The moment the world has been anxiously waiting for has finally arrived. On Wednesday, January 21, New York will become the center of the Latin American film universe when the 5th annual Cinema Tropical Awards takes over midtown Manhattan. Admittedly, “take over” might be a slight overstatement given that the intimate evening ceremony at the New York Times Company headquarters will be competing with Broadway, Times Square jumbotrons and a sea of selfie-snapping Japanese tourists, but in a hall filled with Latin America’s brightest cinematic stars, it will certainly feel like the only thing that matters.
In the meantime, to get us chomping at the bit for some Latin American film laurels, the folks at Cinema Tropical have released a teaser/trailer/supercut of the stellar films that will be competing in this year’s edition. With a total of twenty-one features from six countries competing across six different categories, it should be a tough pill to swallow, but as usual, Cinema Tropical has managed to artfully stitch together these stylistically diverse works and actually pump us up for the Awards along the way.
Kicking off sonically with a Portuguese ballad from Davi Pretto’s innovative docu-fiction acid trip, Castanha (nominated for the Best Director, Documentary Film category), the trailer transmits an unmistakable sense of melancholy as it meditates on the many faces that give life to this year’s lineup of films, interspersed with poetic images of crosses, candles, and insurmountable fences. Suddenly, after spending a moment with Castanha’s eponymous protagonist, melancholy gives way to a youthful, carefree angst as the garage-punk soundtrack of Somos Mari Pepa (We Are Mari Pepa, nominated for the category of Best First Film) comes to the fore and we are treated to more playful, ebullient images of fireworks, luchadores, and the unmistakably hilarious human dumbbell scene from Amat Escalante’s Heli (Nominated for the Best Fiction Film category).
In the trailer’s final moments, we are left with an ominous string swell accompanied by the sound of howling wind laid over images of desolation and darkness. If anyone needed proof of the maturity and stylistic diversity of Latin American cinema as we reach the decade’s midpoint, it’s all in this trailer. Although perhaps the most potent image would be the closing shot of a woman in splendorous dress, stepping out onto the stage, under the spotlights, for the world to see. The woman is Latin American film, the stage, the Cinema Tropical Awards.
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See a full list of the nominees for the 5th Annual Cinema Tropical Awards here.