U.S. Premiere of Ricardo Darín’s AN UNEXPECTED LOVE and
World Premiere of DAYS OF LIGHT
Bookend the Festival’s 30th Anniversary Lineup
Festival Runs September 12–October 2 with 53 Films From 23 Countries,
Including 12 U.S., North American and World Premieres
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Silver Spring, MD, August 27, 2019 — The American Film Institute (AFI) announced today the full slate of films for the 2019 AFI Latin American Film Festival, which will take place September 12–October 2 at the historic AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Silver Spring, MD. Celebrating its 30th edition this year, the festival is one of the largest and long-running showcases of Latin America cinema in the United States. The festival presents Latin America’s prolific and versatile talent and, with the inclusion of films from Spain and Portugal, honors Ibero-American cultural connections during National Hispanic Heritage Month. This year’s wide-ranging selection of 53 films spans international festival favorites and award winners, local box-office hits and dynamic debuts from a new generation of Latin American filmmakers. Nearly 40% of the films are directed by women.
The festival will open with the U.S. premiere of Argentinian box office sensation AN UNEXPECTED LOVE, directed by veteran producer Juan Vera (THE LAST SUIT, THE QUEEN OF FEAR) and led by Ricardo Darín (who also shares a producing credit — his first) and Mercedes Morán (EL ANGEL, LA CIÉNAGA). The festival closes with the world premiere of DAYS OF LIGHT, a groundbreaking omnibus film directed by six emerging filmmakers from Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. The film, which won second prize in the Primera Mirada work-in-progress competition at the Panamá International Film Festival last year, has also participated in the Rotterdam Lab, Fundación Carolina’s project development workshop and Costa Rica’s Cine en Construcción.
Other festival highlights include the U.S. premiere of Gael García Bernal’s bold sophomore feature CHICUAROTES; the Cannes-premiered documentary DIEGO MARADONA directed by Academy Award®-winning director Asif Kapadia (AMY); the North American Premiere of Melina León’s powerful drama SONG WITHOUT A NAME, the first film by a female director from Peru to screen at the Cannes Film Festival; MARIGHELLA, the Fernando Meirelles-produced directorial debut of Brazilian actor Wagner Moura (NARCOS), starring Seu Jorge (CITY OF GOD); the U.S. premiere of Laura Amelia Guzmán and Israel Cárdenas (SAND DOLLARS) genre-bending meta-drama HOLY BEASTS, starring Geraldine Chaplin and Udo Kier; and MONOS, the acclaimed survivalist saga from Colombian-Ecuadorian director Alejandro Landes, which won the World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year.
The festival also features several highly anticipated new works from established and emerging Latin American auteurs, including TEMBLORES, Guatemalan director Jayro Bustamante’s follow-up to IXCANUL; I MISS YOU, directed by Bolivia’s Rodrigo Bellott (SEXUAL DEPENDENCY) and starring Argentine actor Oscar Martinez (WILD TALES) and Pedro Almodóvar muse Rossy de Palma; THE GOOD GIRLS, a whip-smart satire from Mexican actress-turned-director Alejandra Márquez Abella (SEMANA SANTA); THE QUIETUDE, Argentine filmmaker Pablo Trapero’s daring follow-up to THE CLAN; Brazilian director Gabriel Mascaro’s (NEON BULL) dystopian romance DIVINE LOVE; and THE PROJECTIONIST, Dominican director José María Cabral’s follow-up to WOODPECKERS, which closed the AFI Latin American Film Festival in 2017.
Documentary selections explore both the personal and the political, and include the U.S. premiere of Juan Solanas’ Cannes-debuted LET IT BE LAW about Argentina’s growing pro-choice movement; a sneak preview of Chilean documentarian Patricio Guzmán’s (NOSTALGIA FOR THE LIGHT, THE PEARL BUTTON) THE CORDILLERA OF DREAMS, winner of the Golden Eye Documentary Prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival; SXSW Audience Award winner CACHADA: THE OPPORTUNITY about five Salvadoran women who take to the stage to explore personal trauma; the U.S. premiere of LEMEBEL, an intimate portrait of Chilean activist, poet and performance artist Pedro Lemebel, which won the Teddy Award for Best Documentary at this year’s Berlinale; and powerfully inventive Sundance NEXT Audience Award winner THE INFILTRATORS, directed by Cristina Ibarra and Alex Rivera.
Complete list of U.S., North American and World Premieres:
- AN UNEXPECTED LOVE [EL AMOR MENOS PENSADO] (DIR Juan Vera, Argentina) – S.
- BEFORE THE FERRY ARRIVES [ANTES QUE LLEGUE EL FERRY] (DIR Juan Caunedo Domínguez, Vladimir García Herrera, Raul Escobar Delgado, Cuba) – S.
- CHICUAROTES (DIR Gael García Bernal, Mexico) – S.
- DAYS OF LIGHT [DÍAS DE LUZ] (DIR Mauro Borges, Enrique Pérez Him, Julio López, Enrique Medrano, Sergio Ramírez, Gloria Carrión, Costa Rica, Panamá, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua) – World
- HOLY BEASTS [LA FIERA Y LA FIESTA] (DIR Laura Amelia Guzmán, Israel Cárdenas, Dominican Republic) – S.
- INLAND [TIERRA ADENTRO] (Mauro Colombo, Panama) – S.
- LEMEBEL (DIR Joanna Reposi Garibaldi, Chile) – S.
- LET IT BE LAW [QUE SEA LEY] (DIR Juan Solanas, Argentina) – S.
- LISBON BEAT [BATIDA DE LISBOA] (DIR Rita Maia, Vasco Viana, Portugal) – North American
- NOTES FOR A HEIST FILM [APUNTES PARA UNA PELICULA DE ATRACOS] (DIR Elías León Siminiani, Spain) – S.
- ON THE STARTING LINE [LA ARRANCADA] (DIR Aldemar Matias, Cuba/Brazil) – S.
- SONG WITHOUT A NAME [CANCIÓN SIN NOMBRE] (DIR Melina León, Peru) – North American
2019 AFI LATIN AMERICAN FILM FESTIVAL
September 12–October 2
AN UNEXPECTED LOVE [EL AMOR MENOS PENSADO]
Opening Night: Thurs, Sept .12, 7:15 p.m.; also screens Sun, Sept. 15, 12:30 p.m.
Post-screening wine reception sponsored by the Embassy of Argentina The directorial debut of longtime producer Juan Vera (THE LAST SUIT, THE QUEEN OF FEAR) is a delightful rom com starring two of Latin America’s biggest stars. After 25 years of marriage, Marcos (Ricardo Darín) and Ana (Mercedes Morán) begin to question their union, entering an existential crisis that leads them to separate. But their uncertainties about love, fidelity, the passing of time and the nature of desire remain, and the pair slowly begin to realize that they may have been better off together all along. Official Selection, 2018 San Sebastian and Zurich film festivals. DIR/SCR/PROD Juan Vera; SCR Daniel Cúparo; PROD Chino Darín, Ricardo Darín, Christian Faillace, Juan Pablo Galli, Federico Posternak. Argentina, 2018, color, 135 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED
MURDER ME, MONSTER [MUERE, MONSTRUO, MUERE] Sat, Sept. 14, 10:20 p.m.; Mon, Sept. 16, 9:15 p.m.
Alejandro Fadel’s Guillermo del Toro-meets-David Lynch, hyper-surreal creature feature is set in a remote area at the foot of the Andes. When a woman’s headless body is found, rural police officer Cruz investigates the bizarre case, soon finding his lover’s husband, David, to be a prime suspect. But David blames the crime on a “monster” with whom he has a telepathic connection. Cruz slowly begins to doubt that the killer is entirely human, diving headlong into a gory mystery that deepens at every turn. Official Selection, 2018 Cannes, Mar del Plata, CPH:PIX and Warsaw film festivals; 2019 Rotterdam, Göteborg and Glasgow film festivals. DIR/SCR/PROD Alejandro Fadel; PROD Fernando Brom, Benjamin Delaux, Jean-Raymond Garcia, Julie Gayet, Édouard Lacoste, Agustina Llambi-Campbell, Antoun Sehnaoui, Dominga Sotomayor Castillo, Nadia Turincev, Omar Zúñiga Hidalgo. Argentina/France/Chile, 2018, color, 109 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED
DIEGO MARADONASat, Sept. 21, 7:00 p.m.; Thurs, Sept. 26, 7:15 p.m.
