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Argentina, 1985
Argentina, 1985 directed by Santiago Mitre

The 2022 AFI Latin American Film Festival will take place in-person September 22 – October 12 at the historic AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Silver Spring, MD. Now in its 33rd year, the Festival, one of the largest and longest-running showcases of Latin American cinema in the United States, will feature a wide-ranging selection of 41 films from 21 countries.

The Festival opens with the East Coast premiere of Argentina, 1985, the hotly anticipated historical drama from Santiago Mitre (The Summit), starring Ricardo Darín (The Secret in Their Eyes) and Peter Lanzani (The Clan). Written by Mitre and Mariano Llinás (La Flor), the rousing courtroom saga is inspired by the true story of prosecutor Julio Strassera (Darín, who also produces) and the young underdog legal team tasked with bringing Argentina’s brutal military junta to justice during a landmark televised trial. Argentina, 1985 marks the first original Argentinian film from Amazon Studios and will have its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival where it will be in the official competition for the Golden Lion. The Festival will also host the U.S. premiere of Mitre’s dark, French-language comedy 15 Ways to Kill Your Neighbour, starring Uruguayan actor Daniel Hendler (The Moneychanger) as an Argentine swept up in some surreal happenings in France.

The Festival closes with Brazilian-Portuguese co-production Dry Ground Burning, a genre-defying firecracker about queer oil pirates in Brasília from filmmakers Adirley Queirós (Once There Was Brasilia) and Joana Pimenta. The film is set to have its North American premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival this month, after having won the Grand Prize at the Cinéma du Réel Film Festival earlier this year.

Alongside Argentina, 1985, the Festival spotlights several powerful new films that reckon with Latin America’s fraught political history, including the North American premiere of Chile 1976, the Cannes-premiered directorial debut of Chilean actress Manuela Martelli (Machuca), set during the early days of Augusto Pinochet’s brutal dictatorship; the U.S. premiere of El Salvador-born Spanish filmmaker Imanol Uribe’s (Far from the Sea) historical thriller What Lucía Saw, starring Juana Acosta (Carlos) as the lone witness to the infamous 1989 assassination of six Jesuit priests during the Salvadoran civil war; Dominican filmmaker José María Cabral’s (Woodpeckers) searing drama Parsley, set amid the 1937 massacre of Haitians on Dominican soil ordered by dictator Rafael Trujillo; the North American premiere of Brazilian filmmaker Flávia Neves’ Berlin-debuted thriller Fogaréu, starring Bárbara Colen (breakout star of Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles’ Bacurau) as a woman who returns to her rural hometown to contend with Brazil’s colonial past; and celebrated Chilean documentarian Patricio Guzmán’s (The Cordillera of Dreams) Cannes-debuted documentary My Imaginary Country, which chronicles the 2019–2021 Estallido Social in Chile, a movement that culminated in the election of the nation’s youngest-ever president in 2021 and a referendum on a new constitution, set to take place on September 4.

The Festival also features several recent favorites from the international festival circuit, including Sundance prizewinners Dos Estaciones, from Mexican director Juan Pablo González, and Utama, from Bolivian filmmaker Alejandro Loayza Grisi; Mexican filmmaker Natalia López Gallardo’s acclaimed debut Robe of Gems, winner of the Silver Bear Jury Prize at this year’s Berlin Film Festival; Argentine director Leonardo Brzezicki’s self-discovery drama Wandering Heart, featuring an award-winning performance by Leonardo Sbaraglia (Wild Tales); Tribeca prize-winning feminist body horror Huesera, from Mexican director Michelle Garza Cervera; Sundance favorites The Cow Who Sang a Song Into the Future from Chilean filmmaker Francisca Alegría and MIJA, a Disney original documentary from Mexican American filmmaker Isabel Castro; and Best International Feature Film Oscar® submissions The Great Movement (Bolivia), Plaza Catedral (Panama), The Employer and the Employee (Uruguay) and Lo Invisible (Ecuador).

Documentary selections explore both the personal and the political, pushing the boundaries of the medium and confirming Latin America as a leader in the field. In addition to genre-bending Closing Night selection Dry Ground Burning, highlights include the U.S. premiere of Annecy-premiered animated documentary Home is Somewhere Else from Mexican directing team Jorge Villalobos and Carlos Hagerman, with both filmmakers expected to attend; the U.S. premiere of inventive docu-fiction hybrid La Picada from Costa Rican filmmaker Felipe Zúñiga (producer of the recent Cannes selection Domingo and The Mist); and Guatemalan documentarian Anaïs Taracena’s award-winning The Silence of the Mole, a portrait of the late journalist Elías Barahona and his role in infiltrating Guatemala’s military dictatorship during the 1970s.

The Festival also kicks off AFI Silver’s new monthly After Dark program with Permanencia Voluntaria’s new restoration of Mexican director René Cardona’s The Batwoman, an unofficial and underseen 1968 spin on the Batman universe starring Italian-born actress Maura Monti (Alien Terror, Santo vs. The Martian Invasion).

In line with AFI Silver’s health and safety guidelines, AFI Latin American Film Festival attendees will be required to show proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test result from within the past 72 hours to enter the theatre and participate in Festival screenings.

2022 AFI LATIN AMERICAN FILM FESTIVAL
September 22–October 12

Argentina

Opening Night
East Coast Premiere
ARGENTINA, 1985
In the early days of a reinstated democracy, curmudgeonly prosecutor Julio Strassera (Ricardo Darín, HEROIC LOSERS, THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES) is tasked with bringing Argentina’s brutal military dictatorship to justice. Going against a still-powerful ruling class, the Trial of the Juntas is considered a losing and dangerous proposition. But Strassera finds a partner in Assistant Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo (Peter Lanzani, THE CLAN) who helps assemble a ragtag group of hungry, young lawyers. Together they gather the powerful testimonies of more than 800 victims, presented in a landmark televised trial that grips the nation. Despite constant death threats and a sharply divided country, they persist, fighting for justice against all odds. Inspired by true events, Santiago Mitre’s (15 WAYS TO KILL YOUR NEIGHBOR, THE SUMMIT) rousing courtroom drama finds moments of levity thanks to Darín’s star-powered performance and a smart script from Mitre and Mariano Llinás (LA FLOR). Official Selection, 2022 Venice Film Festival. DIR/SCR/PROD Santiago Mitre; SCR Mariano Llinás; PROD Victoria Alonso, Santiago Carabante, Chino Darín, Ricardo Darín, Axel Kuschevatzky, Agustina Llambi-Campbell, Federico Posternak. Argentina/U.S., 2022, color, 140 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. RATED R

