MEXICO CITY — The 45th Cartagena Intl. Film Festival kicked off Friday with homegrown pic “Sumas y restas” (Additions and Subtractions) before moving on to the official competition.
“Sumas,” helmed by Victor Gaviria, is one of four Colombian titles making their bows in their native land during the fest, one of the hemisphere’s oldest. All face tremendous pressure to please audiences, as expectations were raised with last year’s “Maria Full of Grace,” the most successful Colombian title in years.
Patriotic feelings aside, fest’s main competition is international with 13 pics from 10 Latin American countries and Spain competing for the India Catalina de Oro trophy. Odds-on fave is Spanish pic “Te doy mis ojos,” which last year made a worldwide tour, picking up prizes at 11 fests including San Sebastian, Seattle and Copenhagen.
No other film in competition has won more than one award, although “El rey” (The King), by Jose Antonio Dorada, snared the Colombian picture award at last year’s Bogota Film Festival, and Spanish pic “La vida que te espera” (The Life That Awaits You), by Manuel Gutierrez Aragon, was nominated for a Golden Bear at Berlin.
Cartagena, which will wrap Friday, will have a Latin American shorts competish, with 30 entrants in the field. Competition juries include author Laura Restrepo and Michel Ruben, director of HBO Spain.
Outside the competitions, fest will fete Marlon Brando, whose 1969 film “Quiemada” (Burn), was filmed partly in Cartagena.
The showcased country this run is Italy, with a scheduled retrospective of classic and contemporary Italo titles.
Roughly 50 films from 20 countries will be shown outside the main competition.