36th Latin American Film Series screens nine movies for free
The Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, UWM Union Programming, Union Theatre and Student Involvement present the 36th annual Latin American Film Series, April 4-10, at UWM Union Theatre, 2200 E. Kenwood Blvd.
All the films are screened in their original language with English subtitles. They are not rated and many include content not suitable for young viewers. For more information, call the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at (414) 229-4401.
Admission is free.
Here is the complete line-up, with descriptions provided by festival organizers...
Friday, April 4
"Tropicália, 7 p.m.
(Brazil, 2012, 87 minutes, directed by Marcelo Machado)
This carefully researched film investigates the cultural movement dubbed Tropicália, which began in Brazil during the 1960s as a reaction to the popular music and nationalism of the period. Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Tom Zé and others mull over their experiences from that time, while magnificent archive footage brings to life the sheer inventiveness and political reach of "Tropicalism."
"Maydays," 9 p.m.
(United States, 2013, 90 minutes, directed by Ricardo Gamboa, Ben Kolak and Catherine Sullivan)
Alicia and Daniel meet at a Model United Nations Conference and quickly become more than Facebook friends. Alicia, from Chicago's Mexican immigrant Pilsen neighborhood, and Daniel, from the affluent suburb Winnetka, get to know each other and their respective worlds while falling in love during the week of the 2012 NATO summit. Daniel is introduced by Alicia to her eccentric left-wing grandmother and inner-city friends, and gets schooled on Mexican sci-fi cinema; whereas Alicia, through Daniel, encounters the winding roads and mansions of pristine suburbia, cocktail parties for the privileged elite, and even his favorite teacher's storefront play. The two discover not only new ways of life on opposite sides of the city grid, but learn how they would like to begin to shape their own. A wrong-side-of-the-tracks romance film with a political twist, Maydays is about love and difference in the shadow of several thousand downtown protestors.
Saturday, April 5
"Route of the Moon," 7 p.m.
(Panama/Costa Rica, 2013, 80 minutes, directed by Juan Sebastián Jácome)
Being different is not an easy task in any society, even less in Panama, where social behavior is confined within a framework. When the difference is on your skin, and so visible like albinism, things get harder, even more so when your own father is a fierce representative of the mainstream racial values. This is Tito's case, an introverted bowling enthusiast who suddenly must travel from Panama to San José, Costa Rica in order look after his ill father, César, with whom he has a very distant relationship. César is a very tropical character, living his life as he pleases, burning bridges, and going from being a boxing trainer at the mythical Barraza gym to sports teacher in the suburbs of San José; but now he has a life threatening disease. Tito's only wish is to go back to Panama as soon as possible to be able to participate in a bowling tournament, but his father has different plans for him.
"Fatal Assistance" ("Assistance mortelle"), 9 p.m.
(Haiti, 2013, 99 minutes, directed by Raoul Peck)
Award-winning Haitian born filmmaker Raoul Peck takes us on a two-year journey inside the challenging, contradictory, and colossal rebuilding efforts in post-earthquake Haiti. Through its provocative and radical point of view, Fatal Assistance offers a devastating indictment of the international community's post-disaster idealism. The story dives headlong into the complexity of the reconstruction process, outlining the impacts of worldwide humanitarian and development aid while revealing the disturbing extent of a general failure. We learn that a major portion of the money pledged to Haiti was never disbursed, nor made it into the actual reconstruction. This film leads us to one clear conclusion: current aid policies and practices in Haiti need to stop immediately. Co-presented with the Sam and Helen Stahl Center for Jewish Studies.
Sunday, April 6
"The German Doctor" ("Wakolda"), 7 p.m.
(Argentina, 2013, 93 minutes, directed by Lucía Puenzo)
Patagonia, 1960: a German doctor meets an Argentinean family and follows them on a long desert road to a small town where the family will be starting a new life. Eva, Enzo and their three children welcome the doctor into their home and entrust their young daughter, Lilith, to his care, not knowing that they are harboring one of the most dangerous criminals in the world. The story follows Josef Mengele, the "Angel of Death," a German SS officer and physician at the Auschwitz concentration camp, in the years he spent "hiding," along with many other Nazi outlaws in South America following their escape from Germany.
Monday, April 7
"The Tiniest Place" ("El lugar más pequeño"), 7 p.m.
(El Salvador, 2012, 100 minutes, directed by Tatiana Huezo)
On the surface this is the story of Cinquera, a village literally wiped off the official map during El Salvador's 12-year civil war. Yet, on a deeper level it is a story about the ability to rise, to rebuild and to reinvent oneself after a tragedy. Holding the past and present in focus together, The Tiniest Place takes us to the tiny village nestled in the mountains amidst the humid Salvadoran jungle, while villagers, survivors of the war's massacres, recount their journey home at war's end. When they first returned their village no longer existed. Nevertheless, they decided to stay. As they reworked the land, built new homes and started new families, the people of Cinquera learned to live with the sorrow of the past and this film explores that process. Collaboration with the Chicago Latino Film Festival.
Tuesday, April 8
"Melaza" ("Molasses"), 7 p.m.
(Cuba, 2013, 93 minutes, directed by Carlos Lechuga)
The sugar mill was Melaza's sole economic engine until it was shut down, leaving Monica and many of the town's inhabitants unemployed. Now she and her husband Aldo, the town's schoolteacher, are trying to make ends meet for their family the best way they can, including renting their small overcrowded home to a local prostitute. Their attempts to keep afloat get them into deeper and deeper trouble in this sensitive comedy, which deals with life in Cuba's rural communities.
Wednesday, April 9
"Mercedes Sosa: The Voice of Latin America" ("Mercedes Sosa: La voz de Latinoamérica"), 7:30 p.m.
(Argentina, 2013, 90 minutes, directed by Rodrigo H. Vila)
This is a journey into the world of Argentina's most famous musical artist. Over a career that spanned 50 years, Mercedes Sosa sold millions of records, performed thousands of concerts all over the world, and left behind an incredible legacy as an artist who went beyond the borders of music to become one of the most influential and loved personalities of the 20th century. This intimate documentary reveals Sosa's early life to her rise to worldwide stardom, while also exploring the impact she had on the social heritage of Latin America and beyond.
Thursday, April 10
"Gloria," 7 p.m.
(Chile, 2013, 110 minutes, directed by Sebastián Lelio)
Gloria is a "woman of a certain age" who still feels young. Though lonely, she makes the best of her situation and fills her nights seeking love at social dance clubs for single adults. Her fragile happiness changes the day she meets Rodolfo. Their intense passion, to which Gloria gives her all, leaves her vacillating between hope and despair, until she uncovers a new strength. She realizes that in her golden years, she can shine brighter than ever.
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