Escena de la película Cochochi, de LauraAmelia Guzmán, de México.

This non-competitive, non-profit festival presents a unique opportunity to see 12 recent films and documentaries (2007-10) from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico and Uruguay. A number of the films have never been screened in New York and none have had a commercial release in the city. Film directors will be present at select screenings – please festival’s blog for schedule and updates.

Thursday, February 24th – Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

Organized and curated by Prof. Alexandra Falek and Prof. Juan de Dios Vazquez (NYU Department of Spanish & Portuguese)

Free and open to the public (ID required at the entrance)

Festival Schedule

>> Thursday, February 24th Opening reception
King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center, Auditorium

7:00 p.m.
COCHOCHI
Directed by Laura Amelia Guzmán and Israel Cárdenas. Directors present for Q&A after the film
Mexico / USA / UK / Canada, 2007. Drama, 87 min.
Spanish & Rarámuri with English and Spanish subtitles

Evaristo and Tony, indigenous brothers from northwest Mexico, have just graduated from elementary school when they receive an assignment from their grandfather: to deliver some medicine at the other extreme of the Sierra Tarahumara. Tony and Evaristo, dreading the long road ahead, decide to take their grandfather’s horse and set off into a journey that becomes longer than they expected.

Opening reception to follow.

>> Friday, February 25th
13-19 University Place, Room 102

6:00 p.m.
GATOS VIEJOS / OLD CATS
Directed by Sebastián Silva and Pedro Peirano
Chile, 2010. Drama, 88 min.
Spanish with English subtitles

Isadora and Enrique live a comfortable life. They have a modest yet elegant apartment in Santiago’s old downtown district. Well into their 80’s, they both maintain their independence and live happily with their books, their eclectic art, and most of all with their beloved two cats. That is until, one day, the building’s elevator breaks and unable to descend the ten flights down, Isadora is left a prisoner in her own home. At the same inconvenient time, Isadora’s passionate “wild child” daughter Rosario and her female lover, Hugo, come for a visit with a new “scheme” of how to make them all rich. A touching film of black humor and pathos reflecting the often-treacherous territory of mother-daughter relationships and the empathy needed to find a survivable neutral ground.

8:00 p.m.
EL VUELCO DEL CANGREJO / CRAB TRAP
Directed by Oscar Ruíz Navia
Colombia, 2009. Drama, 95 min.
Spanish with English subtitles

At La Barra, an isolated village on the Pacific Coast of Colombia, Cerebro (Brain), leader of the native Afro-Colombian community, is at odds with the white man, a landowner who wants to build a hotel on the beach. Daniel, a strange, urban guy, arrives to the village looking for a motorboat to leave the country. Only three penniless locals, a girl and two teenagers, are willing to help Daniel. However, finding a boat will take longer than he expects. At La Barra, an odd shortage of fish has sent fishermen and their boats far away to sea. Day after day, the white man increases his attack on Cerebro by installing two enormous speakers on the beach, disrupting the natural stillness of the village. One day, Cerebro’s patience finally runs out.

>> Saturday, February 26th
King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center, Auditorium

6:00 p.m.
REHJE
NY Premiere
Directed by Anaïs Huerta and Raúl Cuesta
México, 2009. Documentary, 67 min.
Spanish & Mazahua with English and Spanish subtitles

After forty years living in Mexico City, Antonia longs to go back to her home town, a Mazahua village in the state of Mexico.
 When she finally decides to do that, she encounters a lot of things that she didn’t expect, like the scarcity of water that threatens life in her community.

7:15pm
ESENCIA / ESSENCE
US Premiere
Directed by Sol Garzón & José Antonio Guayasamín
Ecuador, 2010. Documentary, 30 min.
Spanish & Quechua with Spanish subtitles. NO English subtitles.

This documentary is about the life of three older people (Mary, 73; Sergio, 67; and Juan Manuel, 77) that live very different realities.
 Mary lives in a home for elderly people on the coast of Ecuador. Sergio lives alone and works as a guard in the city. Juan Manuel works as a farmer in the mountains. These three humble people communicate their life experiences and ideas about aging.

8:00 p.m.
BALTAZAR USHKA, EL TIEMPO CONGELADO / BALTAZAR USHKA, ICE MAN
NY Premiere
Directed by Igor Guayasamín & José Antonio Guayasamín
Ecuador, 2008. Documentary, 22 min.
No dialogue or voice-commentary.

“A documentary where time freezes.” On one of the world’s highest volcanoes, Chimborazo (~20,500 feet high), Baltazar Ushka has been working for more than thirty years. He chops huge blocks of ice to sell at the Indian market in Guaranda, where the ice will be used to cool fruit juice. This documentary travels through time in a circular way, creating a life portrait of the last hielero (ice man) of Chimborazo. The film uses footage from the documentary Los hieleros de Chimborazo (The Ice Men of Chimborazo) shot by Gustavo and Igor Guayasamín in the late 1970’s.

8:30 p.m.
TARATA
US Premiere
Directed by Alan Ferszt
Bolivia, 2010. Documentary, 42 min.
Spanish & Quechua with English subtitles

Tarata, a small town near Cochabamba, is deserted due to the large migration of its young population to the cities, especially since 2000. Those who remain in the town are elderly people living in decaying conditions. Tarata the documentary observes Tarata the town, exploring the connections between the older population and ideas about aging, abandonment and death, through the voice-over commentary of elder women who live there.

