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31st Annual Latin American Film Series, 2009

Presented by the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, UWM Union Programming, Union Theatre and The Department of Film.

From The Watercolorist on April 23rd

April 17-24, 2009

UWM Union Theatre
2200 East Kenwood Boulevard
Free Admission

All films will be shown in their original language with English subtitles
Films are not rated; many include adult content. For more information please call the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at (414) 229-5986.

The series is co-sponsored by UWM Union Sociocultural Programming, the Center for International Education, the Center for Women's Studies, the Center for 21st Century Studies, the Cultures and Communities Program, the Departments of Africology, Art History, History, MAFLL, Political Science, Spanish and Portuguese, the Urban Studies Program, the Multicultural Student Center, and the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Certificate Program. Programming by Lacey Severson and Julie Kline. In collaboration with the Chicago Latino Film Festival.

Friday, April 17

Empty Nest (El Nido Vacío)
Argentina, Spain, France, Italy, 2008, 92 min
Directed by Daniel Burman

Cultured, prosperous, blessed with three children and many friends, Leonardo and Martha are a truly enviable married couple. But they begin to question their happiness when Julia, their youngest, marries and leaves Buenos Aires. The house is empty, the children scattered all over the world. For Leonardo and Martha, there are no more excuses for not addressing all those little grievances and annoyances that have piled up over the years. Martha seeks release by going back to the university and surrounding herself with people. Leonardo takes refuge in fantasies that become so real that he can't distinguish them from reality. Winner, Best Actress and Best Cinematography, 2008 San Sebastián International Film Festival. View Trailer

Saturday, April 18

In collaboration with the Chicago Latino Film Festival
Christmas Eve (Nochebuena)
Colombia, 2008, 90 min
Directed by Camila Loboguerrero Vergara

The upper class de la Concha extended family has come together, as they do every year, to celebrate Christmas Eve. The family is bankrupt, but only the youngest, Bernardo, who manages the family’s assets, knows it. He’s trying to make some fast deals to save the well-heeled life he’s known. Meanwhile, he’s having an affair with his sister-in-law Esmeralda and trying to hide it from her father, a local politician, with whom Bernardo thinks he can make a business arrangement to save the family fortune. View trailer

Saturday, April 18

Personal Belongings
Cuba, Bolivia, 2007, 98 min
Directed by Alejandro Brugués`

Ernesto has been trying to leave the country ever since he can remember. His only occupation is going from embassy to embassy, trying to get a visa. He lives in his car, and all his belongings fit in a small bag. Ana’s family left Cuba on a raft. She decided to stay behind, alone in her huge and empty house. She’s determined to show them they made the wrong choice. From the moment they meet, Ana and Ernesto fall hopelessly in love, though they both know they have chosen completely different paths for their lives. But how do you help the person you love to get away from you? And how far are you willing to go to keep them by your side? View Trailer

Sunday, April 19

The Man of Two Havanas
Cuba/USA, 2007, 93 minutes (documentary)
Directed by Vivien Weismen Lesnik

With a childhood filled with bombings and assassination attempts on her father, once a fellow revolutionary with Fidel Castro, the filmmaker explores her relationship with him and the Cuba he left behind. Through the prism of a daughter we explore the past, the present, and the nature of social responsibility and personal sacrifice. Recipient, First Coral at the 2007 Festival Internacional de Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano, Havana. View Trailer

Sunday, April 19

Lake Tahoe
Mexico, 2008, 81 min
Directed by Fernando Eimbcke

Teenage Juan crashes his family's car into a telegraph pole on the outskirts of town, and then scours the streets searching for someone to help fix it. His quest will bring him to Don Heber, an old mechanic whose only companion is his dog; to Lucía, a young mother who is convinced that her real place in life is as a lead singer in a punk band; and to a teenage mechanic obsessed with martial arts and Kung Fu philosophy. The absurd and bewildering worlds of these characters drag Juan into a one-day journey in which he will come to accept what he was escaping from in the first place -- an event both as natural and inexplicable as a loved one's death. From the director of Duck Season. Winner, Best Director, Guadalajara International Film Festival. View Trailer

Sunday, April 19

US, Mexico, 2008, 95 min (English with some Spanish dialogue)
Directed by Brian Petersen

After their friend is deported, two young Americans decide to smuggle him back, a single event that leads them to contemplate people smuggling as a new career. They promote their services as a "kinder, gentler" method of crossing the border, and are convinced that they are doing a good deed—helping those who might fall prey to ruthless coyotes otherwise. Before long, their lucrative business venture becomes more complicated and more dangerous than they ever imagined. View Trailer

