Film

From Narco Vampires to Brazilian Cowboys: 5 Must-See Films From Latin America’s Young Auteurs

One of the more exciting film programs in New York City is the New Directors/New Films selection over at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, presented in conjunction with New York’s Museum of Modern Art. With no hint of hipster nonsense it’s a festival that can definitely say they were into your favorite directors before you were. Steven Spielberg, Darren Aronofsky, Christopher Nolan, and Wong Kar-wai all screened their first films here. To give you some perspective: Pedro Almodóvar showed his film Qué he hecho para merecer esto? back in 1984! That’s three years before his steamy Ley del deseo (which also screened at New Directors/New Films) earned him high praise worldwide. This is where you go to look for those directors that have what it takes to make it big down the line.

As always, the selection is as varied and as eclectic as you’d expect from a group of (mostly) first-timers. Whether you’re looking for a documentary on a mine in the Peruvian Andes, a Carrie-esque take on teenage hormonal horror, a sexy Brazilian cowboy flick, or a Buñuel-type irreverent comedy on Catholic bureaucracy, New Directors/New Films has you covered. Below, find the five films that you should rush out to catch at the 45th edition of this always exciting program. Here are the Latin American films playing the 2016 ND/NF.

New Directors/New Films runs from March 16 – 27, 2016.

1

Te prometo anarquía

Julio Hernández Cordón

This is a tale of twisted adolescence, free love, and reprehensible crime that takes place on the streets of Mexico City. The feature follows a middle-class teen skateboard fanatic who carries on an illicit affair with the son of his family’s maid, who simultaneously carries on an affair with a young woman named Adri. In the tense shadow of this uncomfortable love triangle, the two spend their days skating, making love, doing drugs, and selling their blood on the black market, until the promise of easy cash finds them caught up in a shady scheme that goes way deeper than they could have ever expected.

Synopsis By: Andrew S. Vargas
Germany, Mexico
Drama
Julio Hernández Cordón
Maximiliano Cruz, Sandra Gómez
2015
88

2

Eldorado XXI

Salomé Lamas

Salomé Lamas’s Eldorado XXI takes viewers into the world of La Rinconada, the highest-elevation permanent human settlement in the world. It is also, as per the film, a mining settlement both thriving with community bonds, and shackled by a sense of despair. Giving us an ethnographic look at the miners and their surroundings—including beautiful vistas of the high Peruvian Andes—Eldorado XXI shows us a world where issues of religion, politics, and survival are embodied in the humane portraits Lamas captures with her camera.

Synopsis By: Manuel Betancourt
Portugal, France
Documentary
Luis Urbano, Sandro Aguilar, Thomas Ordonneau
2016
125

3

Mate-me por favor

Anita Rocha da Silveira

A string of rapes and murders are captivating the entire population of Rio de Janeiro’s Barra da Tijuca, a new neighborhood whose open fields are the type of horror movie backdrops we’ve all grown to fear. But for a group of schoolgirls, led by Bia (Valentina Herszage), the attacks and the victims become thoroughly fascinating. What seems at first like a straight-up slasher flick soon turns into a more complex exploration of female sexual discovery where petty jealousies and school rivalries mimic the violence and sexual aggression that pervade Barra and its surroundings.

Synopsis By: Manuel Betancourt
Brazil, Argentina
Horror
Anita Rocha da Silveira
Vania Catani
2015
101

4

El apóstata

Federico Veiroj

An “apostate” is someone who renounces a religious belief and that is precisely what Gonzalo (Álvaro Ogalla) hopes to do: to officially abandon the Catholic Church. Unfortunately for this philosophy student, his attempts will be met with comically maddening obstacles that will test his patience and conviction. What emerges is a surprisingly light-hearted comedy that is philosophically and spiritually inclined that includes various dream sequences that owe much to that great Spanish ironist, Luis Buñuel.

Synopsis By: Manuel Betancourt
Uruguay, France, Spain
Drama
Álvaro Ogalla, Nicolás Saad, Gonzalo Delgado, Federico Veiroj
Guadalupe Balaguer Trelles, Maria Martin Stanley, Fernando Franco, Federico Veiroj
2015
80

5

Boi neon

Gabriel Mascaro

Boi neon follows Iremar (Juliano Cazarré), a handsome cowboy who dreams of becoming a fashion designer and spends his free time dreaming up ever more fabulous outfits to create. But don’t let that simple description fool you. Gabriel Mascaro’s character study, shot with a watchful eye that borrows its visual grammar from nonfiction filmmaking (aided by his work with nonprofessional actors), is a road trip film set in the northeast Brazilian countryside. But it is also an explosion of gender, class, and sexuality, flamboyantly portraying its lustful characters with quiet (and borderline queer) compassion and culminating with one of the most indelible sex scenes put on screen in recent memory.

Synopsis By: Manuel Betancourt
Netherlands, Uruguay, Brazil
Drama
Gabriel Mascaro
Sandino Saravia Vinay, Marleen Slot, Rachel Ellis
2015
101