Latin Films at NYFF

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When I read that Pedro Almodóvar was premiering his new film, La piel que habito (The Skin I Live In), at the New York Film Festival, my cine-nerd heart almost exploded. Then the euphoric glee I had felt was quickly replaced with shock and outrage when I found out the ticket price for the special gala screening is fifty dollars. I could already hear my mom yelling at me: “No lo puedo creer! You spent fifty dollars on a pinche movie?”

The tickets for regular screenings aren’t much cheaper at $20 – $24. Come on! In this economy that is just rude. Thankfully, the NYFF has taken mercy on us 99% that are suffering through this crappy economy and is offering a cheaper option. One hour before showtime, a limited number of rush tickets to selected festival screenings will go on sale (ranging from $10-$12). So head over to Lincoln Center, grab some of your #occupywallstreet amigos, bring a tent, and get in line early. Hopefully you can snag a ticket to some of the Latin American films screening at this year’s festival.


Miss Bala
Directed by Gerardo Naranjo
Country: Mexico | Spanish with English subtitles | Running time: 113m

“One of the most exciting young talents around, the Mexican director Gerardo Naranjo (I’m Gonna Explode) approaches the hot-button topic of drug violence through the perspective of an unlikely, unwitting heroine: a Tijuana beauty pageant contestant (Stephanie Sigman) who stumbles into the path of ruthless cartel operatives and corrupt officials.”


The Student (El estudiante)
Directed by Santiago Mitre
Country: Argentina | Spanish with English subtitles | Running time: 110m

“Politics is a game, a seduction, and a vicious cycle in Santiago Mitre’s gripping, fine-tuned debut, the story of Roque (Esteban Lamothe), a university student who falls for a radicalized teacher and organizer (Romina Paula) and soon finds himself entangled with Buenos Aires campus activists, in a world as heated and byzantine as the one inhabited by the student revolutionaries of the mythic 1960s.”


Music According to Tom Jobim
Directed by Nelson Pereira dos Santos
Country: Brazil | Portuguese with English subtitles | Running time: 88m

“Composer/performer Antonio Carlos “Tom” Jobim introduced Brazil and bossa nova to the world with “The Girl from Ipanema.” He went on to write literally dozens of classic songs recorded by the international royalty of pop music. Legendary Brazilian director Nelson Pereira dos Santos has now created this loving, tuneful tribute to Jobim, featuring extraordinary renditions of Jobim standards by artists ranging from Judy Garland, Dizzy Gillespie, Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald to Caetano Veloso, Gal Costa, Chico Buarque and Lisa Ono.”


Directed by Hugo Santiago, 1969
Country: Argentina | Spanish with English subtitles | Running time: 123m

“A little-known classic of Latin American cinema, Invasión was the first work conceived specifically for the cinema by the great Jorge Luis Borges, in collaboration with his friend Adolfo Bioy Casares. A kind of updating of The Illiad that breathlessly morphs from police thriller to dream-like fantasy, the film is set in Aquiléa, a city that looks a lot like Buenos Aires currently under siege by sinister forces. A group of middle-aged men, led by a somewhat older man, resolve to mount resistance to the invaders. Meetings are held, maps are studied, strategies are proposed—but can the invasion really be overcome?”


The Skin I Live In (La piel que habito)
Directed by Pedro Almdóvar
Country: Spain | Spanish with English subtitles | Running time: 117m

Yeah, we’ve gone out of our way to make sure you know about this one.

“Dr. Robert Ledgard (a welcome return for Antonio Banderas) is a world famous plastic surgeon who argues for the development of new, tougher human skin; unbeknownst to others, Dr. Ledgard has been trying to put his theory into practice, keeping a young woman, Vera (Elena Anaya), imprisoned in his mansion while subjecting her to an increasingly bizarre regime of treatments. Fascinated by the thin layer of appearance that stands between our perception of someone and that person’s inner essence, Almodóvar here addresses that continuing theme in his work in a bold, unsettling exploration of identity.”


This year’s New York Film Festival also includes a series of forums and panels with NYFF filmmakers (including Almodóvar). All events are FREE (on a space available basis). If you can’t be bothered to wait in line many of the forums will be available to watch online via Livestream.

The New York Film Festival runs through October 16, 2011.