“Buenaventura Mon Amour (Somos Calentura),” from Colombia’s Jorge Navas, Peruvian Miguel Angel Moulet’s “We’re All Sailors” and “La Camarista, the feature debut of Mexico’s Lisa Avilés, have all been selected for Ventana Sur’s 2017 Primer Corte, Latin America’s highest-profile pix-in-post competition.
Chilean Che Sandoval’s “Dry Martina,” Mexican Jorge Pérez Solano’s “La Negrada” and “Guerra de algodão,” from Brazilian duo Marilia Hugues and Claudio Marques, feature in sister section Copia 0.
Together, Prime Corte and Copia 0, the latter representing completed movies from often more established directors, form the largest industry lure of Ventana Sur, Latin America’s biggest movie market.
After eight years at the reins, Cannes Cinefondation head Georges Goldenstern has moved to other responsabilities: Selection this year of both Primer Corte and Copia O was overseen by José María Riba, the veteran Paris-based industry event programmer and a major force at Paris’ Small is Biutiful who has teamed with Eva Morsh-Kihn, the Toulouse CineLatino Fest’s program co-ordinator, and María Nuñez the longterm Primer Corte organizer at Argentina’s Incaa film agency.
One of the highest-profile Colombia movies for 2018, musical action movie “We Are the Heat” (aka “Buenaventura mon amour”) marks Jorge Navas’ long-anticipated follow-up to 2010’s “Blood and Rain.” A passion project of Steven Grisales at Bogotá’s Mon Amour Productions, and co-produced by Buenos Aires’ Magma Cine, it is set in Colombia’s Buenaventura port city, turning on a group of salsa and hip-hop dancers – caught in extensive dance act footage.
Produced by Carolina Denegrí and director Hector Gálvez (“NN”) at Peru’s El Navigate Films, “We’re All Sailors” marks the feature debut of Moulet whose short, “The Hosts,” made out of Cuba’s EICTV, played Cannes Cinefondation film school competition in 2015, winning third prize. Presented in Cannes’ Cinéma du Monde, “We’re All Sailors” is described by Moulet as “an intimate and violent story about love at inopportune times and lost homelands.” The gritty tale turns on three Russian sailors whose fishing boat is stranded in Peru’s El Callao port and suddenly have to adapt, finding a life for themselves on land.
Both “We Are the Heat” and “We’re All Sailors” come in at social circumstance – still the common preoccupation of festival-skewed Latin American filmmaking – from some kind of sense of genre. In “Heat,” “a near musical on marginalization,” said Riba, the hip-hop group competes in a dance-music tournament as a way out of their marginalized existence; “Sailors” frames its portrayal of ex-patriot travails in a hard-hitting romantic survival drama.
Otherwise, all first features from female directors, the other four features in Primer Corte chart halting, challenged attempts by young women, often battling social expectation, to forge their own lives.
A buzz production at Los Cabos Festival’ Work in Progress this week, “La Camarista” weighs in as both a slice of life neo-documentary following the daily grind of a chambermaid at Mexico City’s chic Hotel Presidente Internacional and the story of the search for identity of a person who seems invisible to some clients, is already a mother, but not yet her own person.
Another Primer Corte entry, directed by Costa Rica’s Antonella Sudasassi, “El Despertar de las Hormigas” charts a young mother’s halting rebellion against her put-upon status as mother of two and wife in a penniless family in rural Costa Rica.
Directed by Natalia Cabral and Oriol Estrada, whose joint credits include documentary “Tu y yo,” “Miriam Miente” examines the racism of upper-class Dominican society in its story of a 14-year-old girl who feels forced to hide the fact that her online date is black.
“Perros sin cola,” from Chile’s Carolina Quezada, is another coming of age tale, turning on a 17-year-old high-school drop-out girl in a tough, humble barrio part of Antofagasta, who struggles to come to terms with her homosexuality. The film has a documentary feel, a rock guitar score, sometimes breaks the fourth wall, and delineated characters, which makes for an unusual mix, said Riba.
Often incorporating more mainstream elements, Copia O will frame the awaited “Dry Martina,” Che Sandoval’s third feature, which is set up at two prestige Latin American production houses – Chile’s Forastero and Argentina’s Rizoma.
Boasting larger production values than Sandoval’s first two features, made on the fly portraits of garrulous, flailing masculinity, “Dry Martina” again questions gender models – not raving machismo but rather sex as a liberal woman’s ready fix for trauma in its story of a 35-year-old Argentine singer (Antonella Costa, “Garage Olimpo,” reportedly excellent) who is dumped, loses her voice, becomes frigid, falls in love/lust with handsome Chilean Carlos, follows him to Chile and finds some sort of family.
“La Negrada,” a double prize-winning hit at Morelia’s pix-in-post Impulso Morelia, serves confirmation of an emerging auteur in Pérez Solano (“La Tirisia”) who combines a naturalistic realism and singular social portraits of lesser-known Mexico, here of the black community in his native Oaxaca state.
Also a third feature and from Brazil’s Marília Hugues and Cláudio Marques who won praise with debut “After the Rain,” “Guerra de algodão” charts the culture clash and emotional wrench suffered by a young girl dispatched by her separating mother from her established life in Germany to life with her bohemian artist grandmother in Salvador.
Of other titles in “Copia 0,” “Yo, imposible,” from Venezuela’s Patricia Ortega, which is co-produced by Colombia’s Antorcha Films, turns on a religious woman who discovers she was intersex at birth; “Magalí,” directed by Argentina’s Juan Pablo Bitonto, is a dysfunctional family drama; and “Los últimos romantics,” the most mainstream of this year’s pix-in-post propositions, a coastal village-set cop farce, sporting a motley crew of odd-ball losers and a fine Argentine cast, led by Juan Minujín (“El Marginal”).
VENTANA SUR 2017 PRIMER CORTE, COPIA 0
“Miriam miente,” (Natalia Cabral, Oriol Estrada, Dominican Republic, Spain)
“El despertar de las hormigas,” (Antonella Sudasassi, Costa Rica)
“Perros sin cola,” (Carolina Quezada, Chile)
“La camarista,” (Lila Avilés, Mexico)
“Buenaventura Mon Amour,” (Jorge Navas, Colombia, Argentina)
“We’re All Sailors,” (Miguel Angel Moulet, Peru)
“Yo, imposible,” (Patricia Ortega, Venezuela)
“Guerra de algodão,”(Marília Hugues, Cláudio Marques, Brazil)
“La Negrada,” (Jorge Pérez Solano, Mexico)
“Los últimos románticos,” (Gabriel Drak, Argentina, Uruguay)
“Magalí,” (Juan Pablo Di Bitonto, Argentina)
“Dry Martina,” (Ché Sandoval (Chile – Argentina)