Top Movies at the Chicago Latino Film Festival

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As the oldest and most comprehensive Latin film event in the country, the Chicago Latino Film Festival has grown to host more than 35,000 attendees in its 26-year lifespan, which is clear evidence of the great demand for quality Latin films. This year, the Chicago Latino Film Festival presents over 100 films, from fiction to documentaries, that reflect the great diversity of Latin culture; as an added bonus, the fest holds special events such as film screenings and workshops held in theaters, colleges, universities and community base organizations. The festival takes place from April 16 to 19.

These are our top six recommendations from the event.

La Mosca en la Ceniza
Gabriela David, Argentina (2009)

Nancy and Pato are best friends who decide to leave their small town to go to Buenos Aires in search of a better life. Once in the city, they’re tricked and forced to work in a brothel. One of them resists recruitment while the other adapts to her new way of life in order to survive. Now they must work together if they ever want to regain their freedom. The film portrays a reality that people prefer to keep unseen.

Monday, April 26 at 5:30pm and Thursday, April 29 at 8:30pm | Landmark Century Theater

Mariposa Negra
Julio Lombardi, Peru (2006)

In this thriller, everything around the murder of judge Guido Pazos seems to be unclear. Forced to spin his death as a gay romance gone wrong, Angelina (a local reporter) and the victim’s girlfriend Gabriela enter a confrontation, only to join forces later to delve deep into the mystery, as Alberto Fujimori’s dictatorship falters on its last legs.

Friday, April 16 at 7:00pm and Saturday, April 24 at 3:00pm | Landmark Century Theater

De Ollas y Sueños
Ernesto Cabellos, Peru (2009)

In this provocative documentary, Peruvian food takes the cake and we can see how it takes part of new cities and people around the world. Many years ago Spaniards came to the Americas and discovered the civilizations and places where Peru was to be founded; now the Southern nation goes out to conquer back the world with its food. And while we may find different influences and recipes to cook a ceviche, causa or ají de gallina just like Gastón Acurio does, the food hides treasures among its spices, history and other elements surrounding an evolved dish take a whole new meaning if analyzed closely. That’s why director Ernesto Cabellos asks: Can an entire nation be represented by its food?

Wednesday, April 21 at 8:45pm and Saturday, April 24 at 7:30pm | Landmark Century Theater

Tres Días Con La Familia (pictured)
Mar Coll, Spain (2009)

We’ve all been trapped in an awkward situation where we didn’t want to meet that distant crazy aunt or grandpa. Protagonist Lea goes back to her homeland of Girona after finding out about the sudden death of her grandfather. Although Lea refuses to  join in the hypocrisy found in the family meetings, that bourgeois status inherited manages to crawl slowly. Will she let it be a part of her?

Saturday, April 17 at 9:30pm , Monday, April 19 at 8:45pm and Wednesday, April 21 at 6:00pm | Landmark Century Theater

Abner Benaim, Panama (2009)

The story of many immigrants in this country and probably of many low working class people: Living subjugated to their bosses. This is the story of Paquita and Tona, two housemaids who have been working for an aristocratic Panamanian family for a while. They are tired of being treated unfairly and poorly, and after their bosses leave for a trip to Miami, they decide to surprise them upon their return by taking  control of the house. Unbeknownst to them, they manage to reveal a family secret. The film features  renowned Cuban  actor Francisco Gattorno, as well as Colombian actress, writer and journalist Isabella Santo Domingo.

Monday, April 26 at 7:30pm and Wednesday, April 28 at 8:45pm | Landmark Century Theater

Ilusiones Opticas
Cristian Jiménez, Chile (2009)

A mall security guard falls in love with an elegant and pretty thief, who seduces him with erotic advances. A blind skier who regains his sight is terrorized by what he is now seeing. At a corporate party, due to an economic crisis, employees are put on “job displacement” and are offered to receive courses on how to behave as an unemployed person. Elements of humor and melancholy are mixed in the film, with both factors mixed with sarcasm in order to shine a light on the current values of Chilean society.

Sunday, April 25 at 3:45pm and Wednesday, April 28 at 6:00pm | Landmark Century Theater