Fifteen films from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay will be showcased in the Horizontes Latinos section of the 2019 San Sebastian International Film Festival. The films cover a wide range of issues including the Guatemalan genocide, the Chile of the 70s, the crisis of the Cuban rafters, legal abortion in Argentina, and life in Mexico, but also narratives given no space in the history books: the passage into adult life, the crises of life and family relationships.
The section will open with the latest film from Patricio Guzmán (Santiago de Chile, 1941) whom, having travelled to the north of his country to shoot Nostalgia de la luz (European Film Academy Award for best documentary, Horizontes Latinos 2010) and to the south in El botón de nácar (The Pearl Button, Silver Shell in Berlin, Horizontes Latinos 2015), closes his trilogy in the Andes with La cordillera de los sueños (The Cordillera of Dreams), presented at the Cannes Festival as a special screening and winner of the L’Oeil d’or award for the best documentary.
Jayro Bustamante (Guatemala, 1977), whose debut film, Ixcanul (Horizontes Latinos, 2015), was acclaimed, after having been selected for Films in Progress and having landed a special mention, with the Alfred Bauer Award at the Berlinale, will participate twofold in the section. His second film Temblores (Tremors), about a 40 year-old male Evangelical Christian who falls in love with a man, will compete for the Horizontes Award following its presentation in the Berlinale’s Panorama section. The third, La Llorona, focussed on the Guatemalan genocide, won the EFADs-CACI award at the Festival’s Europe-Latin America Co-Production Forum and will close the section, out of competition, following its premiere at the Venice Festival (Giornate degli autori).
The section will also include the European premiere of Agosto (August), the debut film by Armando Capó(Gibara, Cuba, 1979), a Cuban, Costa Rican and French co-production which was selected for the Festival’s Europe-Latin America Co-Production Forum (2014) and featured among the Films in Progress 32 selection (2017). Capó tells the tale of Carlos, a young 13 year old, in the last days of summer 1994, at the height of the rafters crisis.
Andrés Wood (Santiago de Chile, 1965) presented his debut film, Historias de fútbol (Soccer Stories,1997), in the Festival’s New Directors section. Since then, he has participated in the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight (Machuca, 2004), landed a Goya for best foreign film in the Spanish language (La buena vida / The Good Life, 2008) and the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance (Violeta se fue a los cielos / Violeta Went to Heaven, 2012). In Araña (Spider), which will have its European premiere at the Festival, he looks at the paramilitary movement Patria y Libertad, born as a reaction to the government of Salvador Allende.
Horizontes Latinos will also host the European premiere of Así habló el cambista (The Moneychanger), the fifth feature film from Federico Veiroj (Montevideo, 1976), whose films have participated in the Festival’s different Industry sections and activities: Acné, his debut film, won the Films in Progress TVE Award (2007), premiered at the Quinzaine des Réalisateurs (2008) and competed in Horizontes Latinos. La vida útil (A Useful Life) landed the Films in Progress Industry Award (2009) and competed in the New Directors section. El apóstata (The Apostate,2015) screened in the Official Selection and won the Fipresci Award as well as a Jury special mention, and last year he presented Belmonte in Zabaltegi-Tabakalera. Así habló el cambista, starring Daniel Hendler and Dolores Fonzi, follows a black market changer of cash deposited by Argentines and Brazilians working in Montevideo. This is an adaptation – the first tackled by Veiroj – of the homonymous novel by Juan E. Gruber, the highest budget production in which the Uruguayan director has been involved to date.
De nuevo otra vez (Again Once Again) marks the directorial debut from the actress and playwright Romina Paula (Buenos Aires, 1979), premiered in Rotterdam Festival’s Bright Future section, starring the actor herself in a story combining fiction with non-fiction reflecting on the family, motherhood and mid-life existential crises.
El Príncipe (The Prince), a Chilean, Argentine and Belgian co-production, is the first feature from Sebastián Muñoz, about life in prison for a young 20 year old in the Chile of the 70s, starring Alfredo Castro and Juan Carlos Maldonado. The film was selected for Films in Progress 34 and will have its premiere in the Settimana della Critica at the coming Venice Festival.
La bronca is the third feature film by brothers Daniel and Diego Vega (Lima), winners of the Un Certain Regard Jury Prize with their debut film, Octubre (October), which was also selected for Horizontes Latinos. Their second film, El mundo, won the best director award at the BAFICI and best actor at Locarno. They have directed several episodes of the series El Chapo and Diego Vega is the creator together with Mar Coll and Valentina Viso of the series Matar al padre (Killing the Father). In La bronca, an adolescent abandons the Peru of the 90s for Montreal to reunite with his father, who now has a new Canadian family.
