With its substantial community of expat Americans and Canadians, its English-language radio station, and the widespread use of American dollars, many might be moved to declare that Los Cabos “isn’t really Mexico.” And sure, the international resort community on the southern tip of Baja California can’t exactly be compared with the mountains of Oaxaca, but while some might see this as inauthenticity, others see it as an advantage.
Take Los Cabos International Film Festival, for example. Faced with the difficult task of positioning itself between Mexico’s big three film festivals – Morelia, Guadalajara, and Guanajuato – Los Cabos has staked out an identity as North America’s cultural crossroads, with a rigorously-curated focus on Mexican, American, and Canadian cinema set against the pristine backdrop of the Pacific Ocean.
With its obvious draw for big-name filmmakers – I mean who wouldn’t be interested in spending five days at a beachside resort? – Los Cabos has managed to put together an impressive programming docket for its fourth addition, with big winners from Venice, Cannes, and Sundance rounding out an official selection split between the internationally-focused “Competencia Los Cabos” and the locally-oriented “México Primero” competition.
So here’s a rundown of the Latin American and Latino-ish films taking over el Mar de Cortés from November 11-15, 2015.
MEXICO PRIMERO COMPETITION
When a recent widow takes an idyllic Semana Santa beach vacation with her son and new boyfriend, the family gathering quickly turns sour as emotional disconnections and haunting memories weigh heavily upon each and all.
Sabrás qué hacer conmigo
You’ll Know What to Do with Me
Katina Medina Mora
Nicolás and Isabel are two lost souls who cross paths in a hospital corridor. He is a photographer who suffers from epilepsy, while she is checking in on her mother after yet another suicide attempt. As their destinies intertwine, both must wrestle with their demons and learn to live a normal life.
Marcelino Islas Hernández
José Luis is a middle-aged man who recently lost his leg in a car accident. After initially refusing help, the arrival of a young nurse awakens his desires and puts a strain on his 30-year marriage.
The Chosen Ones
Ulises is a teenager whose sincere love for his girlfriend, Sofía, is complicated when his father forces him to join the family business. As Ulises reluctantly enters the sordid world of human trafficking and forced prostitution alongside his older brother, he is compelled to exploit his deep bond with Sofía in order to make her his first victim.
Te prometo anarquía
I Promise You Anarchy
Julio Hernández Cordón
Miguel and Johnny are two best friends-turned-lovers who support their freewheeling skateboard-centric lifestyle by buying and selling blood. When a deal goes awry they must find a way to control an increasingly uncontrollable situation.
Jack Zagha Kababie
An older worker on the verge of retirement and his young trainee must share the dull, lifeless warehouse space where the older Mr. Lino has spent 39 long years of his life. Over days of suffocating inactivity, the two come to share a deep bond.
COMPETENCIA LOS CABOS
A well-off older man with a dark secret solicits sex from a younger boy who runs with a gang in a rough neighborhood. Along the way an unexpected intimacy emerges. Knives, police sirens, and gunshots ensue.
Starring Boricua first-time actor Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, Tangerine tells the story of Sin-Dee, a transgender prostitute on the L.A. strip who comes home from a brief stint in jail to find that her pimp boyfriend has been cheating on her with a woman. Along with her best friend Alexandra, Sin-Dee leaves no stone unturned as they scour L.A.’s seediest neighborhoods to track down her unfaithful boo.
A hospice nurse played by Tim Roth accompanies several patients in their dying moments as he wrestles with the traumatic loss of his own son and the rift it created within his family.
James White is a self-destructive New Yorker who must reckon with his negative impulses as his mother’s illness worsens in this heartbreaking drama. Blaxican rapper-actor Kid Cudi plays James’ supportive best friend.
Un monstruo de mil cabezas
A Monster With A Thousand Heads
When unscrupulous insurance companies refuse service to her terminally ill husband, Sonia Bonet embarks upon a crusade in search of answers. Accompanied by her teenage son, Sonia will stop at nothing in her quest for justice.
Freddy is a Brooklyn-based artist who lives an idyllic life with his partner, while simultaneously trying to impregnate his best friend, Polly. Between one thing and another, Freddy spends his days preparing a new art installation in which he imitates a baby, while a screwy neighbor sows disharmony on the block with his increasingly off-kilter antics.