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High Museum to Celebrate 25th Annual Latin American Film Festival
Winder Journeys Countryside.
ATLANTA, GA.- The High Museum of Art will present the 25th annual Latin American Film Festival from Friday, September 24, to Saturday, October 30. This year’s festival will feature fifteen outstanding recent films, with a special focus on Argentinean film and extraordinary works from Mexico, Peru, Chile, Brazil, Colombia and Uruguay. Highlights include “Waste Land,” a documentary that follows the life-changing collaboration between Brazilian artist Vik Muniz and the poorest residents of Rio de Janeiro, who recycle garbage at the world’s largest dump; “Undertow,” a Sundance Audience Award-winner from Peru; “Carancho,” an Argentinean thriller featuring Ricardo Darín (star of the 2010 Oscar-winner “The Secret in Their Eyes”); and “Alamar,” a blend of fiction and documentary from Mexico that was hailed as the find of the 2010 Toronto Film Festival. The Latin American Film Festival is made possible with support from the Consulate General of Argentina, the Consulate General of Mexico and Julie and Jerry Chautin.

“The High’s Latin American Film Festival celebrates its 25th anniversary with a stellar lineup of award-winning films. This year’s festival includes poetic documentaries, black comedies and finely acted, gorgeously shot dramas,” said Linda Dubler, curator of media arts at the High. “We are very proud to have been the home for this series for 25 years and look forward to many more years of bringing such diverse film selections to Atlanta.”

The festival opens on Friday, September 24, with “Alamar,” a film by director Pedro González-Rubio that was gorgeously shot in the Caribbean’s Banco Chinchorro, home to Mexico’s largest coral reef. Hailed as the greatest find of the Toronto Film Festival and winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the Miami International Film Festival, “Alamar” is a relaxed and radiant look at the last days that young Natán has with his father and grandfather fishing in Mexico before moving to Rome with his mother. Following the viewing, an opening-night reception will be held in the lower lobby of the Promenade II building, located at 1230 Peachtree Street, across the street from the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra entrance to the Woodruff Arts Center.

On Saturday, September 25, Brazil’s most famous living artist teams up with some of the poorest but most resourceful residents of Rio de Janeiro in “Waste Land.” This riveting film from co-directors Lucy Walker, Joăo Jardim, and Karen Harley follows the life-changing collaboration between Vik Muniz, an artist and photographer who works with unconventional materials, and a group of men and women who recycle garbage at the world’s largest dump. An uplifting film that highlights the transformative power of art and the beauty of the human spirit, “Waste Land” won an Audience Award at Sundance and the Amnesty International Film Prize at Berlin.

The series continues on Friday, October 1, with the documentary “Beyond Ipanema: Brazilian Waves in Global Music.” In this fascinating look at the global embrace of Brazilian music, viewers embark on a trip from the 1940s, when Carmen Miranda conquered Hollywood, to the rise of Bossa Nova, Tropicalia, and beyond. Director Guto Barra and producer Béco Dranoff weave together interviews from luminaries such as Caetano Velosa, Gilberto Gil, Bebel Gilberto and David Byrne. The result is, in the words of The Huffington Post, “a brilliant overview of the incursion of Brazilian music worldwide!”

On October 2, Ciro Guerra’s Cannes award-winning film “The Wind Journeys” follows aging maestro of the accordion Ignacio and his student Fermín as they embark on a journey through the rugged mountains, gorgeous savannas, and striking deserts of northern Colombia. Rumor has it that Ignacio comes by his talent with a little help from the devil. When his wife dies, he feels compelled to return his darkly magical instrument to his mentor.

Set in 1969, the sweetly crowd-pleasing “Valentín” on Thursday, October 7, revolves around an eight-year-old boy who, while dreaming of being an astronaut, is also something of a cupid: he orchestrates romances for the adults in his life, including his grumpy grandma (played by the great Spanish actress Carmen Maura) and one of his father’s ex-girlfriends, who Valentín still adores. The film was directed by Alejandro Agresti, who based it on his memories of growing up in Buenos Aires with his grandmother after his mother’s mysterious disappearance.

On Friday, October 8, “A Bad Day to Go Fishing” features a washed-up wrestler named Jacob and his fast-talking manager, who hope to rescue themselves from financial ruin by staging a match in a small town in Uruguay. The lure is a prize of $1,000 for any challenger who’s able to take Jacob down in three minutes—a sure thing until a local tough guy emerges and threatens to win against the drunken, ailing champ. Álvaro Brechner’s quirky dark comedy won Best Actor at Mar del Plata and Best Screenplay at the Lima Latin American Film Festival.

