18TH LATINO FEST KICKS OFF

MEXICO CITY – Celebrating the centenary of Latin American cinema, the 18th Intl. Festival of New Latin American Cinema in Havana kicks off today, with 52 films in competition.

Recognizing Mexico’s role as the birthplace of Latino film, the 11-day fest will pay homage to Mexican cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa. Left-wing Brit helmer Ken Loach and Dutch director Joris Ivens, who filmed his “Peuple Arme” in Cuba, will also be the subject of tributes.

Out of competition, U.S. pics screening during the fest include Edward Burns’ “She’s the One,” the Coen brothers’ “Fargo,” John Sayles’ “Lone Star” and “Basquiat” by Julian Schnabel, who is expected to attend.

The event will also showcase the work of Werner Herzog and present a 17-picture retrospective of Cuba’s best-known director, Tomas Gutierrez Alea (“Death of a Bureaucrat,” “Strawberry and Chocolate”), who died this year.

Films in competition include 14 from Argentina, 10 from Brazil, seven from Mexico and six from Venezuela. There are no Cuban features in competition.

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