Academy Award®-winning director Asif Kapadia (AMY) takes an unprecedented look at the meteoric rise and abrupt fall of Argentinian soccer superstar Diego Maradona in this immersive portrait of an icon. Piecing together more than 500 hours of previously unseen footage, Kapadia covers Maradona’s difficult family life, his massive fame as the captain of the Napoli and Argentinian national soccer teams, his run-ins with the mafia and everything in between. On the pitch he was a god, but all good things must come to an end — even for this idol of the soccer world. Official Selection, 2019 Cannes, Karlovy Vary and Locarno film festivals. DIR/SCR Asif Kapadia; PROD James Gay-Rees, Paul Martin. Argentina/UK, 2019, color, 130 min. In English and Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED
ROJOSun, Sept. 22, 6:30 p.m.; Wed, Sept. 25, 9:00 p.m.
Set in Argentina during the mid-1970s, this hypnotic thriller directed by Benjamín Naishtat (EL MOVIMIENTO) follows Claudio, played by Darío Grandinetti (TALK TO HER, WILD TALES), a middle-aged lawyer whose picture-perfect life begins to unravel when a Chilean private detective comes to his seemingly placid town and starts asking questions. Against the backdrop of the military dictatorship and the “Dirty War,” Naishtat approaches this turbulent era in his country’s history obliquely and mysteriously, building a quiet mood of foreboding and impending doom. (Note adapted from Toronto International Film Festival.) Winner, Best Actor (Grandinetti), 2019 Guadalajara International Film Festival; Best Cinematography, Best Director, Best Actor (Grandinetti), 2018 San Sebastián International Film Festival; Official Selection, 2018 Toronto, CPH:PIX, Rotterdam and Miami film festivals, 2019 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. DIR/SCR Benjamín Naishtat; PROD Emmanual Chaumet, Federico Eibuszyc, Rachel Daisy Ellis, Barbara Sarasola-Day, Marleen Slot, Ingmar Trost, Dan Wechsler, Jamal Zeinal Zade. Argentina/Brazil/France/Netherlands/Germany/Belgium/Switzerland, 2018, color, 109 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED
THE QUIETUDE [LA QUIETUD] Fri, Sept. 27, 7:15 p.m.; Sun, Sept. 29, 9:30 p.m.; Tue, Oct. 1, 9:20 p.m.
In Pablo Trapero’s daring follow-up to THE CLAN, sisters Mia and Eugenia, played by Martina GusmÃ¡n (LION’S DEN) and Oscar® nominee Bérénice Bejo (THE ARTIST) respectively, reunite when their father suffers a stroke. Eugenia returns to the family estate, where Mia has been living with their parents, enduring a tense relationship with their mother Esmeralda (Graciela Borges, LA CIENEGA). The reunion between the three women is bittersweet, and the disconcertingly close sisters quickly clash over petty disagreements, while long-buried grievances and dark family secrets bubble to the surface. Set against the backdrop of Argentina’s bloody military dictatorship, THE QUIETUDE infuses family drama with a political dimension and the tragic underpinnings to match, crafting a disquieting and compelling of a family in turmoil. Official Selection, 2018 Venice, Toronto, Hong Kong and Palm Springs film festivals. DIR/SCR/PROD Pablo Trapero; PROD Axel Kuschevatzky. Argentina, 2018, color, 111 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. RATED R
LET IT BE LAW [QUE SEA LEY] Sun, Sept. 29, 5:45 p.m. Dozens of women waving green handkerchiefs walked the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival in May for the world premiere of this powerful documentary, directed by Juan Solanas (NORTHEAST, UPSIDE DOWN). Symbolic of Argentina’s growing pro-choice movement, the color green appears throughout the film, as Solanas documents the impressive fight waged by women across the county in the run-up to a parliamentary vote on a bill to decriminalize abortion and provide it free of charge in national clinics. Combining searing personal testimonies with footage of mass mobilizations in support of the bill, LET IT BE LAW documents the determination of women working to secure the right to physical self-determination, revealing an urgent, vital and ongoing struggle. Official Selection, 2019 Cannes and San Sebastián film festivals. DIR/SCR/PROD Juan Solanas; PROD Victoria Solanas. Argentina/France/Uruguay, 2019, color, 86 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED
I MISS YOU (2019) [TU ME MANQUES] Sun, Sept. 22, 4:00 p.m.; Tue, Sept. 24, 5:15 p.m.; Thurs, Sept. 26, 5:15 p.m.
After the sudden loss of his son Gabriel, Jorge (Oscar Martínez, THE DISTINGUISHED CITIZEN, WILD TALES) travels from his home in Bolivia to New York looking for closure from Sebastian, Gabriel’s boyfriend he never knew existed. Unsurprisingly, the two men clash over Jorge’s inability to accept his son for his true identity. Meanwhile, Sebastian channels his pain into a play to honor his lost love. Working through his own grief, Jorge befriends Rosaura, played by the ever-resplendent Pedro Almodóvar muse, Rossy de Palma (WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN). Adapted from his own 2015 hit play, writer/director Rodrigo Bellott’s gripping drama is an important tale of acceptance and the power of art. Official Selection, 2019 Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ Film Festival. DIR/SCR/PROD Rodrigo Bellott; PROD Elisa Lleras, Rodrigo A. Orozco. Bolivia/U.S., 2019, color, 105 min. In English and Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED
A TASTE OF SKY Sat, Sept. 28, 2:15 p.m.; Sun, Sept. 29, 12:20 p.m.
Danish culinary entrepreneur and Noma co-founder Claus Meyer has kickstarted a gastronomic revolution in Bolivia’s capital of La Paz with the opening of Gustu, a fine-dining restaurant and cooking school for the country’s impoverished youth. Kenzo, a hunter raised in the Bolivian Amazon, and Maria Claudia, a native of the Andean altiplano, have resettled in La Paz to pursue careers in the culinary arts. Under the tutelage of Meyer, these young Bolivians work toward a better future as they attempt to establish their country as the world’s next great culinary destination. This sumptuous documentary is an inspiring story of resilience and mentorship, viewed through the powerful lens of food. More than just a delicious documentary, it is a celebration of the art of gastronomy and the importance of paying opportunities forward. (Note adapted from Tribeca Film Festival.) Official Selection, 2019 CPH:DOX and Tribeca film festivals. DIR/SCR/PROD Michael Yuchen Lei; PROD Abby Davis, Kevin Iwashina, Jess Kwan, Andrew Renzi. U.S./Bolivia/Denmark, 2019, color, 85 min. In English and Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED
Sneak Preview WAITING FOR THE CARNIVAL [ESTOU ME GUARDANDO PARA QUANDO O CARNAVAL CHEGAR] Sat, Sept. 14, 2:30 p.m.; Mon, Sept. 16, 7:15 p.m.
Marcelo Gomes (JOAQUIM, ONCE UPON A TIME VERONICA) makes the transition from narrative to documentary with this warm, honest and intimate look at life in Toritama, the self-proclaimed “jeans capital” of Brazil. Most of the city’s 40,000 inhabitants are involved in the production of the 20 million pairs of jeans manufactured there each year — cutting, sewing, pressing, tearing and folding, both in the town’s textile factories and in make-shift workshops in private garages and backyards, where the workers are independent, but under no less pressure to keep up with demand. However, once a year Carnival arrives, and their constant routine is upended as the town empties onto nearby beaches to enjoy the festivities. For a brief moment, the city’s laws of supply and demand cease as the whole community forfeits valuable work hours, sells belongings and does everything possible to enjoy the holiday before a new work cycle begins. Official Selection, 2019 Berlin International Film Festival. DIR/SCR Marcelo Gomes; PROD João Vieira Jr., Nara Aragão. Brazil, 2019, color, 86 min. In Portuguese with English subtitles. NOT RATED
MARIGHELLA (2019) Sat, Sept. 14, 7:15 p.m.; Mon, Sept. 16, 7:30 p.m.