A current of the supernatural runs through director Javier Fuentes-León’s “Undertow” on Saturday, October 9. This lush love story follows married fisherman Miguel, who is torn between his pregnant wife and his male lover, a painter whose work contains dangerous clues to their affair. Unfolding against the backdrop of a traditional town on the Peruvian coast, this ravishingly beautiful film interweaves romance, social mores and issues of self-hatred and betrayal. The film won Audience Awards at both the Sundance and Miami film festivals.

Hailed as a sterling example of Argentine minimalist cinema, “The Custodian” on Thursday, October 14, is a dark portrait of a seemingly anonymous bodyguard who accompanies a government minister from boardroom to bathroom and everywhere in between. It’s a steady paycheck for Rubén, but the job is both tedious and stressful, and the man he’s protecting hardly seems worthy of his attention. Director Rodrigo Moreno creates a potent atmosphere of ever-mounting anxiety and vigilance in this award-winning film.

The film series continues on Friday, October 15, with Gabriel Mascaro’s “High Rise.” Rather than focusing on the poverty and crime so often featured in movies about contemporary Brazil, this film poetically explores the social and cultural mindset of Brazil’s elite through conversations with inhabitants of nine penthouses in Săo Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Recife. Sometimes surreal and always revealing, this mesmerizing look at the privileged life of those who are literally above it all shouldn’t be missed.

In “Moon Over Avellaneda” on Saturday, October 16, Juan Jose Campanella explores themes of love, loss and idealism in this charming, bittersweet ensemble film. At its center is a fifty-year-old social and sports club founded by working people in a Buenos Aires neighborhood. Román has deep connections to the place—his mother gave birth to him there during a festive carnival night—and he is part of a group trying to save it from being sold. His quixotic battle is all-consuming, so he’s shocked to learn that his wife has taken a lover. His comedic efforts to resuscitate his marriage play out against those of his best friend, a middle-aged slacker who can’t decide whether or not his romance with a dance teacher is a life-changer.

In “It’s Your Fault” on Friday, October 22, it’s a typical evening at home for young mother Julieta. Her two boys are tussling, bickering and generally driving her crazy; a report for work needs to be completed; and her husband, from whom she is separated, hasn’t shown up when he said he would. Anahí Berneri’s unsettling, brilliantly acted film probes not just relationships between couples and their children, but the costs exacted on us all by consumerism and the endless demands of the new virtual workplace.

On Saturday, October 23, “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” follows Baby, a chain-smoker who’s a couple of decades too old for her nickname, as she fills her days giving guitar lessons to an assortment of tone-deaf students and spends her nights alone. When a bachelor moves into the apartment next door, she immediately starts planning the menu for their first meal together and considering which body parts need to be waxed. Anna Muylaert’s multiple-award-winning black comedy made its international debut as part of The Museum of Modern Art’s “Premiere Brazil!,” where it was called “wacky and utterly charming.”

“Those Who Remain” on Wednesday, October 27, is an intimate film about the impact of migration on families and villages left behind by loved ones who have traveled north for work. The film is punctuated by wonderful music and was made with a lively, fresh approach to its subject, winning Best Documentary for directors Juan Carlos Rulfo and Carlos Hagerman at the Guadalajara and Los Angeles film festivals.

On Friday, October 29, “Northless” centers on Andrés, a farmer from Oaxaca, who is caught crossing the border illegally and ends up stranded in Tijuana. As he kills time before attempting to cross again, he finds a job helping out at a bodega and becomes involved with both its owner and her friend—two women left behind by men like Andrés. Understated and poignant, “Northless” was a major award-winner at Spain’s San Sebastian International Film Festival.

The series concludes on Saturday, October 30, with “Carancho,” by Pablo Trapero. The film follows an ambulance-chasing lawyer named Sosa and twenty-something emergency room doctor Luján after they meet among the carnage of a car crash. He’s caught up in shady insurance schemes but is anxious to find a way to come clean; she’s ambitious and capable, but takes the edge off of sleep deprivation and adrenaline jitters with a regular fix. In Trapero’s electrifying thriller neither conscience nor love comes without cost, and corruption casts an omnipresent shadow.

The High Museum of Art | 25th Annual Latin American Film Festival | Linda Dubler |


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