Latino Films at the NY Film Fest

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The New York Film Festival, held at Lincoln Center, is kicking off on Friday with Life of Pi, the festival’s Opening Night film directed by Academy Award-winner Ang Lee. Besides the high-profile opener, this year’s edition (it’s 50th) está repleto with Latin American películas. There’s a heavy Chilean presence, including the much anticipated film No, directed by Pablo Larraín and starring Gael García Bernal (sigh). Oh, and GGB is gonna be at the screenings. You better get in line early! After getting your GGB fix try and check out the other Latino films at the New York Film Festival.

Pablo Larraín
Chile/USA | Spanish with English subtitles

Pablo Larraín and Gael García Bernal in person at both screenings!

In 1988, in an effort to extend and legitimize its rule, the Chilean military junta announced it would hold a plebiscite to get the people’s permission to stay in power. Despite being given 15 minutes a day to plead its case on television, the anti-Pinochet opposition was divided and without a clear message. Enter Rene Saavedra (an excellent Gael García Bernal), an ad man who, after a career pushing soft drinks and soap, sets out to sell Chileans on democracy and freedom.

Why You MUST See This Movie: Besides the fact that Gael Garcia Bernal is in it, it got a standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival where it had its world premiere. It also was just announced as Chile’s entry for the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award. And did I mention that Gael Garcia Bernal is in it? I mostly wanna see how good he is at faking a Chilean accent.

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Here and There
Aquí y Allá | Antonio Méndez Esparza
Mexico/Spain/USA | Spanish with English subtitles

Pedro returns home to a small mountain village in Guerrero, Mexico after years of working in the U.S. His daughters feel more distant than he imagined, but his wife Teresa is delighted he’s back. With the money he’s earned he can create a better life for his family, and maybe even start the band with his cousins he’s dreamed about for years. But work back home remains scarce, and the temptation of heading back north of the border remains as strong as ever.

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The Dead Man and Being Happy
El muerto y ser feliz | Javier Rebollo
Spain/Argentina/France | Spanish with English subtitles

For his third feature, the gifted Spanish director Javier Rebollo (Woman Without Piano) has decamped to Argentina and created a literate, screwball road movie that Borges surely would have loved. The “dead man” of the title is Santos (veteran Spanish screen star José Sacristán), a cancer-stricken hired killer who flees his Buenos Aires hospital bed and sets off on one last assignment. It is a journey that takes him through an interior Argentina rarely glimpsed in movies, from the Cordoba resort town of La Cumbrecita (with its disproportionate—and disconcerting—population of elderly Germans) to the northern province of Santiago del Estero. Along the way, Santos finds himself joined by Alejandra (the wonderful Roxana Blanco), an attractive middle-aged woman who impulsively jumps into his vintage Ford Falcon at a gas station and soon thwarts him from his intended path.

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Night Across the Street
La noche de enfrente | Raoul Ruiz
Chile/France | Spanish, French with English Subtitles

In August 2011, the cinema sadly lost one of its most magical artists, director Raoul Ruiz—but, happily, not before he left us with one final masterpiece. Returning to his native Chile, Ruiz introduces us here to Don Celso, a bespectacled office worker heading into retirement. After an evening’s poetry class, Celso starts to narrate several tales from his childhood to his teacher, guiding the audience both within and outside the film through various levels of reality that mix the private and the public, the historical and the mythic, the here and the beyond.

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Lines of Wellington
Linhas de Wellington | Valeria Sarmiento
France/Portugal | English, Portuguese, French with English Subtitles

Director Valeria Sarmiento in person for both screenings!

After conquering Spain, Napoleon Bonaparte sent a powerful army to invade Portugal in 1810. The French plowed through the resistance mounted against them until, as they approached Lisbon, they were met by a combined British and Portuguese army under the command of the Viscount Wellington. That’s the general historical outline for Valeria Sarmiento’s extraordinarily intimate epic of the Peninsular War. Along the way, we witness love affairs and treachery, noble action and selfish cruelty, from the highest social echelons to the most humble quarters.

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Rush Tickets: So, here’s the thing, tickets to most screenings are $24. Yeah, $24 for one movie! But, some screenings will have RUSH tickets available one hour before the movie starts. On the day of the screening, check for updates, cross your fingers, and get in line way way early. If you’re at the front of the line, you may get lucky and get a $12 discounted ticket.

Film Society of Lincoln Center

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The New York Film Festival, presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center, runs September 28 – October 14