BARCELONA – Seen at Morelia Festival in 2012, Carlos Bolado’s “Tlatelolco, Summer of ’68” received belated recognition at Lleida’s Catalonia Latin America Festival.
Bolado’s follow-up to box office hit “Colosio, the Assassination,” the highest-grossing Mexican film of 2012, “Tlatelolco” won best picture, plus an honorary mention for its archive footage compilation and documentation.
Beyond “Tlatelolco,” “A Wolf at the Door” and “God’s Slave” also took top awards. All three turn around true events, two – “Wolf” and “Slave” – are thrillers, pointing to one way young Latin American directors are reconciling Latin America’s social-issue traditions with the more propulsive and audience-attuned style of a new creative generation.
Produced by senior figures in Mexico and Argentina –Eckehardt von Damm at Mexican distributor-producer Corazon Films, Fernando Sokolowicz and Maiz Producciones’ Pablo Rovito, both in Argentina – “Tlatelolco” employs the same methods as “Colosio,” creating fictional figures whose lives intertwine with exhaustively documented historical events, damning the machinations and bloodshed of a Mexican ruling elite which had failed to bring real democracy to the country.
In the case of “Tlatelolco,” two students’ romance flowers as they are swept along by 1968 student protests against the army’s occupation of Mexico City’s UNAM university and Polytechnic. Events climax in the Oct. 2 Tlatelolco massacre, sparked when governmental riot squad snippers, employed to quell civil unrest before Mexico’s Olympic Games, fired on the army and student protestors. At least 45 – but perhaps hundreds – of demonstrators and bystanders died in the carnage.
Released April 2013, “Tlatelolco” grossed just $300,000 at the Mexican box office. The Lleida plaudits mark some compensation.
Showcasing recent Latin American production, the Lleida fest maintained the extraordinary prize/fest ratio of Brazilian Fernando Coimbra’s sophisticated kidnap thriller “A Wolf at the Door” which won director and actress for Leandra Leal’s versatile turn as a vengeful spurned lover.
Another standout 2013 Latin American debut, Joel Novoa’s “God’s Slave,” a thriller set against the background of the 1994 AMIA car-bombing in Buenos Aires, which left 85 people dead, also scored a double whammy.
Produced by father Jose Novoa, “God’s Slav” won Best First Film and Lleida’s top Audience Award, adding to a Palm Beach Special Jury Prize, making for seven awards for “God’s Slave” to date; and most probably counting.
“So Much Water’s” Nestor Guzzoni won best actor for his understated performance as a father reluctant to accept his children are growing up.
Lleida has traditionally served to highlight not so well-known movies. A clutch took kudos this year.
Comedy “To Fool a Thief,” starring Daniel Hendler and Valeria Bertucelli, and helmed by Ariel Winograd (“Cheese Head”), scooped an Audience Award and screenplay (Adrian Garelik).
Priscila Padilla’s “The Eternal Night of the Twelve Moons,” a Colombia’s docu-feature on the Wayuu rite 0f secluding women for a year after first menstruation, won best documentary. A spirited life-portrait interview with a surviving pre-war surrealist, Javier Martin Dominguez’s “Leonora Carrington: the Last Surrealist,” received an honorary mention.
Emilio Mayorga contributed to this article
20TH CATALONIA LATIN AMERICAN FILM FESTIVAL
And the winners are:
“Tlatelolco, Summer of 68” (Carlos Bolado, Mexico, Argentina)
Leandra Leal (“A Wolf at the Door,” Brazil)
Nestor Guzzini (“So Much Water,” Uruguay, Mexico, The Netherlands, Germany)
Fernando Coimbra (“A Wolf at the Door”)
ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY/CASA AMERICA PRIZE
Adrian Garelik (“To Fool a Thief,” Argentina)
Joel Novoa (“God’s Slave,” Venezuela, Argentina, Uruguay)
RADIO EXTERIOR DE ESPANA PRIZE
“Maria y el hombre arana,” (Maria Victoria Menis, Argentina)
3.”To Fool a Thief”
“That Wasn’t Me,” (Esteban Crespo, Spain)
“Father,” (Santiago Bou, Argentina)
“The Eternal Night of the Twelve Moona,” (Priscilla Padilla, Colombia)
“Leonora Carrington, the Last Surrealist, (Javier Martin Dominguez, Spain)