Produced by Fernando Meirelles (CITY OF GOD), the directorial debut of journalist, musician and actor Wagner Moura (ELITE SQUAD, NARCOS) stars screen and music icon Seu Jorge (CITY OF GOD, THE LIFE AQUATIC WITH STEVE ZISSOU) as Afro-Brazilian poet and revolutionary Carlos Marighella. Set during the brutal, right-wing dictatorship which followed the military coup of 1964, MARIGHELLA is an absorbing, action-packed portrait of one of Brazil’s most divisive historical figures. Leading the Ação Libertadora Nacional (National Liberation Action) in an armed struggle against the regime, Marighella evades capture again and again as he is relentlessly pursued by the state. Highly controversial in Brazil, where the film remains unreleased, MARIGHELLA is a timely examination of a painful historical moment with powerful resonance in the present. Official Selection, 2019 Berlin, Hong Kong and Seattle film festivals. DIR/SCR/PROD Wagner Moura; SCR Felipe Braga, from the biography by Mário Magalhães; PROD Bel Berlinck, Andrea Barata Ribeiro, Fernando Meirelles. Brazil, 2019, color, 155 min. In Portuguese with English subtitles. NOT RATED
THE EDGE OF DEMOCRACY [DEMOCRACIA EM VERTIGEM] Sat, Sept. 21, 2:30 p.m.; Tue, Sept. 24, 7:15 p.m.
Once a nation crippled by military dictatorship, Brazil found its democratic footing in 1985 and then, in 2002, elected a hugely popular political disrupter: steel worker-turned-activist Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva. Under his watch, 20 million Brazilians were lifted out of poverty, and the country rose to international prominence. In 2010, Lula passed the presidential baton to his prodigy, a fierce female guerrilla named Dilma Rousseff. But beneath their sunny legacy, rumblings of populist rage and institutional corruption seeped into the mainstream — much of it abetted by a partisan judge who fed news outlets sensational, deeply flawed corruption reports that targeted Lula, Dilma and anyone else who refused to scratch the backs of powerful politicians and special-interest groups. With remarkably intimate access, this sharp documentary, directed by Petra Costa (ELENA), follows Brazil’s embattled leaders as they grapple with a scandal born out of their country’s fascist past and inflamed by a furious and ideologically divided nation. (Note adapted from the Sundance Film Festival.) Official Selection, 2019 Sundance, CPH:DOX, San Francisco and Hot Docs film festivals. DIR/SCR/PROD Petra Costa; SCR Carol Pires, David Barker, Moara Passoni; PROD Shane Boris, Joanna Natasegara, Tiago Pavan. Brazil, 2019, color, 113 min. In Portuguese with English subtitles. NOT RATED
SICK, SICK, SICK [SEM SEU SANGUE] Sun, Sept. 22, 8:45 p.m.; Tue, Sept. 24, 9:45 p.m. In this high-art, high school zombie love story, shy loner Silvia has an electric connection with Artur, the new skateboarding bad boy who’s been kicked out of every other school in town. The chemistry is unmistakable, and the young lovers are inseparable until tragedy strikes. Paralyzed with grief on a family vacation, Silvia turns to voodoo in hopes of bringing Artur back to her by any means necessary. Dreamy and atmospheric, this polished debut takes a meditative approach to genre filmmaking, while exploring the limits of obsession. Official Selection, 2019 Cannes and Karlovy Vary film festivals. DIR/SCR Alice Furtado; SCR Leonardo Levis; PROD Aline Mazzarella, Matheus Peçanha, Thiago Yamachita. Brazil/France/Netherlands, 2019, color, 104 min. In Portuguese and French with English subtitles. NOT RATED
DIVINE LOVE [DIVINO AMOR] Fri, Sept. 27, 9:45 p.m.; Mon, Sept. 30, 7:15 p.m.
Directed by Gabriel Mascaro (NEON BULL), this audacious and unsettling dystopian romance is set in 2027 Brazil, where religious fundamentalism, universal DNA registration and euphoric mega-church dance parties reign supreme. By day, deeply pious 40-something civil servant Joana (Dira Paes) is on a mission to help struggling couples avoid divorce, using her position as a government notary to give special guidance to the potential divorcees who come her way. By night, she is part of Divine Love, an unorthodox — to say the least — couples’ therapy group that she and her husband Danilo (Julio Machado) attend as they struggle to fulfill their dream of becoming parents. But when the miraculous intervenes in their efforts, it seems that no one can truly accept the implications. Winner, Best Feature Film, 2019 Guadalajara International Film Festival; Official Selection, 2019 Sundance, Berlin and Miami film festivals. DIR/SCR Gabriel Mascaro; SCR/PROD Rachel Daisy Ellis; SCR Esdras Bezerra, Lucas Paraizo. Brazil/Uruguay/Denmark/Norway/Chile/Sweden, 2019, color, 101 min. In Portuguese with English subtitles. NOT RATED
LOS REYES Sun, Sept. 15, 7:30 p.m.; Mon, Sept. 16, 5:30 p.m.; Wed, Sept. 18, 7:30 p.m.
The surprise dog-umentary hit of the year, Bettina Perut and Iván Osnovikoff’s delightfully immersive film follows the fortunes of Chola and Football, two stray dogs living in Los Reyes — the oldest skate park in Santiago. Spending their days alongside speeding skateboards and rowdy teenagers, the pair fill their time playing with abandoned balls, finding sticks, trying to stay dry or cool and keeping a watchful eye on the park — all while the confusing world of humans bustles on around them. Originally imagined as a project about the park’s young skaters, Perut and Osnovikoff switched gears when they realized that Chola and Football were becoming the true subjects of their film. But the skaters’ stories remain, unfolding in the artfully captured snippets of conversations and fragments of bodies seen in the environment surrounding the dogs. Winner, Special Jury Award, 2019 IDFA; Official Selection, 2019 Film Comment Selects, Miami, Portland and CPH:DOX film festivals. DIR/SCR/PROD Bettina Perut, Iván Osnovikoff; PROD Maite Alberdi. Chile, 2018, color, 78 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED
TOO LATE TO DIE YOUNG [TARDE PARA MORIR JOVEN] Thurs, Sept. 19, 7:25 p.m.; Sun, Sept. 22, 1:45 p.m.
During the summer of 1990 in Chile, a small group of families lives in an isolated community below the Andes, building a new world away from the urban excesses, buoyed by the emerging freedom that followed the recent end of the dictatorship. In this time of change and reckoning, 16-year-olds Sofía and Lucas and 10-year-old Clara — neighbors in this dry land — struggle with parents, first loves and fears as they prepare for a big party on New Year’s Eve. Winner, Best Director, Locarno Film Festival 2018; KNF Award, Rotterdam International Film Festival 2019; Official Selection, 2018 New York, Mill Valley, London and Chicago film festivals. DIR/SCR/PROD Dominga Sotomayor Castillo; PROD Rodrigo Teixeira. Chile/Brazil/Argentina/Netherlands/Qatar, 2018, color, 110 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED
LEMEBEL Sun, Sept. 29, 1:20 p.m.; Mon, Sept. 30 9:15 p.m.
This intimate, innovative portrait of legendary Chilean activist, poet and performance artist Pedro Lemebel — famous for his outrageous, unapologetically political performances, sharp tongue, flamboyant costumes and groundbreaking media savvy — won the Teddy Award for Best Documentary at this year’s Berlinale. Shot during an eight-year period before Lemebel’s death in 2015, Joanna Reposi Garibaldi’s visual and sonic essay mixes archival materials, personal interviews and home movies to pay tribute to an uncompromising artist who became an emblem of queer culture in Pinochet-era Chile; Lemebel held up a mirror to machismo and homophobia in all walks of Chilean society, spearheading an LGBTQ rights movement that was impossible to ignore. Winner, Teddy Award, Best Documentary, 2019 Berlin International Film Festival; Official Selection, 2019 Guadalajara International Film Festival. DIR/SCR Joanna Reposi Garibaldi; PROD Paula Sáenz-Laguna. Chile/Colombia, 2019, color, 96 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED
THE CORDILLERA OF DREAMS [LA CORDILLERA DE LOS SUEÑOS] Sun, Sept. 29, 3:30 p.m.; Tue, Oct. 1, 5:20 p.m.