Special Presentation
U.S. Premiere 
15 WAYS TO KILL YOUR NEIGHBOR [PETITE FLEUR] \
An Argentine in France, José (Daniel Hendler, THE MONEYCHANGER) is having a midlife crisis. Taking a break from his career as a graphic novelist, he tries his hand at stay-at-home dad life, while his wife Lucie (Vimala Pons, ELLE) goes back to work. The monotony of domesticity seems unending, until he meets his neighbor Jean-Claude (Melvil Poupaud, LAURENCE ANYWAYS), a bon vivant and jazz aficionado, and an amusing yet deadly routine takes root. This absurd, dark comedy comes courtesy of Argentine filmmaker Santiago Mitre, known for his searing dramas (PAULINA, THE STUDENT, THE SUMMIT), who gleefully steps into the Borgesian surreal for the first time. Also starring Françoise Lebrun (THE MOTHER AND THE WHORE, VORTEX) and Spaniard Sergi López (PAN’S LABYRINTH). Opening Night Film, 2022 Buenos Aires Independent Film Festival. DIR/SCR Santiago Mitre; SCR Mariano Llinás, from the novel “Petite Fleur” (“Jamais Ne Meurt”) by Iosi Havilio; PROD Didar Domehri, Agustina Llambi-Campbell. France/Argentina/Belgium/Spain, 2022, color, 98 min. In French and Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED 

WANDERING HEART (2021) [ERRANTE CORAZÓN] 
Argentine superstar Leonardo Sbaraglia (PAIN AND GLORY, WILD TALES) gives the performance of his career as Santiago, a middle-aged gay father and soon-to-be empty nester on the verge of a total breakdown. Devastated by a breakup, Santiago spirals through sex, drugs and destructive behavior, looking for love in all the wrong places. Afraid to be alone, he follows his daughter on a trip to visit her emotionally unavailable mother in Brazil, leading to explosive confrontations and dark confessions. Sbaraglia won Best Actor at the 2022 Málaga Film Festival for his charming, magnetic, no-holds-barred performance. Official Selection, 2021 Chicago Film Festival, 2022 LALIFF and Frameline film festivals. DIR/SCR Leonardo Brzezicki; PROD Violeta Bava, Andrés Martin, Rosa Martínez Rivero. Argentina/Brazil/Spain/Netherlands/Chile, 2021, color, 112 min. In Spanish and Portuguese with English subtitles. NOT RATED 

SUBLIME (2022)
Floppy-haired, shy Manuel (Martín Miller, son of producers Laura Donari and Juan Pablo Miller) and his best friend Felipe (Teo Inama Chiabrando) have been inseparable since childhood. Now hormone-addled teens, the two are closer than ever — staying out late writing songs for their garage rock band and boasting of their exploits with girls. But Manuel can no longer ignore his desires, and begins to realize his feelings for Felipe go much deeper than friendship. Afraid the feelings aren’t mutual, Manuel starts to lash out until he finds an outlet in songwriting, which gives him the courage to live his truth. Mariano Biasin makes his sensitive feature debut with this sweet, queer, coming-of-age romance. Official Selection, 2022 Berlin, San Sebastián, Seattle and San Francisco film festivals. DIR/SCR Mariano Biasin; PROD Laura Donari, Juan Pablo Miller. Argentina, 2022, color, 100 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

U.S. Premiere
ECHOES (2022) [ECOS DE UN CRIMEN]
Struggling with his mental health, bestselling suspense novelist Julián Lemar (Diego Peretti, THE HEIST OF THE CENTURY) escapes to a cabin in the woods to finish his latest book. Joined by his wife Valeria (Julieta Cardinali) and young kids, their peace and quiet is disturbed one stormy night when a mysterious stranger (Carla Quevedo, THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES) knocks on their door seeking refuge from her murderous husband. Thus begins the worst night of their lives. Facing mounting threats and deceptions, and with his family’s safety hanging in the balance, Julián must decipher reality from fiction if he wants to survive. Filled with twists and turns, this edge-of-your-seat thriller reignited the Argentinian box office, becoming the biggest hit since before the pandemic. DIR Cristian Bernard; SCR Gabriel Korenfeld; PROD Fernando Abadi, Ricardo Freixa. Argentina, 2022, color, 84 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Bolivia

THE VISITOR (2022) [EL VISITANTE]
Filmmaker Martin Boulocq (EUGENIA) takes an arresting look at the complexities of class, family and religion in contemporary Bolivia with his powerful fourth feature, which won a top award for Boulocq and Rodrigo Hasbún’s nuanced screenplay at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. Ex-convict and aspiring opera singer Humberto (Enrique Aráoz) returns to his hometown, newly released from prison and three years sober. His immediate priority is to find an above-board source of income so he can reconnect with his estranged teenage daughter Aleida (Svet Ailyn Mena), who is in the care of his in-laws Carlos and Elizabeth. Carlos (César Troncoso, THE POPE’S TOILET), an influential Argentine pastor with most of the town in his thrall and a luxurious mountainside compound towering over the village, makes a show of welcoming Humberto back into the fold. But it’s clear that forgiveness comes with strings attached, and he has no intention of allowing Humberto full access to his daughter. As Humberto attempts to pry Aleida from Carlos and Elizabeth’s powerful grasp, THE VISITOR unfolds as a taut family melodrama and a portrait of the rising influence of the evangelical church in South America. Winner, Best Screenplay, International Narrative Competition, 2022 Tribeca Film Festival. DIR/SCR/PROD Martín Boulocq; SCR Rodrigo Hasbún; PROD Andrea Camponovo, Hernán Musaluppi, Santiago López Rodríguez, Álvaro Olmos Torrico. Bolivia/Uruguay, 2022, color, 86 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

2022 Oscar® Selection, Bolivia
THE GREAT MOVEMENT [EL GRAN MOVIMIENTO]
Bolivian auteur Kiro Russo (DARK SKULL) returns with a psychedelic city symphony exploring the concrete jungle of La Paz and the very real jungle at its edges. This enthralling drama follows Elder, an out-of-work miner on a pilgrimage to the capital, as he struggles with a mysterious illness that threatens to plunge him into madness. His only hope for relief is a homeless witch doctor named Max. Shot entirely in grainy Super 16mm film and backed by a chaotic urban soundscape, the film casts a spell with its long zooms, bravura editing and a surprise ’80s synth dance sequence. Winner, Special Jury Prize, 2021 Venice Film Festival. Official Selection, 2021 San Sebastian and New York film festivals. DIR/SCR/PROD Kiro Russo; PROD Pablo Paniagua, Alexa Rivero. Bolivia/France/Qatar/Switzerland/UK, 2021, color, 85 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED 

