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Latin Wave 6

Submitted by Commandrea on April 28, 2011 – 9:49 amOne Comment
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A wave of diverse movies from Latin America descends on Houston in the form of the Latin Wave 6. The sixth annual festival of films from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Columbia and Mexico unwinds at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston this weekend (April 28 – May 1). Considering the paucity of foreign films playing in theatrical engagements in Houston this is a chance to see as many as eight premieres, all of which give viewers a unique spin on cinema.

Culture wise these films offer their audience another side of the coin to the kind of corruption, community and bonding supplied by American films. If a Hollywood studio film probes the guilt or innocence of youth involved in crime or parents investigating the disappearance of neighbors, these Latin films push the envelope a bit further by showing the abject poverty that’s just considered everyday life in the Third World. One film from Columbia, All Your Dead Ones (Todos tus muertos), shows the absurdity of the village idiot finding a stack of 50 dead bodies near his farm. Instead of investigating this outrage in the manner of a typical police procedural the film satirizes the incident through the petty actions of the town’s mayor and military police when they seek to cover up the massacre and shift the blame to another town.

The Cinema Hold-Up (Asalto al cine) from Mexico depicts wasted youths who plot to rob a movie theater. Even as they successfully pull off the heist they devolve from a unified gang into bickering individuals. By the film’s end they resemble a bunch of aging criminals, some flaunting their newfound wealth, rather than teens that still ride bicycles and live with their mothers.

A thoughtful drama from Chile, Old Cats (Gatos viejos) pits an ungrateful daughter against her ageing mother. When the elderly lady, rapidly succumbing to senility, realizes that all her daughter wants is for her to sign over the deed to her property she vanishes into a nearby park where a commercial with people dressed as insects is being filmed. The lady’s puffy and mellow cats are omnipresent throughout and act as a reflection of their owner’s temperament.

Many of the premieres will include post screening Q&A’s with their respective directors. As always the opening night includes a party (tonight, from 9:30 to midnight) in the museum’s foray that includes enough dancing to give this Latin wave a beat.

- Michael Bergeron

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