×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Ventana Sur’s Copia Final: Women Fighting Back, Social Issue Movies With a Mainstream Edge

MADRID — Women fighting back. Three of the six titles in Ventana Sur’s Copia Final this year picture women confronting outrage or tragedy – gender violence (“Do You Like Me?”), the abduction of a new born baby (“Song Without a Name”) or the death of a husband (“Venezia”) – and reacting, in multifarious fashions.

“Do You Like Me?” has a thriller edge. Three more, underscoring Latin American cinema’s current broad range, show Latin American filmmakers enrolling mainstream beats to appeal beyond traditional arthouse audiences in more accessible titles, whether in an unusual immigration drama (“Marionette”), or via empathy with a challenged protagonist (“The Friendly Man”) or a straight-up coming of age tale (“This Is Not Berlin”).

Set in Buenos Aires’ housing projects, “Do You Like Me?” starts as a crime thriller, then bucks generic commonplaces as it delivers a numbing gender violence and revenge drama. Authentic in setting, observance of daily life and the near documentary cast of the brief aftermath to its dramatic climax, “Do You Like Me?” also boasts a talent-to-track lead in newcomer Marina Krasinsky playing a teen daughter who joins her local gang’s Japanese restaurant heist in order to pay off her family debt. The consequences, in a world rife in machism, are traumatic.

The debut feature of Peru’s Melina León, “Song Without a Name” is shot in black and white, like her breakthrough short “El paraíso de Lili,” which bowed at the New York Film Festival in 2009. Inspired by a real event, co-produced by New York’s Torch Films and lensed by Inti Briones, DP on Dominga Sotomayor’s Locarno winner “Too Late to Die Young,” it turns on a Andean woman musician whose newly-born baby mysteriously disappears. She initiates a desperate search, helped by a journalist in a film which, in its portrait of the Peruvian city of Ayacucho, borders at times on a near documentary, said Copia Final co-curator José María Riba.

Maybe the most classic art film of the six, “Venezia” weighs in drama about a woman who is forced to stay in Venice after her husband dies on their honeymoon. The event allows her to reconsider her life. Set up at Twins Latin Films, it is directed by Argentina’s Rodrigo Guerrero (“The Winter of the Odd Ones Out”).

Copia Final titles were chosen by Eva Morsch Kihn, head of programing at the Toulouse Cinelatino Festival, José María Riba, Different! co-organizer and journalist, and María Nuñez, one of the creators and curators of Ventana Sur’s industry showcases from their origins. In contrast with Ventana Sur’s Primer Corte pix-on-post strand, Copia Final titles are little-seen, completed but fresh movies yet to see commercial release outside their country of origin, Riba said.

With two titles also in Primer Corte and Copia Final, it looks like Mexico has had a good year, Riba said, stressing the titles’ inclusion had nothing to do with Mexico being Ventana Sur’s country of honor this year.

One Mexican title, “Marionette,” is a take on Cuban immigration, not to the U.S. but Mexico, just as the “Acorazado,” the Morelia-winning feature debut of Alvaro Curiel de Icaza, a prolific big series director (Fox’s “Besieged,” Disney’s “Hasta que te conocí”), was the tale of a Mexican who rafts towards Miami and ends up in Cuba.

Less broad farce than “Acorazado,” more of a romantic dramedy, “Marionette” turns on a famed Cuban actor, out of work and up to his neck in Mexico when he starts teaching his acting skills to a small-time mob’s network of beggars and falls for its boss’ woman. The co-producer is Monica Lozano’s Alebrije Producciones, producer of “Amores perros” and “Instructions Not Included,” and a shrewd judge of made-for-an audience movies.

A suspense film in which the political situation of Brazil is present, without being addressed head-on, Riba said, in another title inviting spectators to invest in the fortunes of its lead, Iberê Carvalho’s “The Friendly Man” has a now 60-something singer in an ‘80s punk rock band accidentally murdering a police officer. Over one long night in Sao Paulo, as a video of the murder goes viral, he gets to reconsider his political credos. “A thriller and kind of ‘After Hours,’” said Riba, “The Friendly Man” is written by Carvalho and Pablo Stoll, a leading light of the New Uruguay Cinema.

