The Cartagena International Film Festival, the oldest film festival in Latin America, takes place in one of the most beautiful Colombian cities on the Caribbean coast. It’s an enviable locale for an event that features hand-picked selections of the best and brightest in Latin American film. But, for those of us who won’t be able to make it to the sandy beaches in Cartagena, Festival Scope has got our back. Continuing their mission to “not only to give film lovers a glimpse of upcoming releases, but also to promote and help these films reach their deserved audiences,” the ever-growing site offers an online venue for festivals around the world. And this week, they’re making 9 films freely available that are part of the 56th edition of the famed Colombian fest.
As to what to put at the top of your queue? We suggest you look at Anna, the directorial debut of Jacques Toulemonde Vidal who wrote this year’s Oscar-nominated Embrace of the Serpent. The film follows Anna, a free-spirited woman who’s as likely to be found drinking with friends as she is to be suffering through another lecture by the father of their child who’s now threatening to challenge their joint custody. Thankfully, Anna (Juana Acosta) has a plan: she’ll flee back to her native Colombia with her kid and her new boyfriend. What could possibly go wrong, right?
You might also want to take a look at Luis Ospina’s documentary Todo comenzó por el fin (It All Started at the End). The film is a self-portrait as well as a living document of the 70s and 80s artist collective known as the Cali group. It’s a great history lesson for those looking to learn more about the revolutionary art created by this collective. More touching still is the fact that Ospina was diagnosed with cancer midway through assembling the history of the colleagues he’d already outlived and hoped to memorialize.
Among the rest of the FICCI selection, you can find Juan Sebastián Quebrada’s Días extraños (Strange Days) about a Colombian couple in Buenos Aires, and Nicolás Rincón Gilles’s Noche herida (Wounded Night) about a displaced woman living in a shack in Bogotá hoping to keep her grandsons out of trouble. And for those of you who want something more lunch-break friendly, Festival Scope has five shorts available including Camilo Restrepo’s La impresión de una guerra (Impression of a War) which won the Silver Leopard at Locarno Film Festival in the Leopards of Tomorrow Competition and which tackles the insurmountable task of trying to explore the armed conflict that’s been afflicting Colombia for over 70 years.
What are you waiting for? Remember that these films, in true festival fashion, will only be available for a short time. They’ll all expire from Festival Scope on March 9th and are only open to the first 600 viewers! You can stream them worldwide (except in Colombia.)