Los sonámbulos (The Sleepwalkers) is the fourth film by Paula Hernández (Buenos Aires, 1969), about a woman and her teenage daughter, who attend a tense family reunion at the husband’s family home. Its participation in Horizontes Latinos will constitute the European premiere of the film, starring Érica Rivas alongside a cast also featuring Daniel Hendler, Marilu Marini and Luis Ziembrowski.
The debut film from Lucía Garibaldi (Montevideo, 1986), Los tiburones (The Sharks), won the Films in Progress 34 Industry Award (2018) as well as the Film Factory Award. Since then, this story following the awakening of desire in an adolescent in the context of a seaside resort thrown into disarray by suspected marauding sharks, was recognized with the best director award at Sundance (World Cinema Dramatic Competition) and the Special Jury Prize at the BAFICI, among other accolades.
Monos is the third film by Alejandro Landes (Sao Paulo, Brazil, 1980), who made his debut at Sundance with his first movie, the non-fiction Cocalero (2007). The second, the feature film Porfirio (2010), premiered in the Cannes Festival’s Quinzaine des Réalisateurs and was selected for Horizontes Latinos. Monos, a contemporary take on Lord of the Flies, starring a group of guerrilla children and a North American hostage, won the Special Jury Prize at Sundance (World Cinema Dramatic Competition) and screened in the Panorama section of the Berlin Festival.
Nuestras madres (Our Mothers) is the second feature film from César Díaz (Guatemala, 1978), who follows the trials of soldiers involved in the Guatemalan civil war. The film premiered at the Semaine de la Critique and won the Caméra d’or award recognising the best debut film at the Cannes Festival, as well as the Prix SACD.
The film actor, director and producer Gael García Bernal (Guadalajara, Mexico, 1978), whose career has been closely followed by the Festival since his international debut as an actor in Amores perros (Zabaltegi, 2000), will present his second feature film as a director, Chicuarotes, subject of one of the special screenings at the last Cannes Festival. Chicuarotes stars two young adolescents as they try to shake off the shackles of their country’s poverty and violence.
Out of competition will see the screening of La ola verde (Que sea ley / Let It Be Law), the second film by Juan Solanas (Buenos Aires, 1966), whose first film, Nordeste (Northeast), was presented in Un Certain Regard. La ola verde (Que sea ley / Let It Be Law), which was also one of the special screenings at Cannes, depicts the struggle to achieve legal abortion in Argentina.
LA CORDILLERA DE LOS SUEÑOS / THE CORDILLERA OF DREAMS
PATRICIO GUZMÁN (CHILE)
OPENING FILM (IN COMPETITION)
“In Chile, when the sun rises, it must climb hills, walls and mountain tops before reaching the last stone of the Cordillera. In my country, the Cordillera is everywhere. But for the Chilean citizens, it is an unknown territory. After going North to make Nostalgia for the Light and South for The Pearl Button, I now feel ready to film this immense backbone and to explore its mysteries, its powerful revelations of Chile’s history past and present” (Patricio Guzmán). L’Oeil d’Or Award for Best Documentary at the Cannes Festival.
JAYRO BUSTAMANTE (GUATEMALA – FRANCE)
Cast: María Mercedes Coroy , Sabrina De La Hoz, Julio Diaz, Margarita Kénefic, Juan Pablo Olyslager, Ayla-Elea Hurtado, María Telón
CLOSING FILM OUT OF COMPETITION
VII Europe-Latin America Co-production Forum
With the words “If you cry, I’ll kill you” ringing in their ears, Alma and her sons are murdered in Guatemala’s armed conflict. Thirty years later, a criminal case is brought against Enrique, a retired general who oversaw the genocide. But he’s acquitted through a mistrial and the spirit of La Llorona is unleashed to wander the world like a lost soul amongst the living. At night, Enrique starts to hear her wailing. His wife and daughter believe he’s having bouts of Alzheimer’s-related dementia. Little could they suspect that their new housekeeper, Alma, is there to mete out the vengeance the trial did not. Premiered at Venice Film Festival (Giornati degli autori).
