Claudia Huaiquimilla’s “My Brothers Dream Awake,” Thais Fujinaga’s “The Joy of Things” and Flavia Neves’ “Fogareu” will screen in Primer Corte or Copia Final, the two art film pix-in-post showcases at this year’s Ventana Sur, the biggest movie market in Latin America.
The Cannes Festival and Film Market’s biggest initiative outside France, Ventana Sur will run from Nov. 30 to Dec. 4.
“My Brothers Dream Awake” weighs in an enquiry into the lack of humanity in Chile’s juvenile detention system from writer-director Huaiquimilla whose debut, “Bad Influence” (“Mala Junta”) won the audience award at the Toulouse Latin American Cinema Festival.
“The Joy of Things” marks the feature debut of Brazil’s Fujinaga, a co-writer on Netflix’s “Omniscient,” from Boutique Filmes, as well as on a new season of HBO Latin America’s “Joint Venture,” co-directed by “City of God’s” Fernando Meirelles.
Neves’ debut, “Fogaréu” forms part of a burgeoning line in new Brazilian women director titles at Vania Catani’s Bananeira Filmes, whose international co-production credits take in Lisandro Alonso’s “Jauja” and Lucrecia Martel’s “Zama.”
Also in this year’s mix is the latest feature from “Lower City” director Sergio Machado, produced by Brazilian production powerhouse Gullane.
“Shame,” another title, represents the latest feature from the Opera Prima program at celebrated Mexican film school the Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica (CCC), whose past features take in Jorge Grau’s “We Are Who We Are,” David Pablos’ “A Life After” and Rodrigo Ruiz Patterson 2019 Primer Corte hit “Summer White.”
Primer Corte frames films in various stages of post-production, Copia Final titles nearing completion. One through-line in both sections this year is the quality of acting in multiple titles, said Morsch Kihn, co-curator of Primer Corte and Copia Final with Mercedes Abarca and Maria Nuñez.
Above all, the two sections look set to frame a new generation of rich directorial talent from Latin America, with women helmers often to the fore. Only three of the 12 directors chosen this year have made more than two solo features.
Movies also run a huge gamut from thriller, to fantasy musical, a Western, small and far larger-scale films, Morsch Kine argued.
“Many of the films accompany, register or represent moments of transition of their protagonists (or society) from one stage of life to another, or one value system to another, or from one world to another,” said Morsch Kine. “Many characters are in evolution, or a process of renovation in a contemporary world,” she added.
The 12 titles selected:
“The Joy of Things,” (“A felicidade das coisas,” Thais Fujinaga, Brazil)
Produced by Belo Horizonte new talent hub Filmes do Plastico, a nuanced, study of a middle-class mother under pressure, afraid of losing her pool at her small town beach-house, but all the more her son, who is growing up to fast.
“Album for Youth,” (“Album para la Juventud,” Malena Solarz, Argentina)
Seen at Mar del Plata as a work in progress a first solo feature from Solarz, after 2016’s co-directed “El invierno llega después del otoño,” a study of two teens exploring over the summer the passions – music, writing – which may one day become their professions which in its low-key character arcs plats like an alternative coming-of-age story. “A singular, observational film with regards to its cast, the length of shots, voices, noting intimate steps in the transition to adulthood,” observes Borsch Kihn.
“Fogareu” (Flavia Neves, Brazil)
Set in the colonial city of Golas, now home to a vast cattle herding and agricultural business, a boldly shot film noir portrait of the clash of old and new in Brazil as a young modern woman investigates her origins, which are not what they seem. “The film describes an archaic world, its social gulf and race relations, but through a thriller format,” says Morsch-Kihn
“Me and the Beasts,” (“Yo y las Bestias,” Nico Manzano, Venezuela)
An alternative rock band’s singer-guitarist starts a solo career, seeking inspiration as Venezuela’s crisis roils, accompanied, the synopsis says, by The Beasts, “two masked and mysterious beings.” An original, fantasy-tinged drama grounded in recent Venezuelan reality. “Social and political context is highly present in ‘Me and the Beasts’ but not in a frontal way,” according to Morsch Kihn.
“Shame,” (“Verguenza,” Miguel Salgado, Mexico)
A young baseball player is forced by a criminal gang to engage in a fight to the death with a close friend. “It’s a film which shows people’s helplessness in the face of so much violence” Morsch Kihn says.
“Wheatfield,” (“Trigal,” Anabel Caso, Mexico)
Produced by former Mexican Cinematheque director Paula Astorga and the first feature from Argentina-born and Mexico-based cineaste Caso, a bittersweet coming of age tale in which two teen girl cousins fall in love with the same man.
“The Barbaric” (“La Barbarie,” Andrew Sala, Argentina)
Nacho flees from Buenos Aires to his rich father’s ranch, discovers why his cows are being killed and is forced to choose between being a patron – a boss – or siding with the downtrodden. Sala’s follow-up to first solo feature “Pantanal.”
“The City of Wild Beasts” (“La Ciudad de las Fieras,” Henry Rincón Orozco, Colombia, Ecuador)
Tato, 17, a rap and street jam aficionado, is forced to seek shelter at his grandfather’s, a flower grower. A potential coming of age crowdpleaser from Rincón Orozco (“Hero Steps”).
“Anaira,” (Sergio Machado, Brazil)
A return to the set-up of “Lower City,” as three men lust after the same women, Anaira. It doesn’t help that they’re brothers, one’s married to Anaira, and another her lover. On paper, one of the most commercial plays in the section.
“The Mother,” (“A Mae,” Cristiano Burlan, Brazil)
The fifteenth feature in 14 years from Brazil’s Burlan, a take on “the excessive violence of one of most lethal police of the world, but also how structural racism operates in Brazilian society” as a woman battles to reclaim the body of her son, killed by the police.
“My Brothers Dream Awake,” (“Mis Hermanos Sueñan Despiertos,” Claudia Huaiquimilla, Chile)
A title which has big fest play written all over it. Two teen brothers, held without trail at an inhuman, high-security prison-like juvenile detention center in idyllic hills gradually countenance staging a riot to engineer their escape. Based on a real event, shot at real centers during the resurgence of opposition to Chile’s central government.
“The Visitor” (“El Vistante,” Martin Boulocq, Bolivia, Uruguay)
An ex-con battles his evangelical grandparents for custody of his daughter. From Boulocq, one of Bolivia’s most respected directors whose credits take in “Los Viejos,” and anthology “Rojo, Amarillo, Verde.”