Special Presentation
UTAMA 
Presented in recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ Day on Oct. 10
Deep within the arid Bolivian highlands, elderly Quechua couple Virginio and Sisa live a simple life among their precious llamas. When their grandson Clever arrives intent on moving them to the city, they are faced with uprooting all they have known or perishing in their ancestral home — an inevitability precipitated by an unusually long drought. Alejandro Loayza Grisi’s urgent feature debut grapples with environmental collapse, filial duty and the eternal struggle between tradition and modernity — told through intoxicating widescreen imagery lensed by veteran cinematographer Bárbara Alvarez. Winner, Grand Jury Prize, World Cinema Dramatic Competition, 2022 Sundance Film Festival. DIR/SCR Alejandro Loayza Grisi; PROD Marcos Loayza, Federico Moreira, Santiago Loayza Grisi. Bolivia/Uruguay/France, 2022, color, 87 min. In Spanish and Quechua with English subtitles. NOT RATED 

Brazil

MEDUSA (2021)
MEAN GIRLS meets THE HANDMAID’S TALE in this stylish, genre-defying dystopian drama about internalized misogyny and the lure of evangelical fanaticism from Brazilian director Anita Rocha da Silveira (KILL ME PLEASE). In the not-too-distant future — or even an alternative present — a zealous girl gang hunts and assaults other women in the name of evangelicalism, shaming and punishing any young woman they deem unworthy or immoral. By day, these vicious attackers are Michele and the Treasures of the Lord, stars of a Christian pop choir and the alpha females of their evangelical church community. When Michele’s best friend Mariana (Mari Oliveira, KILL ME PLEASE) is left scarred after an intended victim fights back, her self-esteem is destroyed. Fired from her job in a cosmetic surgeon’s practice, she starts a new career as a nurse in a clinic for comatose patients and embarks on a mission to find a famed former actress who, years before, disappeared after being attacked and disfigured for her supposedly immoral ways. Moving between comedy, horror, sci-fi, mystery and satire with a visual and aural flair, Rocha da Silveira skewers religious fanaticism, influencer culture and the unrealistic expectations placed on women everywhere in one fell swoop. Winner, Best Latin American Film, 2021 San Sebastián International Film Festival; Winner, Ibero-American Award – Special Mention, 2022 Palm Springs International Film Festival. Official Selection, 2021 Cannes, Toronto and AFI FEST film festivals. DIR/SCR Anita Rocha da Silveira; PROD Mayra Auad, Vânia Catani, Fernanda Thurann. Brazil, 2021, color, 127 min. In Portuguese with English subtitles. NOT RATED

North American Premiere
FOGARÉU
In this slow-burn, supernaturally-tinged thriller — the feature debut from Brazilian director Flávia Neves, who took inspiration from her own family history — a young woman returns to her rural hometown in central Brazil to reckon with her family’s past and Brazil’s colonial history. When Fernanda (Bárbara Colen, breakout star of Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles’ BACURAU) returns to her wealthy uncle’s ranch in the small town of Goiás to scatter the ashes of her adoptive mother, it’s not long before some well-buried family secrets start to emerge. As Fernanda’s increasingly combative search for the truth about her roots shakes the façade of her well-to-do, middle-class family, she begins to pose a threat to both her uncle’s chances of being re-elected as Goiás’ mayor and to the tight-knit community’s cherished sense of their own virtuousness. Filled with striking imagery and built around a flawless central performance by Colen, FOGARÉU fuses Gothic melodrama and flourishes of the fantastic with up-to-the minute commentary on Brazil’s inherited historical guilt and the search for an identity in the wake of colonialism. Official Selection, 2022 Berlin and Neuchâtel Fantastic film festivals. DIR/SCR Flávia Neves; SCR Melanie Dimantas; PROD Mayra Auad, Vânia Catani. Brazil/France, 2022, color, 100 min. In Portuguese with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Chile

Special Presentation
North American Premiere
CHILE 1976 aka 1976
The directorial debut of Chilean actress Manuela Martelli (IL FUTURO, MACHUCA), 1976 is a heart-pounding thriller about one woman’s political awakening, set during the early days of Augusto Pinochet’s brutal dictatorship. Carmen (Aline Kuppenheim, who co-starred with Martelli in MACHUCA) is a wealthy woman with impeccable taste and charitable affiliations, but little awareness of the political turmoil and violence happening around her. But when a local priest unexpectedly asks for her help with Elías, an injured young man he has been taking care of, it soon becomes clear that this is no ordinary charity case. As Carmen becomes aware that Elías is in hiding, pursued by the Pinochet regime as a member of the resistance, she is thrown into a dangerous situation that aligns her with the opposition movement and challenges everything she thought she knew about Chilean society and her place within it. Blending an astute character study with Hitchcockian suspense and political intrigue, the film boasts among its producers acclaimed Chilean filmmakers Dominga Sotomayor (TOO LATE TO DIE YOUNG) and Andrés Wood, who directed Martelli in 2004’s MACHUCA. Official Selection, 2022 Cannes and San Sebastián film festivals. DIR/SCR Manuela Martelli; SCR Alejandra Moffat; PROD Alejandra Garcia, Juan Pablo Gugliotta, Dominga Sotomayor, Nathalia Videlia Peña, Andrés Wood, Omar Zúñiga. Chile/Argentina/Qatar, 2022, color, 100 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

MY IMAGINARY COUNTRY [MI PAÍS IMAGINARIO] 
In October 2019, Chile erupted in protests. Millions of Chileans took to the streets and demanded justice, healthcare, education and a new constitution. For renowned documentarian Patricio Guzmán (LA CORDILLERA OF DREAMS, 2019 AFI Latin American Film Festival), who participated in the student protests of 1973, it seemed that the country he always imagined Chile could be was finally being born. Though the now 81-year-old filmmaker removed himself from the film, instead focusing on the protesters who stand defiant against water cannons and armed police, his trademark voiceover narration guides viewers through the 2019–2021 struggle — known as the Estallido Social — that culminated in the election of Gabriel Boric, the nation’s youngest-ever president and the world’s youngest state leader. Official Selection, 2022, Cannes Film Festival. DIR/SCR/PROD Patricio Guzmán; PROD Alexandra Galvis, Renate Sachse. France/Chile, 2022, color, 83 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED 

