“At the End of the Tunnel,” “The Distinguished Citizen” and “The 4th Company” figure among 26 features from Latin America, Spain and Portugal competing for the Palm Springs Festival’s 2017 Cine Latino Award.
Also boasting “Everybody Loves Somebody,” from Mexico’s Catalina Aguilar Mastretta, a Palm Springs world premiere, the Festival’s lineup of movies from the region has consolidated as a telling testimony to the major highlights and trends in Latin American cinema over the last year while also anticipating titles which could have a major impact on awards, sales or other festival play in the year to come. Few Ibero-American festival lineups are as inclusive, or sensitive to new talent. some not even fully recognised as yet in Latin America itself.
Directed by Rodrigo Grande, and produced by Spain’s Tornasol Films and Argentina’s Haddock and Telefe, the Academy Award winning producers of “The Secret of Their Eyes,” “At The End of The Tunnel” is a bank heist thriller which packs twists in its early and late going. That makes it symptomatic of Latin America’s build in genre, thrillers and genre-blenders, whether – wee it comes to Palm Springs’ selection – Bolivia’s Western-tinged train-set “Sealed Cargo” or Amat Escalante’s “The Untamed,” a Venice best director winner which offers a sci-fi allegory for the state of Mexico today.
Argentina’s Academy Award entry, and a searing portrait of small-town anti-culture mentality, “The Distinguished Citizen,” from Gaston Duprat and Mariano Cohn, is one of multiple titles at Palm Springs from many of the most distinguished authors working in Ibero-America today from Pedro Almodovar and Chile’s Pablo Larrain to Argentina’s Daniel Burman, Brazil’s Kleber Mendonca, chosen for Variety’s 10 Directors to Watch, Portugal’s Joao Pedro Rodrigues and Spain’s Carlos Saura and Cesc Gay.
The Ibero-American lineup features 12 first features and five second films. It may be no coincidence that nine of these are by women directors as they begin to direct an ever more significant minority of films coming out of Latin America, especially some of its most significant documentaries, such as María José Cuevas’ “Beauties of the Night,” which catches up with Mexico’s showgirls of the 70s/80s some 40 years later, and Cristina Herrera Borquez’s “No Dresscode Required,” about a gay couple’s epic bureaucratic battle to celebrate the first same-sex marriage in Baja California, Mexico.
Aguilar Mastretta’s second film, after “The Hours With You,” “Everybody Loves Somebody” is a bilingual romantic comedy about a Mexican-American obstetrician caught between new love and an old flame.
From Amir Galvan Cervera and Mitzi Vanessa Aureola, “The 4th Company” is a thundering put-down of corruption, murder and organised crime at Mexico’s most notorious penitentiary, the Santa Martha jail.
Fiction features from Latin American women are also increasingly fest-feted, winning, for example, a Berlinale Generation Kplus Grand Prix (Chilean Pepa San Martin’s “Rara”), a Best First Feature at the Lima Festival (father-daughter drama “Alba,” from Ecuador’s Ana Cristina Barragan) and sweeping Brasilia (Marilia Rocha’s female friendship tale “Where I Grow Old”). Their challenge is often to translate that fest recognition into commercial success; but that could one said of moist foreign-language movies the world over. The 2017 Palm Springs Festival runs Jan.2-16.
IBERO-AMERICAN FILM LINEUP, 2017 PALM SPRINGS FESTIVAL
“Alba,” (Ana Cristina Barragán, Ecuador, Mexico, Greece)
“Aquarius,” (Kleber Mendonça Filho, Brazil, France)
“At the End of the Tunnel,” (Rodrigo Grande, Argentina, Spain)
“Bad Influence,” (Claudia Huaiquimilla, Chile)
“Beauties of the Night,” (María José Cuevas, Mexico)
“Dark Skull,” (Kiro Russo, Bolivia, Qatar)
“El Amparo,” (Rober Calzadilla, Venezuela, Colombia)
“Everybody Loves Somebody,” (Catalina Aguilar Mastretta, Mexico)
“Everything Else,” (Natalia Almada, Mexico, United States, France)
“J: Beyond Flamenco,” (Carlos Saura, Spain)
“Julieta,” (Pedro Almodóvar, Spain)
“Kiki, Love to Love,” (Paco León, Spain)
“Neruda,” (Pablo Larraín, Chile, Argentina, Spain, France)
“No Dress Code Required,” (Cristina Herrera Bórquez, Mexico)
“Rara,” (Pepa San Martín, Chile, Argentina)
“Sealed Cargo,” (Julia Vargas Weise, Bolivia, France, México, Venezuela)
“The 4th Company,” (Amir Galván Cervera, Mitzi Vanessa Arreola, Mexico, Spain)
“The Distinguished Citizen,” (Mariano Cohn, Gaston Duprat, Argentina, Spain)
“The Ornithologist,” (João Pedro Rodrigues, Portugal, France, Brazil)
“The Tenth Man,” (Daniel Burman, Argentina)
“The Turkish Way,” (Luis González, Spain)
“The Untamed,” (Amat Escalante, Mexico, Denmark, France, Germany, Norway)
“The Winter,” (Emiliano Torres, Argentina, France)
“Truman,” (Cesc Gay, Spain, Argentina)
“Where I Grow Old,” (Marília Rocha, Brazil, Portugal)
“X500,” (Juan Andrés Arango, Colombia, Canada, Mexico)
“You’ll Never Be Alone,” (Alex Anwandter, Chile)