It’s officially Fall Festival season. Venice and Telluride just wrapped up. Toronto is in full swing, while New York is right around the corner. But fear not West Coast folks, the Cine+Más San Francisco Latino Film Festival is coming to the Bay Area to quench your thirst for exciting and critically acclaimed fare from Latin American and Latino filmmakers.
Opening the 8th edition of CMSFLFF is Alma, a romantic comedy written and directed by Argentine Diego Rougier. The film follows Alma, a very funny woman with bipolar disorder who kicks out her husband (played by famed comedian Fernando Larraín) after an argument. Once she meets another suitor, her husband Fernando realizes he still loves her and wants her back. Is it too late?
Elsewhere in the program you’ll find documentaries on the lives of Cuban-Americans who now have a chance to visit the island, a Dominican flick that’s been thrilling audiences around the country, and John Leguizamo’s latest, which sent him back to Colombia to headline a feature film. Hoping to offer Bay Area residents a diverse roster of projects (including the local-flavored “Hecho en Califas Shorts Program”), the festival is a must-see for all Latino cinephiles out there. Find Remezcla’s top 10 picks below.
The Cine+Más San Francisco Latino Film Festival runs Sept 16-Oct 1, 2016.
Shot in black and white, Siembra is a somber but hopeful look at the resilience of the Colombian people who have begun to glimpse a possible peaceful future in these past few years. The title (“to sow”) takes on a metaphorical sense when a displaced man, Turco, is tasked with needing to lay down his own recently murdered child, to return him to the ground. Trying to scrounge up enough money to afford the casket, battling petty bureaucracy to arrange the funeral, and looking for why his son was taken from him so soon, Turco takes us on a journey through Cali’s poverty-stricken communities in Colombia.
Inspired by the cross-cutting narratives of Babel and Crash, Daniel Maldonado’s New York City-set drama takes place mostly in train stations and a cramped taxi cab in one night, as a young runaway teenage boy with Asperger’s navigates the subway, an anxious Chinese mother convinces an Ecuadorian taxi driver to help her get back home. Shot with gritty realism, H.O.M.E. forces viewers to further redefine what it means to call someplace “home.”
The protagonist of this film is the “Gunguna,” a tiny .22 caliber gun. Turns out, she has quite the stories to tell! According to local lore, she brings bad luck to whoever possesses her and Ernesto Alemany’s sprawling ensemble are here to show you precisely what kinds of catastrophe this gun can bring to people as powerful as arms dealers, and as shady as corrupt police officials. No one is safe in this dark, violent, and at times hilarious narrative that paints a picture of contemporary DR.
La Granja takes Puerto Rico’s economic crisis as the backdrop for a series of interconnecting stories à la Amores Perros. In this twisted take on a fictionalized Puerto Rico, drug addiction and economic depression are the order of the day. One vignette follows a middle aged ex-boxer who trains his ambitious son for a youth boxing championship while he struggles with a cockfighting debt; another follows a midwife desperate for her own child; and the last dramatizes a young girl’s attempts to win the attention of her drug-addicted older sister. In the fruitless pursuit of hope, all three characters are eventually pushed to the limits of desperation.
“This is what immigration reform looks like.” These words sum up precisely what Hilary Linder’s documentary is about. Focusing on a trio of DREAMERS whose families have been deported, Indivisible plunges into the very urgent political discussion going on the United States surrounding immigration. As Renata, Evelyn, and Antonio decide to petition for a special waiver that would allow them to leave the U.S to visit their families and legally return, they embody the way families have literally been broken up and apart by a system that is in dire need of reform.
La tierra y la sombra
This Camera d’Or winning film is a visually stunning look at the Valle del Cauca region of Colombia, home to the country’s many sugar plantations. Alfonso (Haimer Leal) returns to his hometown to take care of his son Geraldo (Edison Raigosa), who suffers from a mysterious ailment related to the harsh farming techniques now being used around them. Through his story, Acevedo paints a portrait of family, nature, and nation.
In the Game
A unique opportunity to see this yet to be released documentary work-in-progress. The film follows a girl’s soccer team and the ways that culture and class affect the Latina players on and off the field. Central to their development is their intrepid coach Stan, who uses soccer as way to teach them to succeed in life.
Craving Cuba is a documentary film about Cuban-Americans and their complicated relationship with Cuba. This is a story about identity, family, exile and hope. Follow the journey of a Cuban-American woman who was born in New Jersey to Cuban-exiles and has never been to Cuba. Although she has always felt very American, there was always a strong pull to the other half of her identity. Like most in the exiled community, she grew up not being able to go to Cuba. After the December 17th announcement by President Barack Obama, everything changes. She interviews people throughout the US, strives to balance between conservative and liberal views, questions stereotypes and explores what it means to be Cuban-American in a time when the whole world is obsessed with Cuba.
Amir, an aspiring musician, finds himself drawn to Jeanette, a beautiful singer he meets during a night out on the town with his friends. The attraction complicates his relationship with his current girlfriend, Elizabeth, who is expecting his child. Amir will attempt to work out his feelings towards his newfound love interest, music and maturity, as adulthood forces him to make some challenging choices along the way. Filmed in Tijuana- providing a glimpse into the vibrant music scene.
Perros tells the story of Misael (played by John Leguizamo), a farmer who is arrested for committing a crime of passion. During his time in prison, he is forgotten by his loved ones, abused and humiliated by prison guards, and intimidated and cheated by other inmates. In the midst of his despair, he finds solace in Sarna, the prison dog, and the pair become best friends.