Maybe you haven’t made it out to the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria yet but you really should. Besides their uber-popular current installation — a playable exhibition of some of the most innovative indie video games of the last decade — this weekend marks the kickoff of the third annual First Look film series. Running January 10 – 19, the showcase features recent international cinema with an emphasis on inventive, thoughtful, and provocative films.
Amongst the 16 films screening this year are two films from Chile, Sebastián Sepúlveda’s strikingly stark debut The Quispe Girls (Las niñas quispe) and Marcela Said’s naturalistic and subtle coming-of-age story, The Summer of Flying Fish (El verano de los peces voladores). At the heart of both films is the fight to preserve a disappearing way of life, of indigenous Chileans struggling to survive. Together, these two movies create a strong showing for Chile which finds itself in the midst of a full-bloomed cinematic renaissance. From Spain comes Juan Barrero’s The Inner Jungle (La jungla interior) an intimate and candid personal film in which the director points his camera at his girlfriend and the couple’s relationship.
Director: Juan Barrero
Saturday, January 11, 4:15 pm
Before a long scientific expedition to the Galapagos Islands, Juan takes his girlfriend Gala to his childhood town, where they talk about their future plans. When he returns from the jungle five months later to find that Gala is pregnant, Barrero uses his camera to candidly—and lyrically—record the wide range of feelings that pass between the couple.
Director: Sebastián Sepúlveda
Sunday, January 12, 5:00 pm
In the remote, almost primeval world of a nearly isolated Chilean mountainscape in 1974, three goat-herding sisters survive, somewhat rootlessly after the death of a fourth sister. Pinochet’s rise to power is a distant echo, and the new dictator’s edict against herding threatens their meager livelihood. The aging matriarch, Justa, is suspicious of the clothing salesman who visits occasionally; the youngest sister, Luciana, holds on to her romantic desires.
Director: Marcela Said
Sunday, January 12, 8:00 pm
Chilean documentarian Marcela Said’s debut feature situates a tender, bittersweet coming-of-age story in the expansive terrains of southern Chile near Patagonia. As bright-eyed teenager Manena vacations with her family in their summer lake house, she meets new friends, finds her first love, and embarks on a journey of discovery.