×
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

  • Bradley Cooper speaks at the 30th

    Producers Guild Shifts 2020 Awards Show to Hollywood Palladium

    The Producers Guild of America will hold its 31st Annual Producers Guild Awards at the Hollywood Palladium, shifting the site from the Beverly Hilton Hotel. The PGA had already announced that the show would take place on Jan. 18. The organization, which represents more than 8,000 producers, announced Thursday that it has launched a new [...]

  • Adam Driver appears in The Report

    Amazon’s ‘The Report’ Gets U.K. Theatrical Release Ahead of Streaming Launch

    Amazon Studio’s “The Report” will be released theatrically in the U.K. three weeks before it lands on the Prime Video streaming service. The Scott Z. Burns film tells the story of Daniel J. Jones, a U.S. Senate staffer who worked to reveal that truth about an “enhanced interrogation” program run by the CIA in the [...]

  • Elton John performing at Earls Court,

    Elton John Has a Message for Struggling LGBTQ Youth: 'Be Proud of Who You Are'

    Elton John isn’t at a loss for words when asked if he has a message for young LGBTQ people who are struggling with their sexuality or gender identity. In an exclusive interview with Variety at last month’s Cannes Film Festival, just hours before the world premiere of his long-in-the-works biopic “Rocketman,” John spoke candidly about the [...]

  • Salma Hayek Owen Wilson Bliss

    Salma Hayek, Owen Wilson to Star in Amazon's Sci-Fi Drama 'Bliss'

    Salma Hayek and Owen Wilson have signed on to star in Amazon’s science-fiction drama “Bliss,” with Mike Cahill directing from his own script. Wilson portrays a recently divorced man whose life is falling apart when he meets Hayek’s character, a woman who lives on the streets and is convinced that the polluted, broken world around [...]

  • Donald Glover Beyonce

    Beyoncé and Donald Glover Harmonize in 'Can You Feel the Love Tonight' Ad Preview

    Anyone who’s longed to hear Beyoncé and Donald Glover harmonizing got just enough to further whet the appetite in a first snippet of their version of “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?” that’s included in a new commercial for Disney’s upcoming “Lion King” remake. The TV spot lasts just 30 seconds, hardly time at all [...]

  • Pride Allies

    The Hollywood Allies Who Helped Protect, Advance the LGBTQ Community This Year

    Strong and proud as it is, the LGBTQ community’s fight for equality needs allies — from loving and accepting families to galvanized colleagues and corporations to the movie star you’ve never met calling for boycotts of a homophobic nation-state. Several of those queer supporters in Hollywood and music used the megaphones of social media, public [...]

  • 'Easy A' Spinoff in the Works

    'Easy A' Spinoff in the Works From Original Screenwriter (EXCLUSIVE)

    Nearly a decade after the success of “Easy A,” a spinoff of the coming-of-age comedy is in the works. Sources tell Variety that Screen Gems has appointed Bert Royal, who penned the first script, to write and direct the upcoming movie. Insiders stress that the film is still in early development, as Royal is still [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content