THE COW WHO SANG A SONG INTO THE FUTURE [LA VACA QUE CANTÓ UNA CANCIÓN HACIA EL FUTURO]
As thousands of fish wash up dead along southern Chile’s Cruces River following a chemical leak from a nearby paper mill, Magdalena (Mía Maestro, ALIAS, THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES), a long-dead matriarch whose family owns a local dairy farm, emerges from the contaminated water to silently transform the lives of her daughter and grandchildren. When the sight of his dead wife gives Magdalena’s widowed husband (Alfredo Castro, THE CLUB) a heart attack, their daughter Cecilia (Leonor Varela, BLADE II) returns to the family farm with her children, only to witness some extremely strange happenings among the livestock. Meanwhile, Cecilia’s trans daughter (Enzo Ferrada) forms a unique bond with her newly resurrected grandmother as the mystery surrounding her death — a suicide — resurfaces (quite literally). Equal parts eco-ghost story, family drama and magical realist fable, director Francisca Alegría’s assured debut feature — beautifully lensed by cinematographer Inti Briones (SONG WITHOUT A NAME, TOO LATE TO DIE YOUNG) — defies easy categorization, painting a simultaneously hopeful and mournful portrait of a family and an environment on the brink of either collapse or restoration. Official Selection, 2022 Sundance, Miami, Cleveland, San Francisco and Munich film festivals. DIR/SCR Francisca Alegría; SCR Manuela Infante, Fernanda Urrejola; PROD Tom Dercourt, Alejandra García. Chile/France/U.S./Germany, 2022, color, 98 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Colombia

THE RUST (2021) [LA ROYA]
On a remote coffee plantation in Colombia’s Antioquia region, 27-year-old Jorge (Juan Daniel Ortiz Hernandez) works hard on land inherited from his parents, choosing to remain in a profession abandoned by most of his peers in favor of the big city, while caring for his ailing grandfather and anxiously watching as a plague of coffee leaf rust (the dreaded la roya) begins to attack his precious plants. As the village prepares for its annual festival, Jorge looks forward to catching up with long-departed friends returning from the city for a few days’ revelry and nostalgia. But confronted with faces and emotions from his past — plus concern for his farm — Jorge’s world starts to feel increasingly unstable. With his sophomore feature, Colombia’s Juan Sebastián Mesa (LOS NADIE, the top prizewinner at Venice Critics’ Week in 2016) creates an indelible, highly specific sense of time and place overlaid by a universal tale that speaks to the experience of young people everywhere torn between economic survival and the places they call home. Official Selection, 2021 San Sebastian and Zurich film festivals; Opening Night, 2022 Cartagena Film Festival. DIR/SCR Juan Sebastián Mesa; PROD Alexander Arbelaez, José Manuel Duque, David Hurst. Colombia/France, 2021, color, 84 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Costa Rica

U.S. Premiere
LA PICADA
Costa Rican filmmaker Felipe Zúñiga (producer of the recent Cannes selection DOMINGO AND THE MIST) skillfully blurs the line between documentary and fiction with his first feature-length film, a moving docu-portrait which takes place entirely in the village of La Picada, a tiny ghost town that sits at the foot of Costa Rica’s most active volcano, all-but destroyed by its numerous eruptions. Rosmeri lives a solitary existence as La Picada’s last remaining inhabitant. But despite the danger posed by the looming volcano, she refuses to leave her home, continuing to care for the animals left behind by displaced residents and running a coffee shop for the few souls who pass through. But pressure from her family and the public authorities is mounting, and despite Rosmeri’s deep bond with land she lives on and with the fiery volcano itself, she faces an impossible choice between her home and her future. In the vein of recent documentary hit FIRE OF LOVE, LA PICADA captures the ineffable connection between humanity and the natural world and reflects on our symbiotic but often adversarial relationship with the very ground on which we live. Official Selection, 2021 International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam and 2022 Guadalajara International Film Festival. DIR/SCR Felipe Zúñiga; PROD Alejo Crisóstomo, Federico Lang, Alejandra Vargas Carballo. Costa Rica/Chile, 2021, color, 75 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Cuba

OPTION ZERO [LA OPCIÓN CERO]
The channel between the tip of Florida and the Cuban coast is inundated with the corpses of Cubans seeking refuge in the U.S. A new generation of migrants seeks passage through a different path: crossing the Darién Gap, a perilous stretch of jungle on the border of Panama and Colombia infamous for instances of human trafficking. When the Obama administration abruptly ends the “wet foot, dry foot” policy, a group of migrants attempting this crossing find themselves in a hellish limbo: prohibited from proceeding by Panamanian officials and unable to return to Cuba due to a lack of funds. Director Marcel Beltrán edited hundreds of hours of footage collected by this contingent using their mobile devices to create an intimate and painful documentary portrait of people seeking freedom and a new life. Official Selection, 2022, Miami Film Festival. DIR/SCR/PROD Marcel Beltrán; PROD Paula Gastaud. Cuba/Brazil/Colombia, 2020, color, 80 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Filmmaker Q&A|
OMARA
Q&A with filmmaker Hugo Perez
The island of Cuba abounds with world-class musicians and chief among them is Omara Portuondo, the Afro-Cuban chanteuse best known for her work as a veteran member of the famous Buena Vista Social Club ensemble. Over an award-winning, eight-decade career, Portuondo has left an indelible mark on Caribbean music history. In OMARA, director Hugo Perez follows the renowned singer on her third “final” tour and captures a lively, charming and sharp octogenarian whose voice still resonates with beauty and whose art has inspired listeners across the world. Official Selection, 2022 Miami Film Festival. DIR/SCR Hugo Perez; PROD Danelle Eliav, Dana Kuznetzkoff, Ann Lewnes, Frida Torresblanco. U.S., 2021 color, 76 min. In English and Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Dominican Republic