When the sun rises in Chile, it has to scale hills and walls of rock before it reaches the peaks of the mountains. Because the Andes are everywhere, and yet they remain unknown territory to most of the country’s inhabitants, Patricio Guzmán (NOSTALGIA FOR THE LIGHT, THE PEARL BUTTON) sets out on a journey through the mountains, his somber narration accompanying elegant aerial shots of their stunning topography. But Guzmán’s Andes are not just an impassive mountain range; the journey along their peaks also serves as a reconstruction of Chile’s history and an attempt at finding lost memory. After exploring the desert and the sea in his previous two films, Guzmán concludes his personal Chilean trilogy with the mountain ranges of his native land and the histories carved into them. (Note adapted from Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.) Winner, Golden Eye Documentary Prize, 2019 Cannes Film Festival; Official Selection, 2019 Munich, Karlovy Vary and Toronto film festivals. DIR/SCR Patricio Guzmán; PROD Renate Sachse. Chile/France, 2019, color, 85 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED
WANDERING GIRL [NIÑA ERRANTE] Fri Sept. 13, 5:30 p.m.; Tue, Sept. 17, 7:30 p.m.
In this warm coming-of-age story, 12-year-old Angela meets her three stepsisters for the first time at the funeral of their free-spirited father. All in their 30s, albeit with vastly distinct perspectives on the world, they have a chance to impart a bit of themselves on their little sister as they travel cross-country to her new home. The sisters’ bond grows strong on the open road as they work through their unique relationships with one another — and with the recently deceased. With an impressive cast of mostly non-professional actors, newcomer Sofia Paz stands out as Angela, signaling a promising career ahead. Winner, Best Film, 2018 Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival; Winner, Best Supporting Actress (Carolina Ramírez), 2019 Málaga Spanish Film Festival; Official Selection, 2019 Miami Film Festival. DIR/SCR Rubén Mendoza; PROD Daniel García. Colombia/France, 2018, color, 82 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED
MONOS Fri, Sept. 13, 7:15 p.m.; Tue, Sept. 17, 9:15 p.m.
This breathtaking survivalist saga set on a remote mountain in Latin America tracks a group of young soldiers and rebels with names like Rambo, Smurf, Bigfoot, Wolf and Boom-Boom who keep watch over an American hostage, Doctora (Julianne Nicholson, I, TONYA). The teenage commandos perform military training exercises by day and indulge in youthful hedonism by night — an unconventional family bound together under a shadowy force known only as The Organization. After an ambush drives them into the jungle, both the mission and the intricate bonds between the group begin to disintegrate. Order descends into chaos, and the strong begin to prey on the weak. With a rapturous score by Mica Levi (JACKIE, UNDER THE SKIN), Colombian-Ecuadorian director Alejandro Landes (PORFIRIO) examines the chaos and absurdity of war from the unique perspective of adolescence. (Note adapted from NEON.) Winner, World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award, 2019 Sundance Film Festival; Winner, Best Original Score, 2019 BAFICI; Official Selection, 2019 Berlin, San Francisco, Seattle and Karlovy Vary film festivals. DIR/SCR/PROD Alejandro Landes; SCR Alexis Dos Santos; PROD Fernando Epstein, Cristina Landes, Santiago A. Zapata. Colombia/Argentina/Netherlands/Germany/Sweden/Uruguay, 2019, color, 102 min. In English and Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED
DAYS OF THE WHALE [LOS DÍAS DE LA BALLENA] Sun, Sept. 22, 1:20 p.m.; Thurs, Sept. 26, 5:30 p.m.
Catalina Arroyave Restrepo’s vibrant, kinetic debut takes place on the streets of Medellín, where Cristina (Laura Isabel Tobón Ochoa) and Simón (David Escallón), two young graffiti artists from very different worlds, fall in love against a backdrop of gang unrest and family drama. Committed members of a socially-minded art collective, the pair finds themselves in trouble after helping to produce a zine critiquing the extortionary practices of a local criminal gang. When the gang retaliates by defacing a wall at an old house that the collective uses as a refuge, Cristina and Simón decide to rebel by covering the threatening graffiti with a beautiful painting of a whale. This honest and exuberant coming-of-age tale paints a picture of youth as joyous as it is challenging. Winner, CherryPicks Female First Feature Award and Special Jury Mention, 2019 SXSW Film Festival; Official Selection, 2019 Buenos Aires and Cartagena film festivals. DIR/SCR Catalina Arroyave Restrepo; PROD Jaime Guerrero Naudin, Natalia Agudelo, Nicolás Herreño. Colombia,
HELMET HEADS [CASCOS INDOMABLES] Fri, Sept. 13, 9:30 p.m.; Tue, Sept. 17, 9:45 p.m.; Wed, Sept. 18, 5:30 p.m.
Mancha is an easygoing bike messenger with no big expectations in life. His only cares in the world are riding his motorcycle, being with his girlfriend Clara and hanging out with his fellow messengers. His carefree existence is disrupted when he and his friends are all fired, and Clara tells him she is moving to Horse Island — a place that doesn’t allow any motorcycles. Faced with no other job prospects, Mancha forms a debt-collecting biker gang with his messenger buddies to try and preserve his way of life and win back Clara. (Note adapted from Visit Films.) Official Selection, 2018 Toronto International Film Festival, 2019 Miami and Santa Barbara film festivals. DIR/SCR/PROD Ernesto Villalobos; PROD Karina Avellan, Marcelo Quesada. Costa Rica/Chile, 2018, color, 84 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED
THE AWAKENING OF THE ANTS [EL DESPERTAR DE LAS HORMIGAS] Sat, Sept. 28, 4:15 p.m.; Mon, Sept. 30, 5:30 p.m.
Q&A with filmmaker Antonella Sudasassi Furniss on Sept 28 In this subtle, arresting portrait of a young woman’s emancipation, Isa (Daniella Valenciano) lives with her husband Alcides (Leynar Gomez) and their two young daughters in a small Costa Rican town, surrounded by loving family and friends. But when Alcides begins to pressure Isa to have a third child — a son — her world slowly begins to unravel. The idea of cutting back on her burgeoning dressmaking business to allow her to care for another child is not something Isa relishes, but her concern seems to float right over Alcides’ head. As her feelings of desperation intensify, Isa takes fate into her own hands. Mixing naturalistic details of family life with surreal flourishes, THE AWAKENING OF THE ANTS compassionately charts Isa’s determined journey to carve her own path. Winner, Best Costa Rican Film, 2019 Costa Rica International Film Festival; Winner, Ibero American Competition Award, 2019 Seattle International Film Festival; Official Selection, 2019 Berlin International Film Festival. DIR/SCR Antonella Sudasassi Furniss; PROD Amaya Izquierdo. Costa Rica/Spain, 2019, color, 94 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED
BEFORE THE FERRY ARRIVES [ANTES QUE LLEGUE EL FERRY] Sat, Sept. 14, 12:00 p.m.; Sun, Sept. 15, 9:20 p.m.
Exploring the sense of expectation and ambiguity experienced by Cubans when it was announced in 2015 that, after more than 50 years, a ferry service would resume between U.S. and Cuba, BEFORE THE FERRY ARRIVES is a smart portrait of a near-future Havana still in the midst of the restoration of U.S.-Cuba relations. Bold in form and structure and mixing elements of animation with live action, experimental and documentary film, the debut of directing trio Juan Caunedo, Vladimir García and Raúl Escobar Delgado is a dark comedy that captures a time of uncertainty, as Cuba continues to wait for the first ferry to arrive. (Note adapted from Habanero Film Sales.) Official Selection, 2018 Ventana Sur and BAFICI film festivals, 2019 Málaga Spanish Film Festival. DIR/SCR/PROD Juan Caunedo Domínguez, Vladimir García Herrera; DIR/SCR Raul Escobar Delgado. Cuba/Spain, 2018, color, 84 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED
HAVANA, FROM ON HIGH Sun, Sept. 15, 5:45 p.m.; Tue, Sept. 17, 5:30 p.m.
Nestled above a decaying district of Havana is a secret village, hidden from the clamor of the streets below, where life spills out onto the rooftops. These makeshift houses are inhabited by Arturo, Tita, Pedro, Lala, Roberto, José, Reynol, Juan, Alejandro, María and Omar. Like many others in Central Havana, they have been forced upward by the chronic housing shortage. From their perch atop the city, these resilient and remarkable residents bear witness to a society that is in the process of a major historical transformation after more than 58 years of revolutionary government. (Note adapted from Faits Divers Média.) Official Selection, 2019 Guadalajara and Hot Docs film festivals. DIR/PROD Pedro Ruiz; PROD Arantza Maldonado. Cuba/Canada, 2019, color, 80 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED
ON THE STARTING LINE [LA ARRANCADA]
Sun, Sept. 22, 12:30 p.m.; Tue, Sept. 24, 5:45 p.m.
