It’s an unprecedented week for Latin American films (and one Spanish one). It’s not that often that a movie in Spanish lands in U.S. theaters but this past weekend four of them opened across the country. Because so few of these films play in theaters they don’t tend to be box office blockbusters. This makes film distributors wary, so they often take a cautious approach. Usually, they release the film in one or two cities and see how it goes. If the movies make a decent amount of money then they start expanding to other cities. So if you are in L.A. or New York City do your friends a favor and go see some of these. That way your friends that live out in the middle of nowhere might get a chance to check them out. ¡Ándale! Get out there and support these awesome-o award-winning películas from Chile, Argentina, Mexico, and España.
VIOLETA SE FUE A LOS CIELOS (Violeta Went to Heaven)
Director: Andrés Wood
Playing: In New York
Violeta Went to Heaven tells the story of famed Chilean singer and folklorist Violeta Parra, tracing her evolution from impoverished child to international sensation and Chile’s national hero, while capturing the swirling intensity of her inner contradictions, fallibilities, and passions. Listen to the film’s soundtrack here.
The film opened March 29 at New York City’s Lincoln Plaza Cinemas and the Quad Cinema, the film will open in additional cities in April, including Santa Fe (The Screen) on April 12 and in Chicago (Music Box Theatre) and Los Angeles (Laemmle Royal Theatre) on April 26, before expanding nationwide.
Director: Omar Rodriguez-Lopez
Country: USA, Mexico
Playing: In Los Angeles
Directed by Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (best known for being the guitarist of The Mars Volta) and set amid the noisy outskirts of some unnamed Mexican metropolis, Los Chidos tells the story of the Gonzales Family. Proprietors of a tire repair junkyard sandwiched between two busy freeways, the Gonzales clan’s days are spent wallowing in a lazy, mindless routine. When a confused American industrialist happens into the shop with a flat tire, the family’s place in the shame-free food chain is called into question. A scenario unfolds whereby the pale stranger finds himself welcomed into their fold. He is soon infatuated with the newlywed bride of the family’s neighbor. As a love blossoms, dark secrets begin emerging.
Los Chidos is playing at the Downtown Independent in Los Angeles, March 29th through April 4th.
ELEFANTE BLANCO (White Elephant)
Director: Pablo Trapero
Playing: In Miami
Internationally acclaimed actor Ricardo Darín (The Secret in Their Eyes) stars in Pablo Trapero’s (Carancho) political thriller White Elephant (Elefante Blanco). In the film, set in a shantytown in the neglected slums of Buenos Aires, Darín plays Father Julián alongside Jérémie Renier as Father Nicolás – two activist priests and long-standing friends working passionately to help the local people. The triangle of the film is fleshed out by the electric Martina Guzmán (Carancho) as an agnostic social worker fighting against corruption and drug violence alongside the priests. Each person’s faith and commitments, as well as those of the entire underdog community in which they work, are ultimately put to the test.
White Elephant opened March 29 in Miami at the Coral Gables Cinema.
Director: Pablo Berger
Playing: In New York and Los Angeles
Once upon a time there was a little girl who had never known her mother. She learned the art of bullfighting from her famous matador father but was hated by her evil stepmother. One day she ran away with a troupe of dwarves and became a legend. Set in southern Spain in 1920s, Blancanieves is a tribute to silent films. It was also Spain’s official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar for 2012.
Blancanieves opened March 29th in New York (at the The Paris Theater and the Angelika Film Center) and in Los Angeles (at the Laemmle Royal Theatre and Laemmle Sunset 5).