Latino Movies at MoMA’s New Directors/New Films Are Unsettling, Thrilling, And Odd

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Dedicated to the discovery of new works by emerging and dynamic filmmaking talent, this year’s New Directors/New Films will screen movies representing almost 30 countries. “ND/NF has always been proudly committed to international cinema at its most inventive and progressive,” says Jytte Jensen, Curator of Film, The Museum of Modern Art and co-chair of the 2014 ND/NF selection committee. “This year’s representation of 29 countries in our selection is a testament to that dedication. Whether looking from the ‘outside-in’ on a culture or event or creating their own immersive world for their stories, each film has a personal style and vision that marks its director as an important cinematic storyteller: talented, intrepid, resourceful, and committed.”

This prestigious showcase runs March 19 – 30 and includes several Latino feature films and shorts playing at the Museum of Modern Art and the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York. Don’t miss out on the chance to catch a first-time director’s film so you can later brag, “I totally knew about that vato before he got all famous.” Here’s the complete list.

*If you can figure out all the films in the ND/NF trailer below you can win free tickets!

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To Kill a Man

Director: Alejandro Fernández Almendras

Country: Chile

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Bullying is a phenomenon that doesn’t just take place in the schoolyard. In Alejandro Almendras’ raw, unnerving psychological thriller, bullies and their victims live side by side in a working-class neighborhood. Passive Jorge tries to ignore the cruel taunting of some local thugs who would be considered juvenile delinquents if they weren’t full-grown adults. But when the worst of the bunch steals Jorge’s insulin syringe, and his son winds up in the hospital with a gunshot wound after attempting to get it back, Jorge and his wife seek redress legally—to no avail. The family is humiliated again and again, and when his teenage daughter is sexually threatened, Jorge, pushed over the edge, decides to take matters into his own hands.

Thursday, March 20, 6:30pm and Sunday, March 23, 3:30pm

History of Fear (Historia del miedo)

Director: Benjamín Naishtat

Country: Argentina

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How strong does a fence need to be, or how loud must an alarm blare, or how brightly should an open field be lit for us to feel safe? The impossibility of a definitive answer to these kinds of questions lies at the heart of Benjamín Naishtat’s unsettling feature debut. Set in an economically destabilized Argentina, the film weaves stories of characters from multiple social strata into an interlocking narrative of paranoia and fear. The isolation of wealth and detachment from neighbors causes insecurities to fester, feeding a “security consumption” culture and all its incumbent paraphernalia. As we begin to recognize and sympathize with the situations depicted, the most troubling realization of all arrives: we are doing it to ourselves.

Friday, March 21, 9:00pm and Sunday, March 23, 9:15pm

Story of My Death (Història de la meva mort)

Director: Albert Serra

Country: Spain

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No one else working in movies today makes anything remotely like the Catalan maverick Albert Serra, a cerebral oddball and improbable master of cinematic antiquity. Known for his unconventional adaptations of Cervantes’s Don Quixote (Honor of the Knights) and the Biblical parable of the Three Kings (Birdsong), Serra here stages the 18th-century passage from rationalism to romanticism as a tussle between two figures of legend, Casanova and Dracula. Against a backdrop of candlelit conversation and earthy carnality, Serra sets in motion contrasting ideas about pleasure and desire, alternating between winding philosophical dialogue and wordless passages of savage beauty.

Wednesday, March 26, 9:00pm and Saturday, March 29, 5:30pm

ND/NF Shorts Program 1

The Island (La isla)

Dominga Sotomayor and Katarzyna Klimkiewicz, Chile/Poland/Denmark, 30 min.

The mood of a family gathering on a beautiful island darkens when one of the guests fails to show up.

ND/NF Shorts Program 2

Landscape (Paisaje)

Matias Umpierrez, Argentina, 13 min.

In the aftermath of tragedy, a woman seeks solace in nature.

Pieces (Anacos)

Xacio Baño, Spain, 7 min.

A young man assembles fragments of his mother’s life.

The Reaper (La Parka)

Gabriel Serra, Mexico, 29 min.

An exploration of a man’s relationship with death, and what one must do to live.