Brazilian filmmaker Aldemar Matias crafts a sensitive snapshot of family life amidst cultural transition in this portrait of a young runner facing uncertainty about her future on Cuba’s national team. With her father in prison, Jenniffer lives with her doting mother Marbelis – the strong-willed manager of a government fumigation center — and her adventurous brother Yeyo, who is preparing to move to Chile. A recent injury has led Jenniffer to consider quitting her athletic career — but she’s equally unsure about finding her place as part of a generation torn between tradition and modernity. Seen from the perspective of a mother and daughter navigating various crossroads together, this quietly powerful, subtly humorous and poignant documentary is a thought-provoking insight into daily Cuban life. Official Selection, 2019 Berlin International Film Festival. DIR/SCR Aldemar Matias; PROD David Hurst. Cuba/Brazil/France, 2019, color, 63 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED
HOLY BEASTS [LA FIERA Y LA FIESTA]
Fri, Sept. 20, 9:30 p.m.; Mon, Sept. 23, 7:30 p.m.
In this dark and playful metafiction, filmmakers Laura Amelia Guzmán and Israel Cárdenas (SAMBA, SAND DOLLARS) revive the memory of cult director Jean-Louis Jorge, a well-known figure in his home county of the Dominican Republic, where his transgressive body of work is often seen as a precursor to Pedro Almodóvar. Reuniting a group of old friends who ran with Jorge in the 1970s, the film tracks their attempt to shoot his unfinished film — an outlandish musical entitled LA FIERA Y LA FIESTA. Former starlet and muse Vera V (Geraldine Chaplin) assumes the role of director, while producer Victor (Jaime Pina) sets out to find financing, and Vera’s longtime choreographer Henry (Udo Kier) oversees the complex musical numbers. However, when shooting commences, reality, fantasy, fiction and memory begin to merge as conflict seeps into the troubled production. Official Selection, 2019 Berlin International Film Festival. DIR/SCR/PROD Laura Amelia Guzmán, Israel Cárdenas; PROD Rafael Elias Munoz, Gabriel Tineo. Dominican Republic/Argentina/Mexico, 2019, color, 90 min. In English, Spanish and French with English subtitles. NOT RATED
THE PROJECTIONIST (2019) [EL PROYECCIONISTA] Sat, Sept. 21, 5:00 p.m.; Tue, Sept. 24, 9:15 p.m.
José María Cabral’s follow-up to 2017’s WOODPECKERS is a road movie infused with a love of cinema. Lonely and isolated, Eliseo is a projectionist infatuated with a woman he sees on a particular reel of film. After the reel is lost in an accident, Eliseo is plunged into a search for the woman’s true identity. Setting out across the most remote and poorest areas of the Dominican Republic, Eliseo must appeal to all he knows as he hunts for clues. Picking up a reluctant protégé on his journey, he embarks on a trip that will not only open his mind, but also his heart. Official Selection, 2019 Miami Film Festival. DIR/SCR/PROD José María Cabral; PROD Juan Basanta. Dominican Republic, 2019, color, 94 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED
DE LO MIO Sat, Sept. 28, 12:00 p.m.; Tue, Oct. 2, 5:20 p.m.
Sibling bonds are both rekindled and tested in the achingly alive feature debut from Diana Peralta. Rita (Sasha Merci) and Carolina (Darlene Demorizi), two high-spirited sisters raised in New York, travel to the Dominican Republic to reunite with their estranged brother Dante (Héctor Aníbal) and to clean out their grandparents’ old home before it is sold. As they rifle through the remnants of their family’s legacy, shared joys, pains and traumas resurface that they must confront once and for all. Sensitively attuned to the intricacies of sibling relationships — from the playful teasing to the way a favorite childhood song can trigger an impromptu dance party — DE LO MIO is a richly human look at cherishing the past while learning to let go. (Note adapted from BAMcinemaFest.) Official Selection, 2019 Los Angeles Latino, BAMcinemaFest and New York Latino film festivals. DIR/SCR Diana Peralta; PROD Alexandra Byer, Michelle Peralta. U.S., 2019, color, 74 min. In English and Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED
THE LONGEST NIGHT (2019) [LA MALA NOCHE] Mon, Sept. 30, 9:30 p.m.; Wed, Oct. 2, 9:00 p.m.
Sex worker Dana (Noëlle Schönwald) pours all of her earnings — and more — into the costly, life-saving treatments which sustain her critically-ill daughter in Colombia. Increasingly in debt to her contemptible ex-lover and current pimp (Jaime Tamariz) — a local kingpin who trafficks young girls, Dana is also wrestling with opioid addiction. When she sees a glimmer of hope in a client with whom she forges a strong bond, she decides to plan an escape. Completely frank and free of judgement, Gabriela Calvache’s striking narrative debut is a shrewd, tough look at the devastating impacts of human trafficking and sex slavery. Winner, Best International Feature, 2019 New York Latino Film Festival; Official Selection, 2019 SXSW, Guadalajara and Edinburgh film festivals. DIR/SCR/PROD Gabriela Calvache; PROD Geminiano Pineda. Ecuador/Mexico, 2019, color, 94 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED
CACHADA: THE OPPORTUNITY Sun, Sept. 29, 7:45 p.m.; Mon, Sept. 30, 5:20 p.m.
Five courageous Salvadoran women — poor, single mothers working as street vendors — have decided to embark on an unlikely dream: they want to become theater actresses. After forming their own company, they undertake the challenge of putting on a play to channel their tough life stories on stage. What begins as an experiment turns into an opportunity to transform their lives, but will they be able to face the past and overcome their fears, traumas and dark secrets? Filmed over 18 months, this intimate, observational documentary bears witness to the process the women undergo while creating their play, as they discover themselves as victims and victimizers in a cycle of multigenerational violence and start a journey toward healing. (Note adapted from La Jaula Abierta Films.) Winner, Audience Award, Global Section, 2019 SXSW Film Festival; Winner, Latitud Award, 2019 DocsBarcelona. DIR/SCR/PROD Marlén Viñayo; PROD André R. Guttfreund. El Salvador, 2019, color, 82 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED
Guatemala JOSÉ (2018)
Sat, Sept. 21, 1:20 p.m.; Wed, Sept. 25, 9:15 p.m.
José (magnetic newcomer Enrique Salanic) lives with his mother (Ana Cecilia Mota) in Guatemala City, where he ekes out a living working at a restaurant, while she sells sandwiches at bus stops. In a country dominated by the conservative views of the church, living as an openly gay man is hard for José to imagine. But when he meets the attractive and gentle Luis (Manolo Herrera), a migrant from the rural Caribbean coast, they pursue an unexpected relationship, which pushes José to rethink his life and identity. This neorealist tale is both a nuanced look at being gay in Central America and a gripping and beautifully honest story about one young man’s struggle to find himself. (Note adapted from Outsider Pictures.) Winner, Queer Lion, 2018 Venice Film Festival; Official Selection, 2019 Santa Barbara, Glasgow, Dublin, Miami, San Diego Latino, Hong Kong, Chicago Latino and OUTshine film festivals. DIR/SCR/PROD Li Cheng; SCR/PROD George F. Roberson. Guatemala/U.S., 2018, color, 85 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED
TEMBLORES Sat, Sept. 28, 6:15 p.m.; Tue, Oct. 1, 7:30 p.m.
In this extraordinary follow-up to his landmark debut IXCANUL, Jayro Bustamante shifts his focus from rural Guatemala to the denizens of Guatemala City, once again setting his sights on an individual caught between two ostensibly irreconcilable worlds. When handsome and charismatic Pablo (Juan Pablo Olyslager) arrives at his affluent family’s home, everyone is eagerly awaiting the return of their beloved son, devoted father and caring husband. When Pablo — a seemingly exemplary pillar of Guatemala City’s Evangelical Christian community — announces that he intends to leave his wife for another man, it sends shock waves through the family. As he tries to acclimate to his new life in the city’s gay subculture with the liberated Francisco (Mauricio Armas Zebadúa), his ultra-religious family does everything in its power to get their prodigal son back on track — no matter the cost. (Note adapted from Film Movement.) Winner, Best Cinematography, 2019 Guadalajara International Film Festival; Official Selection, 2019 Berlin, Miami, Seattle, Frameline and Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ film festivals. DIR/SCR/PROD Jayro Bustamante; PROD Gérard Lacroix, De Jesus Peralta Orellana Marina, Nicolas Steil, Edgard Tenembaum. Guatemala/France/Luxembourg, 2019, color, 107 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED
THE CHAMBERMAID (2018) [LA CAMARISTA] Tue, Sept. 17, 7:15 p.m.; Thurs, Sept. 19, 5:15 p.m.
