International: Latin America Reviews

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Review: HERMIA & HELENA, Lovely Cinematic Playfulness

Matias Piñeiro's Hermia & Helena begins almost identically as his last film Princess of France, looking down at a soccer field. But they are two very different films. Even though his usual light-as-feather approach at twenty-something's bohemian lives and romantic...

Hot Docs 2017 Review: BRIMSTONE & GLORY, Where Cinematography Induces Euphoria & Panic

Do you remember that sequence in Beasts Of The Southern Wild when everyone runs around shooting fireworks at each other in the Bayou? The glorious dance of the visuals and music grasp at the essence and the onslaught of life's...

SXSW 2017 Review: DIVINE DIVAS Goes Behind the Curtains

Vibrant and enlightening, Divine Divas peeks behind the curtains of the Rival Theatre in Brazil, which was one of the first in the country to showcase men dressed as women in the 1960s. Eight artists have gathered for a 50th...

SXSW 2017 Review: BAD LUCKY GOAT, Two Siblings on a Comic Dramatic Journey

A brother, a sister, a goat. A relaxed charmer, Bad Lucky Goat is some kind of wonderful. It starts with an appetizer that establishes its milieu, a ramshackle island community in the Caribbean. The area is in Colombia, South America,...

Berlinale 2017 Review: A FANTASTIC WOMAN, Sebastián Lelio's Masterpiece of Micro-Aggressions

Last year, Álex Anwandter's Chilean LGBT drama You'll Never Be Alone was one of the films that lit up Berlinale's programme from the heart of Panorama (read the review). And since then, Pablo Larraín has cemented his respected standing with...

Rotterdam 2017 Review: Social Satire A DECENT WOMAN Conjures Up Anarchism From A Nudistic Swinger Club

A Decent Woman marries European formalism to Latin American temperament in a social satire embracing anarchism and clothes-optional policy

Review: WE ARE THE FLESH, A Paean to Liberty, Designed as a Fairy-tale for Adults

Emiliano Rocha Minter, a 26-year-old budding filmmaker from Mexico, emerged with his feature debut at International Film Festival Rotterdam early in 2016, finished only a couple of days before landing in Netherlands. It wasn't his first visit to Rotterdam, though....

Review: NERUDA, Playful, Poetic Filmmaking

Treading boundaries of reality in a free form that is unquestionably cinematic, director Pablo Larrain achieves something very special with Neruda. It's a beautifully crafted film that feels completely effortless and airy. It is clever, playful and fluid yet not too showy, emotionally resonant yet not corny. It's a political treatise, yet it doesn't take itself too seriously. But it doesn't make light of the persecution and people's suffering either. Neruda is a great achievement in the cinematic art form.

Blu-ray Review: You Will Never Want THE EXTERMINATING ANGEL to End

Luis Buñuel's El Angel Exterminador (The Exterminating Angel) is one of the greatest works of cinematic surrealism of the '60s. Even as Buñuel's profile rose later in the decade with films like Belle de jour, and then on into the...

Review: SILENCE Demands Respect and Inspires Debate

An impressively devout expression of religious faith that seeks to answer some of mankind's most pressing questions, Silence demands respect and inspires debate, all while displaying the absolute command of master filmmaker Martin Scorsese. Now 74, Scorsese has reportedly desired...

Los Cabos 2016 Review: WHILE THE WOLF'S AWAY Loses its Way

While the Wolf’s Away, the debut from Joseph Hemsani, is a strange collision of motifs and references. With significant echoes to the work of fellow countryman Guillermo Del Toro, this coming of age-meets dark thriller at times feels like it’s...

Review: DON'T CALL ME SON Mulls Over Sexual Identity In A Subtle, Personal Way

Don't Call Me Son, doesn't dwell on nature vs nurture or rely on cheap sentimentality. The film doesn't even try to make any big statement on gender equality or social justice. It focuses on a young man who is very comfortable with his identity even though his life has become chaotic. But he's not a helpless victim who's unsure about his place in the world. And he also has a great, caring heart.

Review: DESIERTO, Some of the Most Exciting Cinema This Year

Having learned a few tricks working on his father’s multi-award winning space thriller Gravity, Jonas Cuarón brings the action down to earth to craft a similarly intense tale of human survival. The idea of putting up a wall between Mexico...

New York 2016 Review: HERMIA & HELENA, Matías Piñeiro's New Offering is Slow in Tempo But Just as Beguiling

Just like his other films, H & H is extremely talky, but the feel of the film is much slower even languid at times. It's not more contemplative, per se. Perhaps it's New York's snowy winter landscape that's bringing out certain melancholy to the film. Because of Camila's journey takes unexpected turns (in romance or otherwise) and because of the people she meets and we get to see her (sort of) motives, the film comes closer to a character study and feels more personal than any other Piñeiro films I've seen.

New York 2016 Review: AQUARIUS Explores Indiscreet Charm of Brazilian Bourgeoisie

With Braga's commanding performance and the quite explosive ending, Aquarius goes down as one of the finest films of 2016.

Locarno 2016 Review: In ENDLESS POETRY, Alejandro Jodorowsky Ups the Ante

Chilean born Alejandro Jodorowsky can be called many things: Mystic, sage, tarot master, director, screenwriter, actor, mime, graphic novel scribe, healer, philosopher, novelist, playwright, spiritual guru. All that and more could fit on his resume... if he was a man...

Lima 2016 Review: A Couple Reopens Old Wounds In LA ULTIMA TARDE

Estranged couple Laura (Katerina D’Onofrio) and Ramón (Lucho Cáceres) meet up after 19 years to sign their long overdue divorce papers. A bureaucratic mishap -- anyone who’s ever been to a public office in Peru sadly knows how common those...

Lima 2016 Review: In EPITAFIO, Man Dares To Defy Nature

In 1519, Spanish conquistador Diego de Ordaz was tasked by Hernán Cortés – then in the midst of conquering Mexico – with ascending to the top of the Popocatepetl, the second highest volcano in the country, at over 17,000 feet...

Lima 2016 Review: LA LUZ EN EL CERRO, A Morality Play in the Andes

As Lima Film Festival’s 20th edition kicks into high gear this week, it’s been refreshing to see that most of the Peruvian films both in and out of competition are all pretty solid; it’s a sign that local cinema is...

DVD Review: A MONSTER WITH A THOUSAND HEADS, Desperately Seeking Solutions

It's a nightmare. When a beloved family member falls victim to a debilitating illness, it's devastating. When the diagnosis becomes terminal, the pain becomes indescribable. When a possible medical alternative is refused to your loved one because of bureaucracy, desperation...