Top Doc Picks @ Uruguay Film Fest

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Let’s be honest – how much do you really know about Uruguay? Before they advanced in the 2010 World Cup with one of the craziest handballs ever (Mano de Dios part II) most people knew little about the tiny country. Beyond their fútbol (and cheating at it!) abilities they also have a vibrant film industry. Despite being one of the smallest countries in South America, Uruguay has made some important contributions to the revitalization of Latin American cinema in the past decade. Films like Whisky, 25 Kilates, The Pope’s Toilet, and Gigante have achieved critical success and won awards at film festivals around the world. Even still Uruguayan films often get overshadowed by Argentinian, Mexican, and Brazilian movies whose film industries are much more prolific.

Since only a couple of films get made every year it’s pretty rare that there is a film festival dedicated solely to Uruguayan cinema. But, you live in New York where you could find a red-headed mariachi dwarf if you really wanted to. Uruguay Film Fest is your chance to catch some recent releases for free! Here are some highlights.


US Premiere / Directed by Alejandro Pi, Pablo Fernández & Eduardo Piñero
2010 / 90 min / Spanish with English subtitles
Friday, Oct. 21st, 2011 at 7pm

“The story of a neighborhood, two families, and the codes they’ve followed for years. It is the site of Uruguay’s first synagogue, and a district where big stores and poor slums exist side by side. The power struggle between Tano’s family and the Jewish storeowners is about to explode. A new drug, pasta base, has arrived on the old streets. The conventions that have ruled for generations are fading and the end of an era is near. With a realistic eye, Reus reveals the tensions and conflicts that are quickly changing the neighborhood.”


La Tabaré: Rocanrol y Después / La Tabaré: Rock and Roll and Beyond
US Premiere / Directed by Mariana Viñoles & Stefano Tononi
2008 / Documentary / 72 min / Spanish with English subtitles
Saturday, Oct. 22nd, 2011, 6:30pm

“This musical documentary narrates part of Uruguay’s post-dictatorship cultural history through the mythical figure of Tabaré Rivero, the lead singer of La Tabaré Riverock Band. By way of personal anecdotes told by those who were protagonists in this history, Tabaré Rivero’s personal film archive, and most of all, the music, the film tells the story of an era and develops an intimate and entertaining reflection on the artist’s place in contemporary society, especially in Latin America.”


HIT. Historias de canciones que hicieron historia / HIT. Stories of Songs that Made History
US Premiere / Directed by Claudia Abend & Adriana Loeff
2008 / Documentary / 82 min / Spanish with English subtitles
Saturday, Oct. 22nd, 2011, 8pm

“HIT tells the story of Uruguayan songs that have made history. In a journey that spans 50 years, the movie relates the milestones in music and in the life of a country, moments that have moved those who lived through them—and also those who did not. Through the memories and confessions of some of the most important names in Uruguayan music, HIT brings to life the stories behind the songs that defined a country and that, in some cases, helped to change history.”


US Premiere / Directed by Sebastián Bednarik
2010 / Uruguay–Brazil / Documentary / 89 min / Spanish with English subtitles
Monday, Oct. 24th, 2011, 7pm

“By the end of 1980 the Uruguayan military dictatorship organized a constitutional plebiscite to remain in power and to become legally respected. Their objective was not achieved. At the same time, the Uruguayan Football Association—with the backing, or approval of the government and F.I.F.A—organized a one-time mini world championship. The Uruguayan National team won the championship. Coincidence or causality? Through interviews and revealing archives, Mundialito invites us to reflect on these events after thirty years.”


The Uruguay Film Fest runs through October 24, 2011.


All events are free and open to the public (ID required at the entrance). Screenings are held in the auditorium of the King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center: 53 Washington Square South (b/w Thompson & Sullivan Streets). Seats are available on a first come, first served basis.