Beyond the Bodega: Latin Film in New York
Friday, July 23, 2010
Bodega. Queso fresco. Nuyorican. Life in New York is peppered with pieces of Latin culture, whether you can roll your r’s or not. When it comes to the city’s multiplexes though, Latin American films have had a harder time reaching New York audiences.
Marcela Goglio has programmed the Latinbeat festival at the Film Society of Lincoln Center since 1999. Though she feels that Latin American films have gotten more exposure in the past decade, she wishes they reached a wider audience. “I’m really upset that some of these films don’t have a life beyond the two small screenings in a festival,” she says. “Some of them are real jewels.”
The good news for Goglio is that, in the next three months, there are five different festivals hitting New York screens that cover a range of nationalities and film styles coming out of Latin America. Here is a round-up of the upcoming festivals:
In a city where nearly every coffee shop and boutique hotel is piped with bossa nova, audiences may be familiar with the sounds of Brazilian film. The festival is in its last week, but audiences can still catch some classics from the 70’s, like director Carlos Diegues’ Bye Bye Brazil or this year’s documentary about artist Vik Muniz’s portraits made from trash, Waste Land. Check out the trailer below:
11 years ago, founder Calixto Chinchilla thought the festival wouldn’t last more than a year, but in its existence the festival has grown exponentially. This year's 90-plus short films, features and documentaries spotlight Latino culture in the United States as well as films from Latin America. Check out the trailer for Shan Nicholson’s documentary, Downtown Calling, about the mayhem and brilliance of New York in the late 1970’s.
Programmer Marcela Goglio is always looking for gems to put in her annual festival, so you can count on seeing some lesser-known discoveries premiering for the first time in New York. This year’s festival is will bring the first feature film out of Nicaragua in the past 20 years, along with films from seven other Latin American countries. Goglio thinks the Colombian film, Crabtrap, is one of many films from Latin America that explore the identity of little-seen corners of life.
Instituto Cervantes and Cinema Tropical partnered this summer to bring films from various parts of Latin America and Spain to New York audiences. The free Wednesday screenings are well-matched with what’s shaping up to be a searing hot summer. Check out this trailer from the documentary My Life Inside, which captures the struggle of an undocumented Mexican woman with the US legal system. (The trailer might not have subtitles, but the screening on August 4th will!)
Cinema Tropical’s series at the 92Y Tribeca will please brazilophiles old and new, with documentaries about Brazilian musicians paired with live music. August’s documentary about Brazilian singer Maria Bethânia might leave you wanting a big family dinner, but it's okay because the café has food. (But we can't guarantee that Maria Bethânia's brother, Caetano Veloso will show up.)