'Infancia clandestina' opens San Sebastian's Latin America focus

TAULL, Spain — Carlos Reygadas’ “Post Tenebras Lux,” Michel Franco’s “After Lucia” and Marialy Rivas’ “Young & Wild” will play the 60th San Sebastian’s Horizontes Latinos.

A contempo Latin America showcase, section opens with Benjamin Avila’s debut “Infancia clandestina,” a buzzed-up title since it shared honors at San Sebastian’s 2011 Films in Progress.

Horizontes’ lineup underscores the building strength of Latin American cinema. Four of its 12 titles won major prizes at top fests.

The semi-autobiographical “Lux” scooped the director’s prize at Cannes. “Lucia,” a tale of school bullying and its tragic consequences, confirming a confident new voice in Mexican cinema, won Cannes’ Un Certain Regard. Rivas’ debut, “Wild,” centring on the sexed-up blog of a swinging both ways daughter, took Sundance’s World Cinema screenplay prize.

Also playing Horizontes, Antonio Mendez’s emigration drama “Aqui y Alla” topped Cannes Critics’ Week.

Rodrigo Pla’s “The Delay,” which he co-wrote with his wife Laura Santullo, picked up two prizes at Berlin.

Mostly handled by significant sales agents, the Horizontes titles show Latin American cinema parlaying fest acclaim into sales.

An original, personal take on Argentina’s 1976-83 Dirty War, “Infancia” was one of Pyramide Intl.’s top-sellers at Cannes, rolling off an emotional reception in Directors’ Fortnight.

Film Movement acquired U.S. rights to Colombian William Vega’s “La Sirga,” another Horizontes title, after its Directors’ Fortnight screening.

Latin American firms increasingly produce with U.S. and European partners. Of Horizontes movies, Anonymous Content co-produced Sundance screener “The Last Elvis,” Armando Bo’s identity drama; and Urban Distribution Intl. teamed with Brazil’s Dezenove on Marcelo Gomes’ “Once Upon a Time Veronica,” about a middle-class femme doctor searching for love.

Many Latin American films are coming-of-age narratives, tensed or truncated by larger social pressures. Helmed by Juan Andres Arango, “La Playa,” for example, turns on an Afro-Colombian teen’s struggle to find a place in life on Bogota’s mean streets.

Horizontes Latinos also features Argentinean Mariano Luque’s family holiday drama “Salsipuedes,” a Berlin Forum screener, and Uruguayan Alicia Cano’s docu “The Bella Vista,” about a village brothel and local prejudice.

Titles compete for a €35,000 ($43,445) Horizontes Award.

Fest runs Sept. 21 to 29.

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