In her multi-award-winning feature debut, theater director Lila Avilés turns the monotonous workday of Eve (Gabriela Cartol), a chambermaid at a high-end Mexico City hotel, into a beautifully observed film rich with detail. Set entirely in an alienating hotel environment with extended scenes taking place in the guest rooms, hallways and cleaning facilities, this minimalist, yet sumptuous, movie brings to the fore Eve’s hopes, dreams and desires. As with Alfonso Cuarón’s ROMA, which is set in the same city, THE CHAMBERMAID salutes the invisible women caretakers who are the hard-working backbone of society. (Note adapted from New Directors/New Films.) Winner, Best First Feature, 2019 Ariel Awards; Winner, Best First Work, 2019 Havana Film Festival; Winner, Jury Prize, 2018 Marrakech International Film Festival; Winner, Best Mexican Feature Film, 2018 Morelia International Film Festival; Winner, Cine Latino Award, 2018 Palm Springs International Film Festival; Winner, Best New Director, 2018 Portland International Film Festival; Winner, Golden Gate Award, 2018 San Francisco International Film Festival; Official Selection, 2018 San Sebastián, Toronto, London and AFI FEST film festivals; 2019 New Directors/New Films. DIR/SCR/PROD Lila Avilés; SCR Juan Carlos Marquéz; PROD Tatiana Graullera. Mexico/U.S., 2018, color, 102 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED
THE GOOD GIRLS [LAS NIÑAS BIEN]
Fri, Sept. 20, 7:15 p.m.; Mon, Sept. 23, 5:15 p.m.
*Post-screening reception sponsored by the Mexican Cultural Institute on Sept 20 This meticulously crafted, vibrant social satire from Alejandra Márquez Abella (SEMANA SANTA) examines Mexico’s crumbling upper-middle class during the country’s 1982 debt crisis through the unravelling of one woman’s perfectly-manicured world. Sofia (Ilse Salas) and Fernando (Flavio Medina) have everything — houses, cars, servants and impeccable taste. But when Fernando’s inherited family business begins to go downhill, cracks start appearing in their perfect façade, and the world around them slowly — imperceptibly at first — shifts. As the money depletes and they’re faced with financial strain, Sofia’s status as queen bee among her cliquey, well-to-do friends takes a nosedive. But as everything she once valued is falling apart, Sofia begins to realize that there might be more to life than she thought. Winner, Best Actress (Ilse Salas), 2018 Havana Film Festival; winner, Best Actress (Salas), Best Costume Design, Best Make-Up and Best Original Music, 2019 Ariel Awards; Winner, Directors to Watch Award, 2019 Palm Springs International Film Festival; Winner, Special Jury Prize, Ibero American Competition, Seattle International Film Festival; Official Selection, 2018 Toronto, Rome, Chicago and Morelia film festivals. DIR/SCR Alejandra Márquez Abella; PROD Maria Jose Cordova, Rodrigo Sebastian González, Rafael Ley, Gabriela Maire. Mexico, 2018, color, 93 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED
TIGERS ARE NOT AFRAID [VUELVEN]
Tue, Sept. 24, 7:30 p.m.; Thurs, Sept. 26, 9:45 p.m.; Sun, Sept. 29, 9:45 p.m.
Issa López’s (CASI DIVAS) acclaimed third feature was declared as one of the 19 best films of 2017 by Guillermo del Toro and has found fans in such giants of the horror and fantasy worlds as Stephen King and Neil Gaiman. Ten-year-old Estrella is followed by the ghost of her mother, who was killed by a local cartel. She joins a gang of children orphaned by Mexico’s drug violence, and when the cartel targets them, supernatural forces come to their aid. This dark fable has been compared to everything from CITY OF LOST CHILDREN to PAN’S LABYRINTH and marks a bold new voice in genre cinema. Winner, Best Director, 2017 Fantastic Fest; Winner, Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress (Paola Lara), Best Actor and Best Editing, 2017 Screamfest; Winner, Best Film, Best Director and Best Child Actor (Lara), 2018 Mexican Cinema Journalists Awards; Official Selection, 2018 Neuchâtel, Bucheon International Fantastic and Chicago Latino film festivals. DIR/SCR Issa López; PROD Marco Polo Constandse. Mexico, 2017, color, 83 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED
MIDNIGHT FAMILY Sat, Sept. 28, 1:05 p.m.; Wed, Oct. 2, 7:05 p.m.
With nine million residents and only 45 government-provided ambulances, Mexico City’s population must rely on a cutthroat industry of private, for-profit paramedics. This immersive documentary transports you into the Ochoa Family Ambulance — and into the heart of the frenzied action, as the unlicensed EMTs barrel through the streets, chasing their next patient. As the camera catches intimate family moments between father and sons, it also captures the crucial and painful decisions faced when they have to balance their own survival with that of their patients. Winner, Special Jury Award for Cinematography, 2019 Sundance Film Festival; Winner, Grand Jury Award, 2019 Sheffield Doc Fest; Special Mention, 2019 CPH:DOX; Winner, Best Documentary Feature, 2019 Guadalajara International Film Festival; Winner, Best Documentary, 2019 Hong Kong International Film Festival; Official Selection, 2019 Sarasota, Montclair, Jerusalem, Hot Docs, Full Frame and AFI DOCS film festivals. DIR/SCR/PROD Luke Lorentzen; PROD Kellen Quinn, Daniela Alatorre, Elena Fortes. Mexico/U.S., 2019, color, 81 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED
THE GASOLINE THIEVES [HUACHICOLERO] Sat, Sept. 28, 9:20 p.m.
Living with his mother and working as a farmhand, 14-year-old Lalo (Eduardo Banda) believes buying a smartphone for his high-school crush is the only surefire way to her heart. When his mother must use his savings to pay medical bills, Lalo decides to approach the local huachicoleros for help, who quickly enlist his aid in their business of illegally siphoning gas to take advantage of the country’s shortage and re-sell on the black market. As Lalo naively becomes more involved with the huachicoleros’ work, an uneasy air of violence pervades the world around him, while investigators narrow their search for those responsible. (Note adapted from Tribeca Film Festival.) Official Selection, 2019 Tribeca Film Festival and Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival. DIR/SCR Edgar Nito; SCR Alfredo Mendoza; PROD Victor Leycegui, Annick Mahnert, Joshua Sobel. Mexico/Spain/UK/U.S., 2019, color, 93 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED
CHICUAROTES Tue, Oct. 1, 7:15 p.m.
Gael García Bernal’s sophomore feature, following 2007’s DEFICIT, is a gritty melodrama with comic flourishes, which centers on the fortunes of Cagalera (Benny Emmanuel) and Moloteco (Gabriel Carbajal) — two inseparable teens from San Gregorio Atlapulco, a Mexico City neighborhood still struggling to rebuild after the 2016 earthquake. Desperate to get out, the pair strive to buy a place in the electrician’s union and earn some serious cash, and decide to take a shot at the opportunity by any means necessary. But those means quickly take a turn for the criminal as the friends get swept into a spiral of lies and deception from which there seems to be no escape. Official Selection, 2019 Cannes, Shanghai, San Sebastián and Santiago film festivals. DIR/PROD Gael García Bernal; SCR Augusto Mendoza; PROD Marta Núñez Puerto, Thomas Benski. Mexico, 2019, color, 95 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED
CLEAN HANDS (2019) [MANOS LIMPIAS]
Sun, Sept. 22, 6:45 p.m.; Wed, Sept. 25, 5:15 p.m.
Q&A with filmmaker Michael Dominic on Sept 22 Shot over the course of seven years, CLEAN HANDS documents the human drama, personal struggle, innocence and salvation of one family in Nicaragua surviving against the backdrop of Central America’s largest garbage dump, La Chureca. The children have never been to school, and their mother Blanca is often overcome with rage. When an American philanthropist hears of their plight, she builds them a small house in the country on a plot of land they can farm. But as the family adjusts to their new surroundings, life grows even more complicated. (Note adapted from Chicago Latino Film Festival.) Winner, Best Documentary, 2019 Cinequest San Jose Film Festival; Winner, Jury Award, Best Documentary, 2019 San Diego Latino Film Festival; Winner, Best Documentary, New York Latino Film Festival; Official Selection, 2019 Chicago Latino Film Festival. DIR/SCR/PROD Michael Dominic. Nicaragua/U.S., 2019, color, 98 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED
INLAND (2019) [TIERRA ADENTRO] Sun, Sept. 29, 11:30 a.m.; Tue, Oct. 1, 5:30 p.m.