Monday, April 20

Basic Sanitation (Saneamento Básico, O Filme)
Brazil, 2007, 112 min
Directed by Jorge Furtado

In little Linha Cristal, a community comes together to build a new sewage system to get rid of the bad smell permeating their town. Marina, a leader of the movement, discovers that though the Mayor's office has no funds available this year for public works, it does have funding available for fiction film production. So why not make a film about a monster that emerges from the cesspool? Marina writes the script; her husband Joaquim makes a costume; Silene becomes their actress, and her boyfriend Fabrício has a camera. Before long, everyone in town gets involved in the movie project. View Trailer

Tuesday, April 21

The Window (La Ventana)
Argentina, Spain, 2008, 85 min
Directed by Carlos Sorín

All is as it should be for eighty-year-old Antonio on this last day of his life. The proud, pink hacienda overlooking endless Patagonian fields. The hushed sounds of the women who run the house and take care of him. The occasional visits: his trusted doctor, a worker, a piano tuner… Antonio knows it is a special day. After an absence of many years, his son is coming to visit. All must be perfect. There will be a toast with a very special champagne, an embrace, warm words that will finally bridge the gap between them… But until then, Antonio must wait. View Trailer

Tuesday, April 21

2008 Audience Favorite, Milwaukee Latin American Film Series
The Road to San Diego (El Camino de San Diego)
Argentina, 2006, 94 min
Directed by Carlos Sorín

Tati is poor, unemployed, and perhaps the biggest fan of soccer star, Diego Maradona, in all of Argentina. One day, Tati finds a tree root that looks just like his idol (though not everyone can see the resemblance). When Maradona falls ill, Tati heads for Buenos Aires, to deliver the root. As the nation prays for Diego, Tati travels and makes friends along the way, as if touched by the grace of his mission. Sorín (Director of Intimate Stories and Bombón el Perro) builds his film around many non-professional actors, resulting in a simple road movie about a man following his dream. View Trailer

Wednesday, April 22

The Year My Parents Went on Vacation (O Ano em que Meus Pais Saíram de Férias)
Brazil, 2006, 110 min
Directed by Cao Hamburger

The year is 1970. Twelve-year-old Mauro isn't thinking about the military dictatorship. He's longing for Brazil to win the World Cup yet again. His young, politically active parents go into hiding, dropping Mauro off to stay with his grandfather. But something has happened to the grandfather, and an elderly Jewish neighbor unexpectedly finds himself the boy's caregiver. As Mauro waits for news of his parents, he settles into life in the apartment building, into friendships with a street savvy girl named Hanna and other kids in the neighborhood, the elders of the local synagogue, and with the regulars at the corner lunch counter. View Trailer

Thursday, April 23

In collaboration with the Chicago Latino Film Festival
The Watercolorist (El Acuarelista)
Peru, 2008, 88 min
Directed by Daniel Ró

T., a clerk, has a grand dream of painting a watercolor, but is thwarted by his neighbors, for whom T.'s dream seems sublimely trivial, something impractical, even immoral, and who, of course, have a much better idea of how T. must spend his time. Funny, absurd, and beautifully shot, The Watercolorist is a disquieting metaphor on the ease by which we elude the defense of our most intimate essence and yield the control of our life to others. View Trailer

Thursday, April 23

Co-presented with the Latin American & Caribbean Studies Certificate Program
A Little Bit of So Much Truth (Un Poquito de Tanta Verdad)
Mexico, 2007, 93 min (documentary)
Directed by Jill Irene Freidberg

In the summer of 2006, a broad-based, non-violent, popular uprising exploded in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca. A Little Bit of So Much Truth captures the unprecedented media phenomenon that emerged when tens of thousands of school teachers, housewives, indigenous communities, health workers, farmers, and students took 14 radio stations and one TV station into their own hands, using them to organize, mobilize, and ultimately defend their grassroots struggle for social, cultural, and economic justice. Grand Prize, International Documentary Film Festival 2008, Santiago, Cuba View Trailer

Friday, April 24

Presented in Partnership with Milwaukee Film
The Pope's Toilet (El Baño del Papa)
Uruguay, France, Brazil, 2007, 97 min
Directed by César Charlone and Enrique Fernández

It is 1988, and Melo, a Uruguayan town on the Brazilian border, awaits the visit of Pope John Paul II. The poor townspeople know what this means: 50,000 pilgrims in need of food and drink, paper flags, souvenirs, commemorative medals. Brimming with enthusiasm, the villagers not only hope for divine blessing, but above all for a small share of material happiness. And petty smuggler Beto is certain that he's dreamed up the best business idea of all: he'll build an outhouse in his front yard and charge for its use. Uruguay's Academy Award Submission for Best Foreign Language Film. View Trailer

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