AGOSTO / AUGUST
ARMANDO CAPÓ (CUBA – COSTA RICA – FRANCE)
Cast: Damián González Guerrero, Lola Amores Rodríguez, Rafael Lahera Suárez, Verónica Lynn López, Glenda Delgado Dominguez, Alejandro Guerrero Machado, Luis Ernesto Barcenas, Tatiana Monge Herrera
III Europe-Latin America Co-production Forum Films in Progress 32
Cuba, summer 1994. In full swing of the Special Period, one of the biggest crises in the country’s history, thousands of Cuban rafters try to make the illegal crossing to the United States, not knowing if they’ll survive. With the start of the holidays, Carlos sets about enjoying a carefree August, kicking around with his friends and falling in love for the first time. He knows very little about his country’s uncertain future, until, one at a time, his neighbours and friends leave in search of a better life as friendships break and families separate. In this hot summer, Carlos’s world will turn upside down.
ARAÑA / SPIDER
ANDRÉS WOOD (CHILE – ARGENTINA – BRAZIL)
Cast: Mercedes Morán, María Valverde, Marcelo Alonso, Pedro Fontaine, Gabriel Urzúa, Felipe Armas
Chile, the early 1970s. A violent far-right nationalist group is looking to overthrow Allende’s government. Amid the fervor of crime and conspiracy, group members Inés (22), her husband Justo and their best friend Gerardo pull off a political crime that changes the course of history. Entangled at the same time in a dangerous and passionate love triangle, the shadow of betrayal will forever separate them. That is, until 40 years later when revenge and obsession compel Gerardo to jumpstart the nationalist cause of his youth. But Inés is now a powerful businesswoman and as the police monitor Gerardo and his growing home arsenal, she will do whatever it takes to keep him from revealing her and her husband Justo’s political and sexual past.
ASÍ HABLÓ EL CAMBISTA / THE MONEYCHANGER
FEDERICO VEIROJ (URUGUAY – ARGENTINA – GERMANY)
Cast: Daniel Hendler, Dolores Fonzi, Luis Machín, Benjamín Vicuña, Germán De Silva
During the 70s, the regional economy attracted numerous opportunists to Uruguay. The institutions were bankrupt; there was a military government; the insurgents were behind bars and, for the sectors of poor reputation in the Brazilian and Argentine economies, Uruguay’s financial market seemed like the perfect place to make money disappear. That’s how Humberto Brause sets out on a meteoric career buying and selling foreign currency, sponsored by his father-in-law, a veteran in the business of capital flight. Blinded by his excessive ambition, Humberto steamrollers everyone that gets in his way. Finally running the family business, he accepts a suspicious job: to launder more money than he’s ever seen in his life.
GAEL GARCÍA BERNAL (MEXICO)
Cast: Benny Emmanuel, Gabriel Carbajal, Leidi Gutiérrez, Dolores Heredia, Daniel Giménez Cacho
Two teens from San Gregorio Atlapulco, Cagalera and Moloteco, are desperate to escape from the oppressive circumstances of their existence. Hearing about the opportunity to purchase membership in an electricians’ guild, which can transform their lives, they enter the spiral of Mexico City’s dark criminal world in a bid to buy their freedom. Special screening at the Cannes Film Festival.
DE NUEVO OTRA VEZ / AGAIN ONCE AGAIN
ROMINA PAULA (ARGENTINA)
Cast: Romina Paula, Mónica Rank, Ramón Cohen, Mariana Chaud, Pablo Sigal, Denise Groesman, Esteban Bigliardi
Romina returns to her family home after having had a child. Separated from the father of Ramón, her son, she takes refuge in the home of her mother, Mónica. There she’s submerged in her mother’s pace, and in her own pace as a daughter, as she tries to figure out what she wants. On a visit to Buenos Aires, Romina teaches German, while trying to return to her single life, to go out at night. She wants to know what she was like before the experience of love for her son. She needs to understand who she is, returning to her origins and rebuilding part of the family history. Directorial debut by the writer, playwright and actress Romina Paula. Presented in Rotterdam Festival’s Bright Future section.
EL PRÍNCIPE / THE PRINCE
SEBASTIAN MUÑOZ (CHILE – ARGENTINA – BELGIUM)
Cast: Alfredo Castro, Juan Carlos Maldonado
Films in Progress 34
San Bernardo, Chile, 1970. One night on a drinking spree, the young 20 year old, solitary and self-centered Jaime stabs his best friend in what appears to be an outburst of passion. In jail he meets El potro, an older, respected man he approaches looking for protection, affection and acceptance. Jaime turns into The Prince and discovers love and loyalty as he observes the violent struggle for power in prison. Selected for the Settimana della Critica at the Venice Festival.