CARAJITA
The second feature by Argentine-Spanish directing duo Silvina Schnicer and Ulises Porra (TIGRE), CARAJITA is a psychological thriller that bends toward social horror in its pointed critique of the class structures and legacy of colonialism in the Dominican Republic. When teenager Sara (Cecile van Welie, MIRIAM LIES) and her wealthy family move back to the coastal town of Las Terrenas after several years away, her nanny — and the family’s de facto housekeeper — Yarisa (Magnolia Núñez, who won the Best Actress prize at the 2022 Guadalajara International Film Festival for the role), returns with them. Having left her home and her biological daughter Mallory (Adelanny Padilla) years earlier to continue caring for Sara and her family, Yarisa’s return is bittersweet for her own family, including Mallory, who strikes up an uneasy friendship with Sara and is welcomed into the teen’s privileged social circle. When Mallory goes missing, Sara’s naïve ideas about race, class and family are hauntingly laid bare, as unspoken inequalities and the impunity of wealth and privilege are exposed. Winner, Best Picture, Best Cinematography, Best Director and Best Actress (Magnolia Núñez), 2022 Guadalajara International Film Festival; Winner, WarnerMedia Ibero-American Feature Film Award, 2022 Miami Film Festival; Winner, New Directors Award, 2021 San Sebastián International Film Festival. DIR/SCR Silvina Schnicer, Ulises Porra; SCR/PROD Ulla Prida; PROD Federico Eibuszyc, Alexandra Guerrero, Bárbara Sarasola-Day. Dominican Republic/Argentina, 2021, color, 89 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Special Presentation
PARSLEY [PEREJIL] 
It’s 1937 and dictator Rafael Trujillo has ordered the execution of all Haitians on Dominican soil, in what came to be known as the Parsley Massacre. Caught in the middle of this hellish nightmare is Marie, a Haitian woman married to Frank, a Dominican, and pregnant with their first child. Separated from Frank on the eve of the massacre, Marie faces a perilous journey alone through the dense hinterlands of Hispaniola to seek refuge. Led by a delicate performance from Cyndie Lundy as Marie and featuring evocative night-time photography by Hernan Herrera, the latest film from AFI Latin American Film Festival alum José María Cabral (HOTEL COPPELIA, WOODPECKERS) is a poignant reminder that those who do not bear witness to history are doomed to repeat it. Winner, Audience Feature Film Award, 2022 Miami Film Festival. DIR/SCR José María Cabral; SCR Arturo Arango, Nuri Duarte, Alán González, Joaquín Octavio González, Xenia Rivery; PROD Rafael Elías Muñoz. Dominican Republic, 2022, color, 85 min. In Spanish and Haitian Creole with English subtitles. NOT RATED 

Ecuador

2023 Oscar® Selection, Ecuador
LO INVISIBLE
Filmmaker Javier Andrade (THE PORCELAIN HORSE) teams with co-writer and star Anahí Hoeneisen (BLACK HOLE) to craft this taut psychological thriller about a woman recovering from severe postpartum depression while trying to maintain the veneer of perfection demanded by her privileged social circle and family. When Luisa (Hoeneisen, in a startling performance) returns from a month spent in a psychiatric clinic after being accused of trying to harm her newborn baby, she goes through the motions of returning to her former life. The sleek modernist mansion where she lives with her husband, new baby and teenage son recalls the now-infamous home in Bong Joon Ho’s PARASITE — the epitome of taste and affluence, but more a meticulously designed machine than a place of refuge. While Luisa continues to struggle with feelings of isolation and despair, a crew of housekeepers and nannies swirls around her keeping everything in check. As Luisa’s internal turmoil intensifies, Andrade and Hoeneisen slowly build the tension to a boiling point, all while those around her fail to notice — willfully, or otherwise — that her carefully constructed world is unravelling. Official Selection, 2021 Toronto International Film Festival, 2022 Málaga and Miami film festivals. DIR/SCR Javier Andrade; SCR Anahi Hoeneisen; PROD María de los Ángeles Palacios, Hanne-Lovise Skartveit, Daniel Andrade. Ecuador/France, 2021, color, 85 min. In Spanish, Quechua and German with English subtitles. NOT RATED

El Salvador

Special Presentation
Filmmaker Q&A
BLURRED WOMEN [LIENZO EN BLANCO] 
Q&A with filmmaker Gabriela Cruz

Based on a true story, BLURRED WOMEN follows the interwoven lives of three women from different walks of life, each going up against contemporary Salvadoran society in her own way. Alicia (Alicia Chong) runs an art therapy center that provides safe haven to women who have experienced violence. There, she’s introduced to Luz, a young woman who was assaulted on the way home from work but is reluctant to accept any help. Meanwhile, Dora is a middle-aged seamstress still struggling to accept the disappearance of her daughter. Through Alicia’s instruction and the power of art, the women are able to heal and come together in a quest for justice. Official Selection, 2022 Chicago Latino Film Festival. DIR/SCR Leslie Ortiz; DIR Gabriela Cruz; SCR Libia Perez; PROD Claudia Barrientos, Janaina Moraes. El Salvador, 2022, color, 71 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Guatemala

THE SILENCE OF THE MOLE [EL SILENCIO DEL TOPO]
In the 1970s, Guatemalan journalist Elías Barahona — known as “El Topo” (“The Mole”) — succeeded in infiltrating General Romeo García’s military dictatorship by posing as a press officer for the Ministry of the Interior. Assisting the resistance movement by extracting and disseminating information about planned political violence, Barahona remained so far under the radar that many friends and colleagues were convinced he was a traitor who had flipped to the side of the government. Barahona died in 2014, soon after revealing his espionage activities to the world by testifying at the trial of political leaders responsible for some of the horrific human rights violations that took place during the 1960–1996 Guatemalan Civil War. Meticulously excavating the story of this secretive individual, documentarian Anaïs Taracena uses rare archival material and interviews with Barahona and his friends and relatives to shed light on one of the most violent and repressive periods in Guatemala’s history — and on one of the fearless citizens who survived it. Winner, Best Documentary, 2022 Málaga Film Festival; Winner, Tim Hetherington Award, 2021 Sheffield Documentary Festival. DIR/SCR/PROD Anaïs Taracena; SCR Pedro G. García; PROD Rafael González. Guatemala, 2021, color, 91 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

CADEJO BLANCO 
Sarita (Karen Martínez, THE GOLDEN DREAM) reluctantly agrees to accompany her headstrong sister Bea for a fun night out on the town. But after a sisterly spat at the club, Sarita returns to their grandmother’s house alone. The next morning there’s still no sign of Bea, sending Sarita on a dangerous journey to find her. Convinced Bea’s disappearance is related to an ex-boyfriend, Sarita goes undercover to infiltrate his gang, risking everything to discover the truth. American filmmaker Justin Lerner worked with an all-Guatemalan crew (including editor Cesar Diaz, director of OUR MOTHERS) and mostly non-professional actors to craft a fierce, heart-pounding thriller. Winner, Best Central American Feature, Best Cinematography and Best Editing, 2021 Ícaro Central American Film Festival. Official Selection, 2021 Toronto, Guadalajara and Tallinn Black Nights film festivals; 2022 Santa Barbara, San Diego Latino, Málaga and Cine Las Americas film festivals. DIR/SCR/PROD Justin Lerner; PROD Mauricio Escobar, Ryan Friedkin, Jack Patrick Hurley. Guatemala/U.S./Mexico, 2021, color, 125 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED 

