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26th Annual Latin American Film Series, 2004

April 16 - 23, 2004
UWM Union Theatre
2200 East Kenwood Boulevard

The series is co-sponsored by UWM Union Sociocultural Programming, the Center for International Education, the Center for 21st Century Studies, the Center for Women's Studies, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Departments of Africology, Art History, English, Geography, History, Philosophy, Political Science, Spanish and Portuguese, the MAFLL Program, and the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Certificate Program. In collaboration with the Chicago Latino Film Festival.


Friday, April 16
7pm
La Ley de Herodes (Herod's Law)
Mexico, 2000, 123 min
Directed by Luis Estrada

Artistically photographed in sepia tone, Herod's Law is a controversial and delirious comic fable. The story is set in 1949 in San Pedro de los Saguaros, a small town of 100 inhabitants, where the last few mayors have been lynched. Given the upcoming elections, the ruling party appoints Juan Vargas, a sleepy junkyard operator whose lust for power is awakened when he becomes mayor. Set on bringing the town the "modernity and social justice" his political party trumpets as its theme, he quickly learns the system works otherwise. Winner, Latin American Cinema Award, 2000 Sundance Film Festival; multiple 2000 Mexican Ariel Awards


Saturday, April 17
Special Classics Screening
4pm
La Hora de los Hornos (Hour of the Furnaces), Part One
Argentina, 1968, 95 min (b&w)
Directed by Fernando Solanas and Octavio Getino

Considered one of the most influential films of Latin American cinema, this remarkable three-part documentary focuses on radical student, labor and civil rights movements in Argentina during the 1960s. Made clandestinely by the Grupo Cine Liberacion and censored for many years, it was intended not only to document, but to foment political struggle. This documentary led its directors to coin the concept of Third Cinema, a radical cinema (theme, structure, style) committed to social change and political empowerment. Part One, Neocolonialism and Violence, lays out a radical history of Argentina, examining why a country so rich in resources has such an impoverished population. (Parts Two and Three will be shown on Sunday, April 18.)

7pm
Pantaleón y las Visitadoras (Pantaleon and the Visitors)
Peru, 1999, 137 min
Directed by Francisco J. Lombardi

Captain Pantaleón Pantoja, an exemplary, happily married army officer, is commissioned to organize The Visitors Service, an ambulatory prostitute system created to placate the sexual needs of soldiers assigned to distant posts in the Amazon. Pantaleón carries out this mission with obsessive efficiency and it becomes a resounding success. Soon, however, the appearance of a mysterious woman and threats of extortion by a corrupt journalist play havoc with Pantaleón's mission. Based on the novel by Mario Vargas Llosa.


Sunday, April 18
Special Classics Screening
4pm
La Hora de los Hornos (Hour of the Furnaces), Parts Two and Three
Argentina, 1968, 120 min / 45 min (b&w)
Directed by Fernando Solanas and Octavio Getino

Considered one of the most influential films of Latin American cinema, this remarkable three-part documentary focuses on radical student, labor and civil rights movements in Argentina during the 1960s. Made clandestinely by the Grupo Cine Liberación and censored for many years, it was intended not only to document, but to foment political struggle. This documentary led its directors to coin the concept of Third Cinema, a radical cinema (theme, structure, style) committed to social change and political empowerment. Part Two, "An Act for Liberation," highlights the populist policies of then exiled Juan Perón; Part Three, "Violence and Liberation," discusses the role of violence in revolution. (Part One will be shown on Saturday, April 17.)

7pm
Nueve Reinas (Nine Queens)
Argentina, 2001, 115 min
Directed by Fabian Bielinsky

Covering a day and a night in the life of two con men, Nine Queens opens with naive Juan pulling a convenience store scam one time too many. In this film in which nothing is what it seems, the cop who arrests Juan turns out to be a fellow grifter, Marcos, in search of a new partner and a big score. When an acquaintance offers Marcos a chance at a half-million-dollar hustle involving a forged sheet of rare stamps (the "nine queens"), Marcos and Juan join forces. Set during Argentina's current economic crisis, the film is quick-witted entertainment with a cache of social commentary up its sleeve. Multiple Argentinian Film Critics Awards; voted Audience Favorite at the 2003 Milwaukee Latin American Film Series


Monday, April 19
7pm
Amor en Concreto (Love in Concrete)
Venezuela (co-production with France, Germany), 2003, 102 min
Directed by Franco de Peña

