paz Fabrega; PROD Isabel Alvarado. Costa Rica, 2005, color, 21 min.
H 1ER CINE TERMITA
Painstakingly animated by scratching the film stock frame by frame. A snake hallucinates after eating a mushroom.
DIR/SCR/PROD Nicolás Forero Martínez. Colombia, 2004, color, 4 min.
IN PERSON: Director/writer Estaban Areco (PHOTOSYNTHESIS) at the Saturday, Sept. 30, 12:20 and Sunday, Oct. 1, 12:20 shows
The viewpoints of a photographer in Asunción.
DIR/SCR Federico Gamarra, Esteban Areco; PROD Norma Ruiz. Paraguay, color, 2005, 8 min.