Mexico

Special Presentation
Filmmaker Q&A
U.S. Premiere
HOME IS SOMEWHERE ELSE
Q&A with filmmakers Jorge Villalobos and Carlos Hagerman
Presented as part of CineMexa, the film program of the Mexican Cultural Institute in DC
This beautifully animated documentary from Mexican directing team Jorge Villalobos and Carlos Hagerman tells three personal stories, each narrated by a real-life protagonist, which reflect the complex emotional experiences of undocumented children and families in the U.S. — their fears, hopes and struggles for a better future. Eleven-year-old Jasmine’s constant fear of her parents being deported has inspired her to become an activist; teenage sisters Evelyn and Elizabeth live with different immigration statuses, but refuse to let it mar their relationship; and poet José Eduardo Aguilar — who binds the three stories together with his words — recounts his childhood, his deportation from the U.S. as a young man and his path to becoming an artist and activist. Official Selection, 2022 Annecy and Guadalajara film festivals. DIR/PROD Jorge Villalobos, Carlos Hagerman; PROD Guillermo Rendón. Mexico/U.S., 2022, color, 87 min. In English and Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Special Presentation
DOS ESTACIONES
Presented as part of CineMexa, the film program of the Mexican Cultural Institute in DC
Amid the picturesque agave fields of Jalisco, María Garcia (Teresa Sánchez, THE CHAMBERMAID) owns Dos Estaciones, a once-successful tequila business struggling to pay the bills. María is now forced to compete with deep-pocketed multinational companies and an especially brutal growing season. With the weight of the town and her employees’ livelihoods on her shoulders, María must grapple with economic realities and reckon with the future. Sánchez won a Special Jury Award for Acting at the Sundance Film Festival for her iron-willed performance in Juan Pablo González’s (CABALLERANGO) beautifully lensed feature narrative debut. Official Selection, 2022 Sundance, True/False and New Directors/New Films film festivals. DIR/SCR Juan Pablo González; SCR/PROD Ilana Coleman; SCR Ana Isabel Fernández; PROD Makena Buchanan, Jamie Gonçalves, Bruna Haddad. Mexico, 2022, color, 99 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

AFI Silver After Dark:
New Digital Restoration
THE BATWOMAN [LA MUJER MURCIELAGO]
At the height of the Batmania sparked by Adam West’s turn as Batman in the beloved 1960s TV series, Mexican director René Cardona — known for his popular luchador movies, but also for the crazy 1959 Christmas movie SANTA CLAUS VS. THE DEVIL — decided it was time for an unofficial spin on the character that would fuse the Batman universe with elements of lucha libre wrestling, James Bond and Frankenstein. Italian-born actress Maura Monti (ALIEN TERROR, SANTO VS. THE MARTIAN INVASION) stars as the titular Batwoman. She’s a female twist on Bruce Wayne — fabulously wealthy, an excellent equestrian, a master of spearfishing, a celebrated luchador, an international spy and, most importantly, a caped (bikini-clad) crusader for justice. Her mission here is to investigate an evil scientist who is capturing famous wrestlers, bringing them to his luxury yacht in Acapulco Bay and using their spinal fluid to create a Gill Man. Because yes, there is also a Gill Man in this movie. This little-known entry in the Batman oeuvre is a must-see on the big screen, with eye-popping scenery, costumes and fight choreography and even underwater sequences. DIR René Cardona; SCR Alfredo Salazar, based on characters created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger; PROD Guillermo Calderón. Mexico, 1968, color, 80 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED. New digital restoration by Permanencia Voluntaria Archive.

ROBE OF GEMS [MANTO DE GEMAS]
Winner of the Silver Bear Jury Prize at this year’s Berlin Film Festival, Natalia López Gallardo’s visually arresting, slow-burn feature debut tackles crime, class and corruption in contemporary Mexico. In a remote rural town, three women from very different backgrounds are tragically affected by a missing-person case. Marriage problems have driven Isabel (Nailea Norvind, AFTER LUCÍA), a wealthy mother of two, to move to the countryside villa once owned by her late mother. Her housekeeper, María (Antonia Olivares), is dealing with the disappearance of her sister, a likely victim of the all-too-common kidnappings plaguing the area. Police officer Roberta (Aida Roa) is investigating the case, but has her own ties to the local criminal underworld via her teenaged son Adán (Daniel García, I’M NO LONGER HERE, LA CIVIL), an up-and-coming gangster with big ambitions. Eschewing the tropes of a by-the-numbers crime procedural, López Gallardo (previously an editor for filmmakers such as Carlos Reygadas and Lisandro Alonso) crafts a dense and powerfully atmospheric work that refuses easy answers and builds the tension while revealing an ever-expanding web of violence and trauma. Winner, Silver Bear Jury Prize, 2022 Berlin Film Festival. Official Selection, 2022 New Directors/New Films. DIR/SCR/PROD Natalia López Gallardo; PROD Fernanda de la Peza, Joaquín del Paso. Mexico/Argentina, 2022, color, 118 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

HUESERA with LOS HUESOS

HUESERA
A terrifying journey into motherhood, HUESERA mines the body horror of pregnancy to create a disturbing new folktale. Valeria (Natalia Solián) seems to have it all: a doting husband (Alfonso Dosal), a beautiful apartment and a new baby on the way. But her pregnancy has brought on a paralyzing wave of anxiety, spurred by increasingly disconcerting visions and uncontrollable bone cracking. Unable to shake the growing dread inside, she flees to a free-spirited old flame looking for relief from the demon haunting her every move. Michelle Garza Cervera won the Nora Ephron Award and Best New Narrative Director at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival for her nightmarish examination of modern motherhood and its frightening expectations. Official Selection, 2022 Fantastic Fest. DIR/SCR Michelle Garza Cervera; SCR Abia Castillo; PROD Edher Campos, Paulina I. Villavicencio. Mexico/Peru, 2022, color, 93 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Preceded by:

LOS HUESOS
The latest unclassifiable, stop-motion gem from Chilean directing duo Joaquín Cociña and Cristóbal León was executive-produced by horror pioneer Ari Aster (HEREDITARY, MIDSOMMAR), who came onboard after seeing the pair’s acclaimed 2019 debut THE WOLF HOUSE. A meticulously crafted myth of the origin of animation, LOS HUESOS poses as a short film uncovered by a fictional excavation undertaken in 2021, just as Chile was drafting a new constitution in the wake of the country’s 2019 protests. Dated 1901, it is the world’s first stop-motion animated film, and it depicts a macabre ritual involving the corpses of historical figures Diego Portales and Jaime Guzmán, politicians instrumental in the construction of authoritarian and oligarchic Chile. Winner, Venice Horizons Award, Best Short Film, 2021 Venice Film Festival; Winner, Critics Award for Best Short Film, 2021 Sitges – Catalonian International Film Festival. DIR/SCR Joaquín Cociña, Cristóbal León; PROD Lucas Engel. Chile, 2021, b&w, 14 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Panama

