Away from Meaning (Lejos del sentido)
Away from Meaning (Lejos del sentido)

Cinema Tropical launched The Cinema Tropical Collection, a new initiative that makes select Latin American films available digitally.

Combining the format of a curated online film series with virtual Q&As with the directors, plus VOD distribution, The Cinema Tropical Collection will present U.S. and international audiences with meaningful and relevant Latin American films in their world digital premiere. 

On Sunday, March 29, The Cinema Tropical Collection premiered the international streaming of the Mexican documentary film Away from Meaning (Lejos del sentido), the debut feature film by Olivia Luengas. The deeply personal family love story is a poignant meditation about normality and stigma attached to mental illnesses, a topic as urgent as ever as we discuss issues of ‘normality’ and consider how the global financial crisis will further impact mental health services. 

The film is now available on VOD in Cinema Tropical’s VOD platform, Tropical on Demand.

The first slate of The Cinema Tropical Collection will also include the documentary films Still Burn (Algo quema) by Mauricio Alfredo Ovando from Bolivia and Tú y Yo by Natalia Cabral and Oriol Estrada from the Dominican Republic, plus the fiction films Kékszakállu by Gastón Solinicki from Argentina, and Everything Else (Todo lo demás) by Natalia Almada from Mexico.

“Unprecedented challenges need extraordinary creativity,” says Carlos A. Gutiérrez, Executive Director of Cinema Tropical and programmer of this first slate of films for The Cinema Tropical Collection. These five films speak specifically to relevant and urgent topics and issues that we are all facing as a society under the impact of COVID-19 emergency: from issues of isolation to emancipation to mental health, and of course, inequality in the world. 

Full Program
All Premieres to be followed by a virtual Q&A with the filmmakers.

Premieres Sunday, March 29, 7pm EDT
AWAY FROM MEANING / LEJOS DEL SENTIDO

(Olivia Luengas, Mexico, 2018, 88 min. In Spanish with English subtitles)
When Liliana was three years old, she suffered from viral encephalitis. As a consequence, she began to experience borderline personality disorder years later. Along with her family, she devotes herself to managing and coping with emotional instability that has led to frequent hospitalizations following various suicide attempts. Now facing the threat of another relapse without the option of hospitalization due to closures, she and her parents must face a new treatment scheme from home. Awarded the Best Documentary Prize at the Havana Film Festival New York, this deeply personal family love story directed by Liliana’s sister, Olivia, is a poignant meditation about normality and stigma attached to mental illnesses and a portrait of Liliana’s inner world, where her emotions take form.

Premieres Thursday, April 2
STILL BURN / ALGO QUEMA

A film by Mauricio Alfredo Ovando
(Bolivia, 2018, 77 min. In Spanish with English subtitles)

Alfredo Ovando Candia was a military general who served as co-president of Bolivia from 1965–66 (and again from 1969–70) after overthrowing President Víctor Paz Estenssoro. His political and military service connect him to the largest massacre of workers in the country’s history, as well as the military campaign in which Che Guevara was found and killed. Incorporating archival footage from Ovando’s de facto administration, home movies, and interviews with relatives, filmmaker-grandson Mauricio Alfredo Ovando’s debut feature studies the many profiles of his grandfather to juxtapose his family’s fond memories with the harsh official history. 

Winner of the Best Director and FIPRESCI awards at the 2018 Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema, Still Burn is a courageous, perceptive documentary about how collective and personal memories are created from—and ultimately shape—a complicated legacy.

Premieres Sunday, April 5
TÚ Y YO

(Natalia Cabral and Oriol Estrada, Dominican Republic, 2015, 86 min. In Spanish with English subtitles)

The Mrs., an elderly widow, and Aridia, a young maid, live together in a house filled with orchids in the center of Santo Domingo. Aridia cleans, the Mrs. gardens, and when work is slow they share gossip. But sometimes the atmosphere gets tense: the Mrs. wakes up grumpy, she blames Aridia, and when Aridia tries to defend herself the Mrs. has to remind her “where her place is.” Then as the hours pass by a telenovela begins on TV, or something happens in the neighborhood, and the Mrs. and Aridia become close again, ending the day by sharing a few laughs. 

Winner of a Special Jury Prize at the Cartagena Film Festival and acclaimed at Visions du Réel, the debut feature by Natalia Cabral and Oriol Estrada is a poignant chamber piece that delves deeply into divisions of class and race.

Premieres Thursday, April 9
EVERYTHING ELSE / TODO LO DEMÁS

(Natalia Almada, Mexico, 2016, 72 min. In Spanish with English subtitles)

Selected as one of the best films of the year (Amy Taubin, Artforum), and winner of the Golden Gate Award for Best Film at the San Francisco Film Festival, Everything Else stars Academy Award–nominated actress Adriana Barraza (Amores PerrosBabel) as Doña Flor, a 63-year-old bureaucrat living in Mexico City.

Natalia Almada’s debut fiction film explores the interior life of Doña Flor as she awakens from her bureaucratic malaise and yearns to become visible again. Inspired by Hannah Arendt’s idea that bureaucratic dehumanization is a brutal form of violence, the story ultimately becomes a mesmerizing contemplation on solitude.

Premieres Sunday, April 12
KÉKSZAKÁLLÚ

(Gastón Solnicki, Argentina, 2016, 72 min. In Spanish with English subtitles)

Hailed as “an eerie high-modernist fable… mightily minimalist, and drop-dead gorgeous” (Olaf Möller, Film Comment), Kékszakállú is an beguiling portrait of several young women at the threshold of adulthood, feeling their way through various crises born of the insular comforts of upper-middle-class life. Partly inspired by Béla Bartók’s sole opera, Bluebeard’s Castle (vivid passages are heard throughout the film), Solnicki’s debut fiction film radically transposes the portent of Bluebeard’s Castle into something far less recognizable: a tale of generational inertia, situated between the alternating and precisely rendered tableaux of work and relaxation in Buenos Aires and Punta del Este.

Kékszakállú was named as one of the Best Undistributed Films of 2016 by Film Comment and IndieWire, was selected as one of Artforum‘s ten best films of 2016 by James Quandt, and was an official selection at the Venice, Toronto, and New York film festivals.

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