In his documentary feature debut, filmmaker Mauro Colombo immerses himself in the Darién Gap, a dense and mysterious jungle that divides Panama and Colombia. At the dangerous border between the two countries, guerrillas, immigrants, indigenous people, farmers, drug traffickers, local police and wild animals cross paths. Colombo approaches the jungle and its array of characters from an anthropological perspective and focuses on finding meaning in this no man’s land as a metaphor for the wildness within us. INLAND is an urgent, political film, recording the deforestation of this area, which affects not only the locals living there, but also the whole world. It transports the spectator to the heart of the conflict and allows viewers to experience the intensity of the jungle itself. (Note adapted from Curaçao International Film Festival Rotterdam.) Winner, Best Documentary, 2019 Panama International Film Festival; Winner, Yellow Robin Award, 2019 Curaçao International Film Festival Rotterdam. DIR/SCR Mauro Colombo; PROD Abner Benaim. Panama, 2019, color, 70 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED
ORIGINAL SIN (2018) [PECADO ORIGINAL] Sat, Sept. 21, 6:30 p.m.; Mon, Sept. 23, 9:30 p.m.
Eva, a sexually frustrated housewife, seduces local artist Luis when he drops off one of his paintings, only to be caught in the act by her priggish husband Adrian, who has come home early after a failed attempt at a promotion. In a curious turn of events, Adrian decides to challenge Luis to a series of increasingly ridiculous competitions to assert his manliness and try to win back his wife. This debut film is a riot, with the absurdity of fragile masculinity on full display. Winner, Best Foreign Film, 2018 Downtown Film Festival Los Angeles; Winner, Best Comedy, 2018 Milan International Filmmaker Festival; Winner, Best Actress (Maia Nikiphoroff), 2018 Lakecity International Film Festival; Official Selection, 2019 Chicago Latino and Cinequest San Jose film festivals. DIR/SCR/PROD Jean Lee; SCR/PROD Maia Nikiphoroff; PROD Miriam Louise Arens, Álvar Carretero de la Fuente, Cesar Di Bello. Paraguay/U.S., 2018, color, 75 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED
SETTING THE BAR: A CRAFT CHOCOLATE ORIGIN STORY
Sat, Sept. 14, 4:30 p.m.
Q&A with filmmaker Tim Shephard, plus post-screening chocolate tasting With an eye toward ecological sustainability and creating high-grade, premium artisanal chocolate, a small group of craft chocolate makers takes their annual pilgrimage to the forests of Peru to work with local farmers on growing and harvesting the best cacao the land can produce. The stability of these communities depends on the harvest, and economic sustainability is just as important as ecological responsibility. Marking a global resurgence in the craft chocolate world, this intimate look at a group of impassioned workers and enthusiasts is a tale of hope and prosperity, full of beautiful images and personal stories from the artisans making it possible. Official Selection, 2019 Guadalajara International Film Festival. DIR/SCR Tim Shephard; PROD Amy Burns. U.S., 2019, color, 84 min. In English and Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED
North American Premiere
SONG WITHOUT A NAME [CANCIÓN SIN NOMBRE]
Thurs, Sept. 26, 7:30 p.m.; Sun Sept. 29, 7:30 p.m.
Post-screening reception sponsored by the Embassy of Peru on Sept 26 Melina León became the first female Peruvian director to screen a film at the Cannes Film Festival with this breathtaking noir-tinged debut, inspired by a real child trafficking case reported on by her father, journalist Ismael León, at the height of Peru’s political crisis during the 1980s. Shot in stunning black and white to reflect news footage of the period, SONG WITHOUT A NAME follows Georgina (Pamela Mendoza), a young Quechua woman whose newborn baby is snatched away moments after its birth in a downtown Lima clinic, where she had been lured by the promise of free medical assistance. Stonewalled by a Kafkaesque and indifferent legal system, Georgina’s desperate search leads in circles until she approaches journalist Pedro Campas (Tommy Párraga), a man struggling with his own deep distrust of the authorities. As Pedro uncovers a tangled web of fake clinics and abductions, it is clear that the corruption runs deep and that pursuing the story means risking everything. Winner, CineVision Award, 2019 Munich Film Festival; Official Selection, 2019 Cannes Film Festival. DIR/SCR/PROD Melina León; SCR/PROD Michael J. White; PROD Inti Briones. Peru/Spain/U.S./Chile, 2019, b&w, 97 min. In Spanish and Quechua with English subtitles. NOT RATED
North American Premiere
LISBON BEAT [BATIDA DE LISBOA]
Sat, Sept. 28, 7:00 p.m.; Wed, Oct. 2, 5:30 p.m.
Post-screening wine reception sponsored by the Embassy of Portugal on Sept 28 On the outskirts of Lisbon, an underground electronic music scene is exploding, as contemporary Afro-Portuguese sounds draw from myriad influences, giving traditional roots a modern twist. This raw, energetic look at a burgeoning movement spans generations and chronicles a creative community as it struggles to find an identity and a place within its own city. Filmed with an insider’s perspective — Lisbon-born, London-based Rita Maia is a club DJ and Vasco Viana is a cinematographer, LISBON BEAT invites you to join a party that never ends. Winner, 2019 IndieLisboa IndieMusic Award 2019; Official Selection, 2019 Sheffield Doc/Fest. DIR/SCR Rita Maia, Vasco Viana; PROD João Matos, Leonor Noivo, Luísa Homem, Pedro Pinho, Susana Nobre, Tiago Hespanha. Portugal, 2019, color, 65 min. In English, Portuguese and Creole with English subtitles. NOT RATE
THE SPARRING PARTNER [EL CHATA] Mon, Sept. 23, 9:25 p.m.; Wed, Sept. 25, 7:30 p.m.
Although Samuel has enough talent to be a boxing champion, he seems destined to receive blows like a punching bag, as a mere sparring partner. His former coach Joe, who is training a new prospect, decides to put him to the test. Unable to feed his family and with temptations all around him, Samuel only thinks about getting back in the ring to prove that his time in prison has changed him and that he is reformed and determined to win back his family’s affections. However, back in the old neighborhood once again, he learns the hard way that a fresh start won’t be so easy and that he has no alternative but to keep his gloves on at all times. While the possibility of migrating seems to offer a fresh start, Samuel knows that no matter where he goes, he will never be able to escape his turbulent past. (Note adapted from Studio Creativo.) Honorable Mention, Best Narrative Feature, World Cinema, 2018 Urban World Film Festival; Official Selection, 2018 International Film Festival Rotterdam and Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival. DIR/SCR/PROD Gustavo Ramos Perales; SCR Xenia Rivery; PROD Carmen E. Díaz. Puerto Rico, 2018, color, 75 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED
NOTES FOR A HEIST FILM [APUNTES PARA UNA PELICULA DE ATRACOS]
Sun, Sept. 15, 3:15 p.m.; Thurs, Sept. 19, 9:45 p.m.
Q&A with filmmaker Elías León Siminiani on Sept 15 Documentary filmmaker Elías León Siminiani (MAPA) has always fantasized about making a heist film. After a thwarted Madrid bank robbery in 2013 leads to the arrest of notorious gang leader Flako, “Robin Hood of Vallecas,” he decides to contact the jailed bandit. Much to his surprise, he receives a reply and embarks on a friendship with the infamous heist-master. Blending video diary with animated sequences and archival footage, Siminiani crafts a stranger-than-fiction homage to the heist film. Official Selection, 2018 San Sebastián International Film Festival; 2019 Guadalajara and BAFICI film festivals. DIR/SCR Elías León Siminiani; PROD Stefan Schmitz, María Zamora. Spain, 2018, color, 90 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED
THE SHARKS (2019) [LOS TIBURONES] Fri, Sept. 20, 5:30 p.m.; Wed, Sept. 25, 7:15 p.m.