Special Presentation
2022 Oscar® Selection, Panama
PLAZA CATEDRAL
Shortlisted for the 2022 Oscars® in the International Feature category, PLAZA CATEDRAL is the latest from Panamanian director Abner Benaim, whose documentary RUBEN BLADES IS NOT MY NAME closed the 2018 AFI Latin American Film Festival with a sold-out screening. Mexican actress Ilse Salas (THE GOOD GIRLS, GÜEROS) stars as Alicia, an architect and realtor whose life has been turned upside-down by the sudden death of her six-year-old son. Newly divorced, Alicia moves to an apartment in the Old Quarter of Panama City, a wealthy enclave surrounded by the city’s poorest neighborhoods. There she meets Chief (Fernando Xavier De Casta), a street-smart 13-year-old who watches over cars parked in front of her apartment. Alicia keeps her distance, but when she finds Chief on the steps of her building one night, bleeding from a gunshot wound, she reluctantly takes him in. As she allows Chief into her home and into her life, the two forge an unforeseen emotional bond and their fates become inextricably linked. Winner, MEZCAL Award, Best Actor (Fernando Xavier De Casta) and Best Actress (Ilse Salas), 2021 Guadalajara Film Festival; Winner, Audience Award, 2021 International Film Festival of Panama. Official Selection, 2022 Miami Film Festival. DIR/SCR/PROD Abner Benaim; PROD Rubén Sierra Salles, Matthias Ehrenberg. Panama/Mexico/Colombia, 2021, color, 94 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Paraguay

BOREAL
Hired by a Mennonite rancher to build a fence, Genaro, César and his young nephew Benjamín are dropped off at a desolate spot in the Paraguayan Chaco and left to finish the job. But Benjamín has a hard time adjusting to the arduous and seemingly unending days — and an eerie feeling he has been unable to shake. Turning to the bottle to pass the time, the trio starts to become untethered. The boss shows up 30 days later, unhappy with their work. When he demands they stay three more days and complete the job to his satisfaction, despite dwindling food and water supplies, they’ll struggle to survive. Filmmaker Federico Adorno has crafted a quotidian yet disturbing portrait of colonialism and the never-ending cycles of Indigenous exploitation. Official Selection, 2022 FICUNAM and Chicago Latino film festivals. DIR/SCR/PROD Federico Adorno; PROD Renate Costa, Pamela Guinea, Leo Rubín. Paraguay/Mexico, 2022, color, 87 min. In Guarani and Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Peru

Special Presentation
THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME (2021) [TIEMPOS FUTUROS]
Dusty, dystopian Lima is a shell of its former self, plagued by never-ending drought. Eking out an existence in this gloomy, gray landscape are 12-year-old Teo (Lorenzo Molina) and his father Luis (Fernando Bacilio, EL MUDO). An electrician and inventor, Luis is singularly focused on tinkering with a mysterious machine, determined to create rain regardless of the consequences and strain the work puts on his relationship with his son. Hoping to contribute to the cause, Teo joins a gang of young criminals, but finds confidence and solace in their camaraderie, drawing him further away from his father. V. Checa makes an impressive, noir-tinged debut with this atmospheric take on science fiction and complicated parents. Official Selection, 2021 Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, 2022 Lima, LALIFF and Málaga film festivals. DIR/SCR V. Checa; SCR Victor Huizar; PROD Javier Salvador. Peru/Mexico/Ecuador/Spain/Germany, 2021, color, 82 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Portugal

Closing Night
DRY GROUND BURNING [MATO SECO EM CHAMAS]
Sisters Chitara and Léa and their queer biker gang are oil pirates, hijacking gas to resell to the motos of Sol Nascente, a favela outside Brasília. Léa is fresh from a six-year stint in jail, reconnecting to her life on the outside, while Chitara has her sights set on local politics. Both sisters united against a repressive government. Filmmakers Adirley Queirós (ONCE THERE WAS BRASILIA; WHITE OUT, BLACK IN) and Joana Pimenta spent three years in Sol Nascente filming this hybrid docu-drama, a genre-defying firecracker. Slyly subverting expectations, they seamlessly combine elements of dystopian sci-fi, classic Western tropes, observational documentary techniques and even nods to the musical to create something wholly original. Winner, Best Portuguese Film and Feature Film Grand Prize, 2022 IndieLisboa Film Festival; Winner, Grand Prize, 2022 Cinéma du Réel Film Festival. Official Selection, 2022 Berlin, Toronto, Sydney and New York film festivals. DIR/SCR/PROD Adirley Queirós; DIR/SCR Joana Pimenta. Brazil/Portugal, 2022, color, 153 min. In Portuguese with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Puerto Rico

Filmmaker Q&A ;
WITHOUT PRESCRIPTION [RECETA NO INCLUIDA]
Q&A with director Juliana Maité and lead actress/screenwriter Marietere Vélez
Following her suicide attempt and subsequent hospitalization, Olivia (Marietere Vélez, who also wrote the nuanced script) is determined to move out of her mom’s house and achieve independence. But as she’s preparing to spend Christmas Eve with her family, her OCD makes an unwelcome return. Desperate for medication and with no insurance from her job as a teacher, she finds David (Gabriel Leyva), a pharmacist’s son who sells pills under the table. When a big storm traps them in his apartment together, the two open up to one another and reveal deep truths. A tender and powerful portrait of mental health issues, the film won the Global Audience Award at the 2022 SXSW Film Festival. DIR Juliana Maité; SCR Marietere Vélez; PROD Vilma Liella. Puerto Rico, 2022, color, 83 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Spain

