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High Museum of Art to Host 24th Annual Latin American Film Festival
Lion's Den by Pablo Traper.

ATLANTA, GA. The High Museum of Art will present the 24th annual Latin American Film Festival on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. The festival begins on September 25 through October 31, 2009, and features outstanding recent cinema from Argentina , Brazil , Chile , Cuba , Mexico , Puerto Rico and Uruguay . Its twelve films represent the best in comedy, drama, thriller and documentary in Latin American film today, including the award-winning films “That’s It,” “Lion’s Den” and “Ballroom.”

The 24th annual Latin American Film Festival is sponsored by LAPTV. Program enrichment is made possible by a gift from Julie and Jerry Chautin. The Festival Program Consultant is Sandro Fiorin of FiGa Films.

“The High is excited to present its 24th year of the Latin American Film Festival as we continue to offer patrons a series deep in quality and breadth,” said curator of media arts Linda Dubler. “With our festival program consultant Sandro Fiorin, we have created a program that reflects the diverse film culture of Latin America . While themes of social and political justice are key with ‘Oblivion’ and ‘Lion’s Den,’ this year’s films are fascinating in their exploration of young people who are just discovering love and finding themselves, as well as elders for whom life still holds revelations and wonders.”

The Latin American Film Festival opens Friday, September 25, with “Insignificant Things.” Andrea Martinez’s ensemble cast offers up redemption in the small things that happen in daily life. This slice-of-life story set in Mexico City is a delicate and finely observed drama exploring the themes of forgiveness, mortality and both familial and romantic love. An opening-night reception sponsored by the Consulate General of Mexico in Atlanta will follow the screening in the lower lobby of the Promenade II building, located at 1230 Peachtree St . This film is in Spanish with subtitles.

Showing on Saturday, September 26, “Oblivion” is a humorous, biting and humanistic film by Heddy Honigmann. This film was praised by the International Film Critics Federation for its “poetical and Chaplinesque vision of the resilience of humanity.” An ode to Peru ’s people who have been plundered by the powerful, the film is a song for the powerless who resist being consigned to oblivion. This film is in Spanish with subtitles.

On Friday, October 2, “Intimacies of Shakespeare and Victor Hugo” is a film by Yulene Olaizola. The film centers on the relationship that she and her maid Florencia had for many years with a strange, artistic young man named Jorge Rios, who roomed in her home. Evoking the gothic atmosphere of a Tennessee Williams tale, this real-life mystery uses what Variety’s Robert Koehler called “a placid, inviting style” to present “an everyday look into the bizarre.” This film is in Spanish with subtitles.

“That’s It,” on Saturday, October 3, is the set up for 21-year-old director Matheus Souza’s fresh romantic comedy about twenty-somethings falling in and out of love. Channeling mumblecore style by using digital video, seemingly improvised dialogue, non-professional actors and pop-cultural references, Souza’s film is rooted in Generation Y. Directed with surprisingly heart-warming sincerity, “That’s It” won the Audience Award for Best Film at the 2008 Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo Film Festivals. This film is in Portuguese with subtitles.

Showing on Friday, October 9, “The Good Life,” from director Andres Wood, won Spain ’s Goya Award for Best Spanish Language Foreign Film in 2009. The moving drama, set in present-day Santiago , is the story of four characters whose lives cross during a search for their visions of the good life. This film is in Spanish with subtitles

On Saturday, October 10, “The Window,” from director Carlos Sorin, centers on 80-year-old Antonio, who, after a vigorous life, awaits what will probably be a final visit from his estranged son. He sees light and life, the past, the present and intimations of the future—a vision so compelling that he sneaks past his caregivers to take what might be a last walk in his fields. Through Antonio’s foray into both the corners of his own memory and the world beyond his shadowy room, Sorin evokes the elegiac and pastoral spirit of Ingmar Bergman’s “Wild Strawberries.” This film is in Spanish with subtitles.

In “Lion’s Den,” showing on Friday, October 16, Pablo Traper crafts a dark meditation on familial relationships and a searing critique of Argentina ’s judicial system. Shot on location in a number of Argentinean penitentiaries and featuring many non-actors in supporting roles, the film tells the story of Julia, a 25-year-old student incarcerated for committing a murder she can’t remember. Martina Gusman, playing Julia, won the International Film Critics’ FIPRESCI award for Best Actress at the Palm Spring International Film Festival; the film was also nominated for the Palm D’Or at Cannes in 2008. This film is not appropriate for children. This film is in Spanish with subtitles.

Showing on Saturday, October 17, Gabriel Medina’s “The Paranoids” is a deadpan comedy centered on Luciano, a hangdog twenty-something whose life is defined by his endless anxieties. His paralyzing angst is inspiring to Manuel, a smooth-talking producer who has launched a successful Spanish television series based on his friend’s miseries. To complicate matters, Manuel’s insomniac girlfriend Sofia starts crashing at Luciano’s place, and the stage is set for a very neurotic romance. This film is in Spanish with subtitles.

Showing on Friday, October 23, “Café de los Maestros,” directed by Miguel Kohan, is a valentine to the elder statesman of Argentina’s treasured musical form, the tango. Kohan unites talented musicians for a magnificent performance at the famed Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires and captures the gentlemen as they rehearse and reminisce. This film is in Spanish with subtitles.

On Saturday, October 24, Mariana Chenillo’s “Nora’s Will” is a poignant, understated comedy about the legacy that Nora, a longtime sufferer of depression, leaves her loved ones when, after many suicide attempts, takes enough pills to end her life right before Passover. Mariana Chenillo’s first feature, loosely based on her own family history, won audience awards at the Morelia, Miami and Cine Las Americas film festivals. This film is in Spanish and Hebrew with subtitles.

Showing on Friday, October 30, “Ballroom” is the story of love and life unfolding in one of São Paulo ’s most popular ballrooms. Director Laís Bodanzky’s finely acted ensemble film introduces us to a cast of diverse characters and features a fabulous soundtrack with performances by singers Elza Soares and Marku Ribas. The film won the Audience and Best Director awards at the Brasilia Film Festival. This film is in Portuguese with subtitles.

In “Ocean,” showing on Saturday, October 31, Russian filmmaker Mikhail Kosyrev-Nesterov mixes operatic emotion, realist acting and a fearlessly inventive visual style in an ode to Cuba and its people. The action alternates between a small fishing village that is home to a protective mother and her three sons, and Havana , a metropolis where the eldest son believes any dream can come true. As its title suggests, “Ocean” explores the fluid, fierce undertow of passion and ties it to an edenic tropical landscape whose beauty is as intoxicating as a first kiss. This film is in Spanish with subtitles.

High Museum of Art | Latin America | film | Argentina | Brazil | Chile | Cuba | Mexico | Puerto Rico | Uruguay |

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