The kick-off for the 68th Berlinale Film Festival just happened yesterday, February 15th. And with it, hundreds of relevant films will begin their long-year journey through the Film Festivals circuits of 2018.
Every year, the Berlinale Film Festival brings a wide range of films, actors, directors, and a fistful of Hollywood figures, (like Wes Anderson with Isle of Dogs in the Competition)
The Latin American movie complex keeps struggling to make it into the A-Grade International Film Festival Competitions in Europe, (plus Tokyo and Moscow), without being a rarity but a serious top-level production. In the past few years, Latin American filmmakers have been in the spotlight in festivals like Venice, Cannes, and Berlinale as well.
This year’s selection includes eight films into the official competition, two of which are long-films and most of the Berlinale shorts come from Portugese speaking countries. This could be a great year for the Latin American cinematography and Berlinale is a good start to prove it.
All you need to know about the
wild wide-range of Latin American Movies
Official Competition (Long Films)
Las herederas (The Heiresses)
Paraguay / Uruguay / Germany / Brazil / Norway / France 2018
Chela and Chiquita have been a couple for a very long time. Over the years they have become adapted to a fixed allocation of roles. Extroverted Chiquita is responsible for managing their life together. Chela on the other hand is reluctant to leave the house, preferring to spend the day at her easel. Financial difficulties force them to sell some of their inherited furniture, each part of which is a beloved piece of memorabilia. When Chiquita is sent to prison for debt, Chela is suddenly left on her own. She uses her old Daimler to provide a taxi service to wealthy older ladies in the neighbourhood. In her new role as chauffeur, she meets one of these ladies’ daughters – the young and life-affirming Angy. The encounter lures the rather passive Chela out of her reserve and helps her rediscover her own desires.
Exploring the outside world as tentatively and carefully as its heroine, the film increasingly trains its gaze on a social strata that is strangely cut-off from reality and lives without a thought for tomorrow. However, when Chela visits her girlfriend in prison, a completely different picture emerges of conditions in Paraguay. (source: Berlinale Official Webpage).
Perennial students Juan and Wilson are planning a daring coup. They intend to break into the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City and steal precious Mayan, Mixtec and Zapotec artefacts, in particular the funerary mask of King Pakal. While their families celebrate Christmas they get down to business, just like a couple of seasoned criminals. Everything goes off without a hitch and, with their sports bags stuffed full of treasures, they return home to see on the news how their deed is described as an attack on the entire nation. Only now do they realise the gravity of their actions. Feeling more than a little queasy, they set about fencing their haul. The ensuing road movie takes us from the impressive Mayan ruins of Palenque to the chic seaside resort of Acapulco. Even when Juan and Wilson are behind the wheel, their endeavour has long since gone off the rails. Revisiting the true events of 1985 when it was initially thought that professionals had pulled off the heist, the film is as surprising as the original case. Like its heroes, it too has a crafty way of getting down to the nitty-gritty, reinventing itself with every twist, and nodding to several film genres along the way. (source: Berlinale Official Webpage).
Berlinale Shorts (short-films)
Manque La Banca
A mystical place, an enchanted story: A group of knights, imported directly from the Middle Ages, go ashore on the banks of the Río de la Plata. They are searching for a grave where they wish to perform a ritual. As they pass through the jungle, things happen that cause them to land in the present day. They have sex, find a car, enjoy a sunset with beers in their hands. Then an announcement comes over the radio that makes everything appear in a different light, and there’s no going back. This past summer demonstrations took place in southern Argentina against the Italian fashion and textile company Benetton. The company owns enormous tracts of land there that originally belonged to the Mapuche people. The indigenous Mapuche have been trying to get their property back for years in order to live in a self-determined manner. The protests were associated with excesses on both sides; Santiago Maldonado, who demonstrated with the Mapuche, disappeared in their midst. ‘Never again’ was the widespread sentiment at the end of the dictatorship in Argentina, now the old threat seems to be looming again. There is no escape from reality – one has to face up to it. The filmmaker breaks open prevalent stereotypes in order to tell his own story free of hegemonial interference.
These three films create most of the hype around the Latin American films in this Berlinale’s edition, but there’s more:
Alma Bandida (The Hooligan Soul) Marco Antônio Pereira. Brazil
Madness (Madness) France / Portugal / Mozambique / Guinea-Bissau / Qatar
Onde o Verão Vai (episódios da juventude) (Where the Summer Goes (chapters on youth)) David Pinheiro Vicente. Portugal
Russa João Salaviza, Ricardo Alves Jr. Portugal / Brazil
Terremoto Santo (Holy Tremor) Bárbara Wagner, Benjamin de Burca. Brazil
La cama (The Bed) Monica Lairana. Argentina / Germany / Netherlands / Brazil
La casa lobo (The Wolf House) Cristóbal León, Joaqín Cociña. Chile
Con el viento (Facing the Wind) Meritxell Colell Aparicio Spain / Argentina / France
Los débiles (The Weak Ones) Raúl Rico, Eduardo Giralt Brun. Mexico
Drvo (The Tree) André Gil Mata. Portugal
Kaoticni zivot Nade Kadic (The Chaotic Life of Nada Kadic) Marta Hernaiz. Mexico / Bosnia and Herzegovina
Mariphasa (Mariphasa) Sandro Aguilar. Portugal
Santo contra Cerebro del Mal(Santo vs Evil Brain) Joselito Rodríguez. Mexico
Teatro de guerra (Theatre of War) Lola Arias. Argentina / Spain
Unas preguntas (One or two Questions) Kristina Konrad. Germany / Uruguay
Eu sou o Rio(I am the River) Gabraz Sanna, Anne Santos. Brazil
Land(Land) Babak Jalali. Italiy / France / Netherlands / Mexico
Malambo, el hombre bueno(Malambo, the Good Man) Santiago Loza. Argentina
Marilyn(Marilyn) Martín Rodríguez Redondo. Argentina/Chile
La omisión(The Omission) Sebastián Schjaer. Argentina / Netherlands/ Switzerland
Tinta Bruta(Hard Paint) Marcio Reolon, Filipe Matzembacher. Brazil
RetabloÁlvaro Delgado Aparicio. Peru / Germany / Norway
Viaje a los Pueblos Fumigados(Reise in die vergifteten Dörfer) Fernando, (Pino), Solanas. Argentina
Berlinale Special Gala
The Bookshop Isabel Coixet. Germany / Spain / UK