Special Presentation
U.S. Premiere
WHAT LUCÍA SAW [LLEGARON DE NOCHE]
In this gripping historical thriller, El Salvador-born Spanish filmmaker Imanol Uribe (FAR FROM THE SEA, NUMBERED DAYS) recounts the infamous 1989 assassination of six Jesuit priests at a university residence in San Salvador during the Salvadoran civil war of 1979–1992. Inspired by Salvadoran writer Jorge Galán’s novel “Noviembre,” Uribe approaches the subject matter through the harrowing true story of Lucía Cerna (Colombian actress Juana Acosta, CARLOS, PERFECT STRANGERS), a housekeeper at the university and the only surviving eyewitness to the massacre. While the Salvadoran government immediately blames the guerrillas for the killing, Lucía knows she saw members of the army on that fateful night. When her knowledge threatens to undermine the official version of events, Lucía is forced to escape to the U.S. with her family, where she faces further interrogation and immense pressure from both the Salvadoran and U.S. governments to change her story. Pulled from all sides, Lucía faces an impossible choice between going public with the truth and protecting her family. Official Selection, 2022 Málaga Film Festival. DIR Imanol Uribe; SCR Daniel Cebrián; PROD María Luisa Gutiérrez, Gerardo Herrero. Spain/Colombia, 2022, color, 107 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Uruguay

Special Presentation
THE EMPLOYER AND THE EMPLOYEE [EL EMPLEADO Y EL PATRÓN]
In Uruguayan director Manolo Nieto’s (THE DOG POUND, THE MILITANT) acclaimed third feature, Argentine actor Nahuel Pérez Biscayart (BPM) stars as Rodrigo, an ambitious young man with a new family who manages his wealthy father’s farm close to the Brazilian border. When Rodrigo hires teenage tractor driver and budding horse whisperer Carlos (Cristian Borges) to fill an immediate opening on the farm, the two develop a bond over their common experience as new fathers. But in the wake of an unexpected tragedy, their relationship becomes strained to a breaking point. Subtle and searing, this slow-burn rural thriller perceptively explores the class and economic polarities operating in contemporary Uruguayan society, while also painting a complex portrait of male rivalry and toxic power dynamics. Official Selection, 2021 Cannes, Karlovy Vary, San Sebastián and Zurich film festivals. DIR/SCR/PROD Manuel Nieto; PROD Julia Alves, Georgina Baisch, Bárbara Francisco, Cecilia Salim, Michael Wahrmann, Paola Wink. Uruguay/Argentina/Brazil/France, 2021, color, 107 min. In Spanish, Portuguese and French with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Venezuela

ME AND THE BEASTS [YO Y LAS BESTIAS]
Nico Manzano’s assured debut showcases his talents as director, screenwriter, composer and cinematographer. When Andrés is kicked out of his rock band, he takes a leave of absence from work to start his own solo project. With Venezuela’s economy further deteriorating, the young musician finds himself bereft of any friends — they’ve fled the country seeking opportunities abroad. One day, a pair of masked beings clad in bright yellow appear and help to compose his introspective, unrhythmic and undanceable music. ME AND THE BEASTS is an allegorical comic fantasy about a country in crisis, and one young man trying to make sense of it all. Official Selection, 2021 Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival. DIR/SCR/PROD Nico Manzano; PROD Ricardo Espinoza, Alan Ohep. Venezuela, 2021, color, 78 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

U.S. and the World

Filmmaker Q&A
WHAT WE LEAVE BEHIND (2022)
*Q&A with filmmaker Iliana Sosa on Sept. 24 

Documentarian Iliana Sosa trains her camera on her grandfather Julián, an 89-year-old elder who has spent a lifetime traveling from Mexico to El Paso, Texas, to visit his daughters and their children. After returning home, he starts building a house he intends to leave for his family. WHAT WE LEAVE BEHIND is a poetic meditation on loss, family legacies and how our homelands shape who we are. Sosa’s delicate camera captures intimate moments shared between her grandfather, her aunts and cousins and even the family dog. It’s a deeply affecting love letter from a director unafraid to share her innermost feelings with her audience. Official Selection, 2022 SXSW Film Festival. DIR/SCR/PROD Iliana Sosa; SCR Isidore Bethel; PROD Emma D. Miller. U.S., 2022, color, 71 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Silent Movie Day
New Digital Restoration
THE SPANISH DANCER (1923)
Live musical accompaniment by Andrew Simpson
After dancing for dashing Spanish nobleman Don Caesar de Bazan (Spanish-born actor and filmmaker Antonio Moreno), beautiful gypsy Maritana (silent era superstar Pola Negri) reads his cards and foretells poverty, a wedding with a masked bride, prison and a duel. All that and more ensues, as the would-be lovers brave obstacles that include a runaway horse, the lecherous king of Spain and a firing squad. With spirited direction by Herbert Brenon, glowing cinematography by James Wong Howe and a stellar cast that includes Wallace Beery and Adolph Menjou, THE SPANISH DANCER is thrilling and absolutely delightful. (Note adapted from Kino Lorber.) DIR/PROD Herbert Brenon; SCR Beulah Marie Dix, June Mathis, from the play “Don César de Bazan” by Adolphe Philippe Dennery and Philippe François Pinel. U.S., 1923, tinted and toned b&w, 106 min. Silent with English intertitles. NOT RATED. Restored by the Eye Filmmuseum and Milestone Films.

MIJA with FIRST PACKAGE FOR HONDURAS [PRIMER PAQUETE PARA HONDURAS]

MIJA
Director Isabel Castro’s feature documentary debut is a heartfelt immigrant story less concerned with the labyrinthine bureaucracy of the American immigration system than it is with the emotional turmoil faced by two first-generation Mexican Americans eager to use their citizenship as a means for family reunification. Doris Muñoz is a music talent manager who has used her business to advocate for rising Latinx artists, all while supporting her undocumented parents — and visiting her deported brother in Tijuana. After she is dropped by one of her major clients, Doris spins into crisis mode until she meets Jacks Haupt, a young Dallas, Texas-based singer who similarly uses her musical talents to support her undocumented mother. The ensuing relationship between these two women and the sweet, joyous and sorrowful moments Castro shares of them form the basis of this tender odyssey through the unique experience of immigrants and their children that crescendos to a cathartic ending. Official Selection, 2022 Sundance and Miami film festivals. DIR/PROD Isabel Castro; PROD Tabs Breese, Yesenia Tlahuel. U.S., 2022, color, 85 min. In English and Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Preceded by:

U.S. Premiere
FIRST PACKAGE FOR HONDURAS [PRIMER PAQUETE PARA HONDURAS]
Fleeing Honduras, Dinora and her children join a migrant caravan heading for the border, sharing their journey on social media along the way. Settled in Arlington, Virginia, they adjust to their new normal. But Dinora never stops live streaming, sharing the harsh difficulties of being an immigrant in the U.S. with her followers. Official Selection, 2022 Visions du Reel and Guanajuato film festivals. DIR Jakob Krese; PROD Annika Mayer. Germany, 2022, color, 23 min. In English and Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

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