In this film set in and around the freeways of Caracas, six people have decided to change their lives. Carlos, a taxi driver, is crazy about the waitress Carmen, but hasn't known how to approach her for twenty years. Claudia, trapped in an existence that revolves solely around her husband, considers leaving him. Hector, riding his motorcycle with Yamila, promises he won't be a nobody all his life. Tony, a young man in conflict with his father and his own identity, finds himself drawn to the transvestite Clemencia. And throughout the story, a military tank repeatedly appears in surprising places, in search of the way to the presidential palace. In collaboration with the Chicago Latino Film Festival


Tuesday, April 20
7pm
Sin Dejar Huella (Without a Trace)
Mexico, 2000, 125 min
Directed by Maria Novaro

From the director of Danzon, Without a Trace is a smartly written and visually sumptuous road movie about two women on the run. Aurelia is a single mother who's fled her factory job and drug-dealing boyfriend; Ana is a smooth talking smuggler of fake Mayan artifacts fleeing a corrupt cop. When they cross paths at a truck stop on Mexico's dusty northern border, they decide to travel together to the Yucatán, knowing that their budding friendship is built on secrets and deceptions. Winner, Latin American Cinema Award, 2001 Sundance Film Festival; 2001 Audience Award, Guadalajara Film Festival


Wednesday, April 21
7pm
El Bonaerense (The Wild Bunch)
Argentina, 2002, 105 min
directed by Pablo Trapero

Zapa is a regular guy, a locksmith living in rural Argentina. When his boss asks him to do a special job for some clients, Zapa agrees. They break into a drug store, and he cracks the safe. The clients -- police officers -- stuff their bags, swearing Zapa to silence; the next day he's arrested. His policeman uncle makes a deal with his colleagues: they'll let Zapa go if he disappears. He goes to Buenos Aires, signs up as a police cadet, and after months of punishing training, graduates with flying colors. Zapa is now a bonaerense: a member of the most brutal and corrupt police force in Argentina. Best Picture and Best Director (Iberoamerican section), 2003 Guadalajara Film Festival


Wednesday, April 21
Special Screening - Creole and French with no English subtitles
9pm
Royal Bonbon
Haiti (coproduction with Canada, France), 2002, 85 min
Directed by Charles Najman

An unhappy man wanders the streets of Cap-Haaten, dreaming of an imaginary kingdom in which he is Roi Christophe, former slave and liberator of Haiti in 1804. Chased out of the city, he takes refuge in the ruins of the Chateau San Souci. His dream attracts the neighboring villagers who have waited 200 years for their king to return. (Royal Bonbon will also be shown on Thursday, April 29, 6pm, Haggerty Museum, Marquette University. Free) In collaboration with the Marquette Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures


Thursday, April 22
7pm
Entre Ciclones (Between Cyclones)
Cuba (co-production with France, Spain), 2002, 120 min
directed by Enrique Colina

In this black comedy, full of social satire, a cyclone collapses the home of Tomás, the day before he expects to get a job that will let him escape from his marginal existence. The need for a roof entangles him in a series of conflictive, amorous relationships. With both his work and personal life in crisis, his misfortunes are further amplified when his brother implicates Tomás in a criminal act that threatens both his future and his desire to change his life. In collaboration with the Chicago Latino Film Festival


Friday, April 23
7pm
Celeste e Estrela (Celeste and Estrela)
Brazil, 2003, 96 min
directed by Betse de Paula

While waiting for his lover at the airport, Paulo Estrela finds himself telling a hostess the story of how he met Celeste, a documentary film maker. Celeste now plans to shoot her first feature film called "Impossible Love Affairs." She realizes she will have to fight for her vision and may need to compromise to make the film. Celeste enlists Estrela's help to secure funding, a difficult task in a country where film resources are scarce. The very process of movie making creates a love triangle for Estrela and Celeste. In collaboration with the Chicago Latino Film Festival


And yet more Latin American film, presented by the UWM Union Theatre...

Wednesday and Thursday, April 28 & 29
Tan de Repente (Suddenly)
Argentina, 2002, 90 min
Directed by Diego Lerman

Recalling the early work of Jim Jarmusch, Diego Lerman's offbeat, slyly comic drama follows a pair of punkette malcontents (calling themselves Mao and Lenin) who abduct a lovelorn lingerie salesgirl, hijack a taxi, and go south. A poignant, funny and unpredictable road movie, shot in crisp, beautiful B&W. Suddenly "rambl[es] amiably from something feisty and punk to something wonderfully illuminating and tender." 2003 LGBT Film Festival