Chile ’76 (1976) by Manuela Martelli and The Cow Who Sang a Song Into the Future (La vaca que cantó una canción hacia el futuro) by Francisca Alegría, two debut feature films by emerging Chilean filmmakers will be released in the US by Kino Lorber.
Chile ’76 will have its New York premiere as part of the 52nd edition of New Directors/New Films, screening on Friday, April 7, at Film at Lincoln Center and on Sunday, April 9, at The Museum of Modern Art, with the director in attendance. A theatrical run starts Friday, May 5, at Film at Lincoln Center and the IFC Center in New York City, and on Friday, May 12 at the Laemmle Royal in Los Angeles, followed by a national rollout.
Acclaimed at the Sundance, San Francisco, Seattle, and Frameline film festivals, The Cow Who Sang a Song Into the Future opens on Friday, May 19, at the Quad Cinema in New York City, and on Friday, May 26 at the Laemmle Theaters in Los Angeles, followed by other cities across the country.
Martelli and Alegría join an impressive generation of Chilean female directors that have been making waves in the international scene during the past few years, including Maite Alberdi, who nabbed an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary for The Mole Agent and who recently won the Grand Jury Prize for World Cinema Documentary at Sundance for The Eternal Memory, and Dominga Sotomayor, who became the first woman director to win the Best Director Award at the Locarno Film Festival for Too Late to Die Young, and is also a producer of Chile ’76. Other outstanding Chilean female directors include Claudia Huaiquimilla, Camila José Donoso, Carolina Moscoso, Marcela Said, Alicia Scherson, and Joanna Reposi, among others.
Set during the early days of Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship, Chile ’76 builds from a quiet character study to a gripping suspense thriller as it explores one woman’s precarious flirtation with political engagement. Carmen (Aline Kuppenheim) leads a sheltered upper-middle-class existence. The story unfolds as she heads to her summer house in the off-season to supervise its renovation, while her husband, children, and grandchildren visit on and off, bringing reminders of the world beyond. When the family priest asks her to take care of an injured young man he has been sheltering in secret, Carmen is inadvertently drawn into the world of the Chilean political opposition and must face real-world threats she is unprepared to handle, with potentially disastrous consequences for her and her entire family.
In The Cow Who Sang a Song Into the Future, a choir of creatures introduces a world delicately constructed by fantasy, mystery, and magical realism. Starring Mía Maestro (Frida, The Motorcycle Diaries), Leonor Varela (Sleep Dealer, Blade II), and Alfredo Castro (Tony Manero, No), Alegría’s poignant and lyrical debut feature is an ambitious proposal for acceptance, nature, renewal, and healing, suggesting that the dead return when they are most needed.
It begins at a river in the south of Chile where fish are dying due to pollution from a nearby factory. Amid their floating bodies, long-deceased Magdalena bubbles up to the surface gasping for air, bringing with her old wounds and a wave of family secrets. This shocking return sends her widowed husband into turmoil and prompts their daughter Cecilia to return home to the family’s dairy farm with her own children. Magdalena’s presence reverberates among her family, instigating fits of laughter and despair in equal measure with all but Cecilia’s eldest child, who finds much-needed comfort in their grandmother’s love and unconditional understanding during a time of transition.