Rosina ticks away the days of a restless summer in her sleepy beachside town, until she spots an ominous dorsal fin on one of her habitual ocean swims. Though many are unsure whether her encounter was real, rumors of sharks spread and unsettle the town. Unperturbed by the panic, Rosina shifts her focus to her summer job and her enigmatic coworker, Joselo, who ignites in her an odd, conflicted attraction she hasn’t quite reckoned with before. With his affections starting to wane — and the shark still circling in her thoughts, Rosina resolves not to be easily dismissed. (Note courtesy of the Sundance Film Festival.) Winner, Directing Award, 2019 Sundance Film Festival; Winner, Special Jury Prize, Best Actress and Best Screenplay, 2019 Guadalajara International Film Festival; Winner, FEISAL Award and Special Jury Prize, 2019 BAFICI; Winner, Best Fiction Film, 2019 Toulouse Latin American Film Festival; Official Selection, 2019 Seattle and Munich film festivals. DIR/SCR Lucía Garibaldi; PROD Isabel Garcia, Pancho Magnou Arnábal. Uruguay/Argentina/Spain, 2019, color, 80 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED
BELMONTE (2018)Fri, Sept. 27, 5:30 p.m.; Mon, Sept. 30, 7:30 p.m.
Belmonte is a successful painter with a show going up in the National Gallery of Montevideo, but the recently divorced 43-year-old can’t shake a looming sense of dread and depression. The only cure for his blues is his 10-year-old daughter Celeste, who is reluctant to spend time with him while her mother is on the verge of giving birth to her little brother. This slyly humorous observation of an artist in crisis is a beautifully-lensed portrait of a father-daughter relationship. Winner, Best Screenplay, 2018 Mar del Plata Film Festival; Official Selection, 2018 Toronto, San Sebastián and Santa Barbara film festivals.
DIR/SCR/PROD Federico Veiroj; PROD Charles Barthe, Fernando Franco, Juan José López. Uruguay/Spain/Mexico, 2018, color, 75 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED
U.S. and the World
U.S. and the World
A 3 MINUTE HUG In May 2018, the Border Network for Human Rights worked with border patrol to organize an event called #AbrazosNoMuros (#HugsNotWalls), in which families separated by deportations could embrace for three minutes along the border between Ciudad Juarez and El Paso. The incredibly emotional moment was documented in this powerful short. Winner, Special Jury Mention, 2019 Hot Docs Festival. DIR/SCR Everardo González; PROD Daniela Alatorre, Elena Fortes. Mexico/U.S., 2019, color, 30 min. In English and Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED
I’M LEAVING NOW [YA ME VOY] Sat, Sept. 21, 12:15 p.m.; Mon, Sept. 23, 7:15 p.m.
After 16 years of living alone, working three jobs and collecting bottles in Brooklyn to send money back home, undocumented immigrant Felipe is ready to return to his family in Mexico, and to meet the son he last saw at eight months old. But when he lets the family know his plans, Felipe finds they need him to stay and continue to earn. Not to be deterred, Felipe continues working, stopping at nothing to reunite with his family as soon as possible. Shot over the course of two years, this touching and personal document of a worker on the margins is a hopeful exploration of the immigrant experience and a lovely portrait of one man’s determination. Official Selection, 2018 Hot Docs, DOC NYC and DOCSMX film festivals. DIR/PROD Lindsey Cordero, Armando Croda; SCR/PROD Josh Alexander. U.S./Mexico, 2018, color, 74 min. In English and Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED
THE INFILTRATORS Sat, Sept. 28, 11:00 a.m.; Sun, Sept. 29, 5:30 p.m.
Cristina Ibarra and Alex Rivera’s powerfully inventive docu-thriller — a prison escape drama in reverse — tells the incredible true story of Marco and Viri, two members of the Dreamer-led National Immigrant Youth Alliance who embark on a mission to stop deportations from within a for-profit immigration detention center. Intentionally getting themselves detained, the two young activists find themselves living among hundreds of multinational immigrants — all imprisoned without trial. As they discover a nightmarishly complex institution, they work undercover to impede some of the imminent deportations. Interlacing documentary footage of the real “infiltrators” with scripted re-enactments, THE INFILTRATORS is both a gripping account of a high-stakes mission and an urgent, vital portrait of a group of inspirational young people fighting for their community. Winner, Audience Award, Best of Next! and NEXT Innovator Award, 2019 Sundance Film Festival; Winner, Rogue Award, 2019 Ashland Independent Film Festival; Official Selection, 2019 Miami, SXSW, Hot Docs and New York Latino film festivals. DIR/SCR/PROD Cristina Ibarra, Alex Rivera; SCR Aldo Velasco; PROD Daniel J. Chalfen, Darren Dean. U.S., 2019, color, 95 min. In English and Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED
DAYS OF LIGHT [DÍAS DE LUZ] Wed, Oct. 2, 7:15 p.m.
This beautifully integrated, multi-threaded narrative seamlessly interweaves six stories set in radically different locations across Central America, ranging from the tropical forests of Guatemala to the skyscrapers of Panama City. When a solar storm leaves the region without power, myriad dramas unfold over the course of five days during which all conveniences of modernity are stripped away. In Costa Rica, a pastor and his daughter worry for the future of their church, while in El Salvador, a grandmother and grandson make an arduous journey into the city. A husband and wife reconnect in Honduras, as a young couple nurses a mysterious stranger back to health in Guatemala. Meanwhile, in Nicaragua, a young woman prepares for her quinceañera and in Panama, a housekeeper grows exasperated with her demanding employer. This landmark work of collaboration boldly highlights the work of six talented young directors from across Central America and creates a moving, honest snapshot of life across the region. DIR/SCR Mauro Borges, Enrique Pérez Him; DIR Julio López, Enrique Medrano, Sergio Ramírez, Gloria Carrión; PROD Karolina Hernández, Isabella Galvez, Natalia Hernández, Servio Tulio Mateo, Francisco Morales, Ingrid Stalling. Panama/Costa Rica/El Salvador/Honduras/Guatemala/Nicaragua, 2019, color, 87 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED
THE LAKE VAMPIRE [EL VAMPIRO DEL LAGO] Sat, Sept. 21, 9:45 p.m.; Thurs, Sept. 26, 10:00 p.m.
In this nail-biting, ZODIAC-esque thriller inspired by real Venezuelan serial killer Zacarias Ortega, young writer Ernesto Navarro begins digging into an ongoing multiple murder case while searching for the subject of his next novel. Following the tracks of an elusive killer who decapitates his victims and drains their bodies of blood, he comes across an old investigation that bears an eerie resemblance to the current case. When he finds Jeremias Morales, the retired police detective who had been in charge of the investigation in the 1970s, he becomes embroiled in a dangerous game of cat and mouse that spans decades and extends beyond the realm of the living. Winner, Audience Award, Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design, 2018 Festival del Cine Venezolano; Official Selection, 2018 Austin and Cine Las Americas film festivals. DIR/SCR/PROD Carl Zitelmann, from the novel by Norberto Jose Olivar; PROD Rodolfo Cova. Venezuela, 2018, color, 102 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED
About the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center The AFI Silver and Cultural Center is one of the nation’s premier film theatres, building an appreciation of the art and artists through exploring and celebrating new and classic films and filmmakers from around the globe. AFI Silver offers a year-round program of the best in American and international cinema, featuring a dynamic mix of retrospectives, special events, tributes, on-stage guest appearances, specialty first-run movies, festivals, premieres and education and community-based programs in a theatrical setting of the highest standards. Anchored by the stunningly restored 1938 Silver Theatre, the three-screen AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center is a state-of-the-art film and digital media exhibition venue that serves as a national model for preserving and honoring our shared film and film-going heritage.
About the American Film Institute (AFI) Established in 1967, the American Film Institute is the nation’s non-profit organization dedicated to educating and inspiring artists and audiences through initiatives that champion the past, present and future of the moving image. AFI’s pioneering programs include filmmaker training at the AFI Conservatory; year-round exhibition at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center and at AFI Festivals across the nation; workshops aimed at increasing diversity in the storytelling community; honoring today’s masters through the AFI Life Achievement Award and AFI AWARDS; and scholarly efforts such as the AFI Catalog of Feature Films that uphold film history for future generations. Read about all of these programs and more at AFI.com and follow us on social media at Facebook.com/AmericanFilmInstitute, youtube.com/AFI, twitter.com/American Film and Instagram.com/AmericanFilmInstitute.