DIEGO VEGA, DANIEL VEGA (PERU – COLOMBIA)
Cast: Jorge Guerra, Rodrigo Palacios, Rodrigo Sánchez Patiño, Isabelle Guérard, Sandrine Poirier-Allard, Charlotte Aubin, Luna Macedo
In the early 90s, Roberto, an 18 year old boy lost in life, leaves a violent Peru and travels to Montreal to join his father, Bob Montoya, an immigrant who fled from his country years ago and who now lives with his new Canadian family. With male pride, Bob strives to show his son his best version of the North American dream marked by his own prejudices. The reunion between father and son will be forever forged by a violence from which they have been unable to escape.
LOS SONÁMBULOS / THE SLEEPWALKERS
PAULA HERNÁNDEZ (ARGENTINA – URUGUAY)
Cast: Érica Rivas, Ornella D’elía, Marilú Marini, Luis Ziembrowski, Daniel Hendler, Valeria Lois, Rafael Federman
A middle-aged woman and her 14 year old daughter, a sleepwalker, in full swing of her awakening. A married couple on the verge of a crisis nobody mentions. A ritualistic, inbred family. Grandmother, siblings, cousins. Summer, sweat, alcohol, traditions. Naked bodies, changing bodies, and the glances cast at those new bodies. A New Year celebration in the family’s ancestral country home is the stifling trap needed to arouse the sleepwalkers.
LOS TIBURONES / THE SHARKS
LUCÍA GARIBALDI (URUGUAY – ARGENTINA – SPAIN)
Cast: Romina Bentancur, Federico Morosini
Films in Progress 34
The peace and quiet of a small seaside town is unsettled by the suspicion of sharks arriving to its coast. Rosina, a 14 year-old teenager, thinks she saw something in the sea, but nobody really seems to listen to her. When her father takes her to work looking after houses, she meets Joselo, a fisherman a little older than herself. Among dirty pools, majestic gardens and deserted beaches, Rosina starts to feel something new: the desire to narrow the distance between her own body and that of Joselo. But he shows little interest in her advances. To attract his attention she comes up with a twisted and rather clumsy plan, moving invisibly and dangerously, as though taking her inspiration from the presence of the mysterious predators. Best director award at Sundance.
ALEJANDRO LANDES (COLOMBIA – ARGENTINA – NETHERLANDS – GERMANY – SWEDEN – URUGUAY)
Cast: Julianne Nicholson, Moisés Arias, Julián Giraldo, Sofía Buenaventura
On the summit of an imposing mountain, in what looks at first glance like a summer camp, eight guerrilla children going by the name of ‘The Monkeys’ live under the attentive gaze of a paramilitary sergeant. Their sole mission is clear: to take care of the doctor, an American woman they’ve taken hostage. When this mission is threatened, the trust between them will come under suspicion. Special Jury Prize at Sundance.
NUESTRAS MADRES / OUR MOTHERS
CÉSAR DÍAZ (FRANCE – BELGIUM – GUATEMALA)
Cast: Armando Espitia, Emma Dib, Aurelia Caal, Julio Serrano, Victor Moreira
Guatemala, 2018. The whole country hangs on the trials of the soldiers who started the Civil War as the victims make their statements one after the other. Ernesto, a young anthropologist working for the Forensic Foundation, works to identify those who disappeared during the conflict. One day while listening to an old woman tell her story, he thinks he’s found a clue which could take him to his father, a guerrilla fighter who also disappeared during that period. Against his mother’s wishes, he throws himself body and soul into the case with the aim of learning the truth. Best first film award at the Cannes Festival.
TEMBLORES / TREMORS
JAYRO BUSTAMANTE (GUATAMELA – FRANCE – LUXEMBOURG)
Cast: Juan Pablo Olyslager, Diane Bathen Evans, Mauricio Armas Zebadúa
Pablo is a 40-year-old married father of two wonderful children. A role model and a practicing evangelical Christian, his perfect traditional life begins to crack when he falls in love with a man. Pablo finds his feelings in conflict with beliefs. And his life becomes a hell of repressive intolerance when his family and his church decide to do whatever it takes to cure him, forcing Pablo to suppress his urges through therapy. Presented in the Berlinale’s Panorama section.
LA OLA VERDE (QUE SEA LEY)
JUAN SOLANAS (ARGENTINA – URUGUAY – FRANCE)
Special Screenings Not in competition
The Green Wave narrates the struggle for legal abortion in Argentina, through a journey of more than 5,000 kilometers, accompanied by the victims’ brave testimonies and the key female voices of those who played the lead part in this memorable voyage. Special screening at the Cannes Festival.