>> Sunday, February 27th
King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center, Auditorium

7:00 p.m.
MUTUM
Directed by Sandra Kogut. Director present for Q&A after the film
Brazil, 2007. Drama, 86 min.
Portuguese with English subtitles
Mutum is part of Global Lens 2009, sponsored by The Global Film Initiative

Thiago is a sensitive and imaginative boy living on a small, hardscrabble farm in a remote region of Brazil. His life is filled not only with curiosity and youthful discovery, but also the reality of his parent’s unhappy marriage and his father’s abuse, all of which are one changed one day by a chance encounter and unexpected gift. Mutum tells a bittersweet story of one boy’s coming-of-age amidst events both great and small.
A poetic adaptation of the Brazilian short story Campo Geral by João Guimarães Rosa.

>> Monday, February 28th
13-19 University Place, Room 102

6:00 p.m.
CACHILA
NY Premiere
Directed by Sebastián Bednarik
Uruguay, 2008. Documentary, 57 min.
Spanish with English subtitles

After the abolition of slavery in Uruguay, people of African descent in Montevideo settled in large tenement houses called conventillos in the Barrio Sur. In 1970, Medio mundo was the last of 470 conventillos in this southern neighborhood of the city. It was destroyed in the 1980s during the military dictatorship, forcing most of the families to move to other neighborhoods.
Waldemar “Cachila” Silva and his family still live in the Barrio Sur. Cachila is the son of Juan Ángel Silva, one of the patriarchs of candombe (the most popular manifestations of Afro-Uruguayan music), and founder of Morenada, the comparsa (candombe group), established in the 1950s. In 1999, Cachila started his own comparsa, Cuareim 1080, named after the street address of Medio mundo where Morenada was conceived and where Cachila was born and grew up.
The recent birth of Cachila’s first grandson has compelled Cachila to pass his legacy on to his sons, who are now an integral part of Cuareim 1080, a candombe group that has consistently won high ratings in the annual Carnival competition. Patriarchy, hierarchy and cultural traditions are at the core of this documentary about Cachila’s efforts to preserve his cultural roots through the next generations of the family.

8:00 p.m.
ESTA CAJITA QUE TOCO TIENE BOCA Y SABE HABLAR /
THIS BOX THAT I PLAY HAS A MOUTH AND KNOWS HOW TO SPEAK

US Premiere
Directed by Lorena García
Argentina, 2009. Documentary, 61 min.
Spanish with English subtitles

Traces of journeys made by women from different regions of Argentina through the land of the coplas (folksongs) played with the caja (percussion instrument). A shepherdess in a northern town of the country is getting old and senses that she has started to forget the coplas that she’s known for years. A young singer from Buenos Aires travels to meet her. Together they go to another town for the Encuentro de Copleras (gathering of copla singers), where men and women come together to share their coplas, expressing their ideas and feelings about life. In this gathering of voices, the expression of the coplas—a poetic and musical oral art form—is a manifestation of resistance against oblivion.

>> Tuesday, March 1st
13-19 University Place, Room 102

7:00 p.m.
MAL DÍA PARA PESCAR / BAD DAY TO GO FISHING
NY Premiere
Directed by Álvaro Brechner
Uruguay / Spain, 2009 . Drama – Comedy, 104 min.
Spanish with English subtitles

Jacob van Oppen – formerly “the strongest man on earth,” now a washed-up alcoholic, and his crafty manager, Orsini, make good money staging bogus wrestling matches in small South American towns. When this oddball duo arrives in the unassuming village of Santa Maria, business really takes off: the local newspaper sponsors the fight, and the quiet hamlet becomes plastered with posters announcing an open challenge to a worthy adversary. The ever resourceful Orsini is sure he can find the right opponent to throw the fight, but fishing in Santa Maria yields a bigger catch than he’d hoped for. Based on the story “Jacob y el otro” [Jacob and the Other] by Juan Carlos Onetti.

>> Wednesday, March 2nd Closing reception
King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center, Auditorium

7:00 p.m.
DZI CROQUETTES
Directed by Tatiana Issa and Raphael Alvarez. Directors present for Q&A after the film
Brazil, 2009. Documentary, 98 min.
Portuguese with English subtitles

Dzi Croquettes, an infamous Brazilian dance-theater group at the heart of the 1960s Tropicália cultural movement, used imagination, irony, and humor to confront Brazil’s violent dictatorship—and in the process revolutionized the nation’s gay rights movement and changed the language of theater and dance for a generation, despite having been banned and censored by the military regime. Through interviews and archival footage of the group’s incredible performances, the film reveals the origin of the group, their relentless perfectionism, and their unexpected stroke of luck when Liza Minnelli becomes a godmother of sorts to them. It also gives a very honest account of the sadness of their final years when tension, egos, AIDS and even murder ripped them apart.

Closing reception to follow.

Co-sponsored by NYU King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center (KJCC), NYU Department of Spanish & Portuguese, NYU Center of Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS), and NYU Albert Schweitzer Professor of the Humanities.