February 26-28, 2016

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Cinema Tropical and Museum of the Moving Image present the 2016 edition of the Cinema Tropical Festival celebrating the year’s best Latin American productions. The festival will feature the winners of the 6th annual Cinema Tropical Awards, which were announced on January 20.

These winning films (listed below) represent the artistic excellence of contemporary Latin American cinema, and the festival offers a platform for local audiences to discover the exciting world of film coming from the region.

Friday, February 26, 7pm
(Antonio Santini, Dan Sickles. U.S./Puerto Rico, 2014, 87 min. In Spanish and English with English subtitles) Q&A with filmmakers and April Carrion, followed by reception
Winner – Best U.S. Latino Film
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The critically acclaimed Mala Mala explores the intimate moments, performances, friendships and activism of trans-identifying people, drag queens, and others who defy typical gender identities in Puerto Rico. The film features Ivana, an activist; Soraya, an older sex-change pioneer; Sandy, a prostitute looking to make a change; and Samantha and Paxx, both of whom struggle with the quality of medical resources available to assist in their transition. Hailed as “sensitive and thoughtful” by the New York Times, Mala Mala affirms that the quest to find oneself can be both difficult and beautiful. A Strand Releasing release.


Saturday, February 27, 12:30pm

(Abner Benaim, 2014, Panama/Argentina, 2013, 93 min. In Spanish with English subtitles) New York Premiere
Winner – Best Documentary
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Using reenactments and interviews, filmmaker Abner Benaim documents the collective memory—as well as the selective amnesia—of his fellow Panamanians around the 1989 U.S. invasion to overthrow General Manuel Noriega. The lives of the people of the Central American nation were deeply shaken by the American military incursion. Invasión—Panama’s first film to be submitted for the Best Foreign Language Oscar—is a witty and engaging documentary that talks about the perils of sovereignty, democracy, and endangered virtues of today’s ultra-capitalist world. The film not only explores the mechanisms in which memory is turned into history, but holds a mirror to the present to show how the recent past shapes Panama today.


Saturday, February 27, 3pm

(Jayro Bustamante, Guatemala, 2015, 93 min. In Kaqchikel and Spanish with English subtitles)
Winner – Best First Film
With María Mercedes Coroy, María Telón, Manuel Antún
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Winner of the Berlinale’s Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize—the top honor ever won by a Central American film—Ixcanul marks the auspicious debut of Guatemalan filmmaker Jayro Bustamante. The film follows María (played by María Mercedes Coroy), a 17-year-old Mayan girl who lives and works in a coffee plantation that sits at the base of an active volcano in Guatemala. Although Maria dreams of going to the big city, her condition as an indigenous woman does not permit her to change her destiny, where an arranged wedding is waiting for her. A snake bite forces her to go out into the modern world where her life is saved, but at a steep price. Ixcanul is a beautiful and poignant meditation on the clash between tradition and modernity. A Kino Lorber release.


Sunday, February 8, 5pm

(Juan Schnitman, Argentina, 2015, 95 min. In Spanish with English subtitles) New York Premiere
With Pilar Gamboa, Juan Barberini
Nominated – Best First Film
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On the way to closing the contract on their first home, Lucía and Marcelo withdraw a hundred thousand dollars in cash from their bank. The seller can’t make it to the signing and it gets postponed to the next day. Frustrated, they head back to their old place and put the money away. The next 24 hours will unveil the true nature of their love, the crisis they are in, and the violence within themselves. “A riveting chamber piece of subtle shifts and evenhanded power struggles (Variety), Schnitman’s debut feature film was the winner of the Best Film Award at the Transylvania Film Festival.


Sunday, February 8, 7pm

(Juan Daniel F. Molero, Peru/U.S., 2015, 102 min. In Spanish with English subtitles) U.S. Premiere. Q&A with filmmaker
With Liliana Albornoz, Caterina Gueli Rojo, Rafael Gutiérrez
Nominated – Best First Film
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The first Peruvian film to ever win the Tiger Award at the Rotterdam Film Festival, Videophilia (and Other Viral Syndromes) follows Luz, a teenage misfit from Lima who meets online Junior, a weird slacker who is obsessed with conspiracy theories, Mayan prophecies of the end of the world, and underground porn. They try to hook up in the real life but supernatural events start to unfold. Set in Lima, Juan Daniel F. Molero’s exhilarating debut fiction film is a playful mashup of internet cafes, slackers, not-so-innocent schoolgirls, amateur porn, Google Glass, acid trips, and guinea pigs as extras in an exorcism.


Sunday, February 28, 4:30pm

(Lisandro Alonso, Argentina, 2014, 108 min. In Danish and Spanish with English subtitles)
With Viggo Mortensen, Ghita Nørby, Viilbjørk Malling Agger
Winner – Best Film
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An astonishingly beautiful western starring Viggo Mortensen, Jauja begins in a remote outpost in Patagonia during the late 1800s. Captain Gunnar Dinesen has come from abroad with his fifteen-year-old daughter to take an engineering job with the Argentine army. Being the only female in the area, Ingeborg creates quite a stir among the men. She falls in love with a young soldier, and one night they run away together. When Dinesen realizes what has happened, he decides to venture into enemy territory, against his men’s wishes, to find the young couple. Featuring a superb performance from Mortensen, Jauja (the name suggests a fabled city of riches sought by European explorers) is the story of a man’s desperate search for his daughter, a solitary quest that takes him to a place beyond time, where the past vanishes and the future has no meaning. A Cinema Guild release.


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