A straight-up coming of age film dealing in art, discovering one’s sexuality and friendship which will survive adolescent perils, “This Is Not Berlin” marks the fifth feature of Hari Sama who has carved out a hallmark as a director-producer at Mexico’s Catatonia of high-end open arthouse movies, sluiced with cinematic or artistic echoes and focusing on the broad tribulations of Mexican youth. His own films and Alonso Ruizpalacios’ “Güeros,” Berlin’s 2014 best first feature winner, are the most prominent examples.

VENTANA SUR, 2018, COPIA FINAL

“Song Without a Name,” (Melina León, Peru)

“This is Not Berlin,” (Hari Sama, Mexico)

“Marionette,” (Álvaro Curiel de Icaza, Mexico)

“The Friendly Man,” (Iberê Carvalho, Brasil)

“Venezia,” (Rodrigo Guerrero, Argentina, France)

“Do You Like Me?,” (Edgardo Mario González, Argentina)

More Film

  • Jennifer Lopez

    Jennifer Lopez 'Absolutely' Wants to Direct Film and Television

    Jennifer Lopez epitomizes the phrase “she’s done it all” — but there’s still more that the superstar would like to do. Lopez recently directed her first music video, “Limitless,” the track featured on her new rom-com “Second Act,” and it seems the multi-hyphenate has caught the directing bug. “Absolutely, absolutely,” Lopez responded when asked by [...]

  • Daniel Craig

    Rian Johnson's Murder Mystery 'Knives Out,' Starring Daniel Craig, Set for Thanksgiving Release

    Lionsgate has bought distribution rights to Daniel Craig’s murder mystery “Knives Out” and set a Thanksgiving release date of Nov. 27. MRC financed “Knives Out,” directed by Rian Johnson — best known for “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” Lionsgate will also distribute the pic worldwide. The movie came together during the Toronto International Film Festival [...]

  • The favourite Movie

    Olivia Colman to Be Honored by Palm Springs Festival for 'The Favourite'

    “The Favourite” star Olivia Colman will receive the Desert Palm Achievement Award by the Palm Springs International Film Festival. The award will be presented by her co-star Emma Stone at the festival’s awards gala on Jan. 3 at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The festival, now in its 30th year, runs from Jan. 3 to [...]

  • Oscars Oscar Academy Awards Placeholder

    Motion Pictures Academy Announces Scientific and Technical Awards

    The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced nine scientific and technical achievements, represented by 27 individual recipients, to be honored at the annual Scientific and Technical Awards Presentation Feb. 9 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. In addition, Curtis Clark will be receiving the John A. Bonner Award for his service [...]

  • Once Upon a Deadpool trailer

    Box Office: 'Once Upon a Deadpool' Earns $1 Million on Wednesday

    Fox’s “Once Upon a Deadpool,” a reimagining of “Deadpool 2,” picked up an estimated $1 million from 1,566 theaters during Wednesday previews. In the PG-13 version, the Merc with a Mouth retells the heroic sequel as a bedtime story to Fred Savage a la “Princess Bride.” Because there aren’t clear comps, rival studios and industry [...]

  • Queen of Scots Hair and Makeup

    'Mary Queen of Scots' Hair, Makeup Artist Gave Substance and Style to Battling Queens

    Jenny Shircore has done the makeup and hair of several queens over the years: Cate Blanchett in “Elizabeth” and “Elizabeth: The Golden Age” (she won an Oscar for the former) and Emily Blunt in “The Young Victoria.”  In fact, she had to be convinced to do it again for Saoirse Ronan’s Queen Mary and Margot Robbie’s [...]

  • Richard E. Grant Variety Facetime Interview

    Richard E. Grant on Working With Melissa McCarthy on 'Can You Ever Forgive Me?'

    Richard E. Grant has been winning kudos for his supporting role in Fox Searchlight’s “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” The film, written by Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty, was directed by Marielle Heller and stars Melissa McCarthy as real-life celebrity biography Lee Israel. Was “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” a fast shoot? Yes, 26 days and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content