“Latin America is the region of open veins. Everything from the discovery until our times has always been transmuted into European — or later, United States — capital, and as such has accumulated on distant centers of power.” — Eduardo Galeano, Open Veins of Latin America.
This week the Northwest Film Forum is featuring “Pulsos Latinos: Films from the frontier of Latin American cinema.”
The mini-festival of “insurgent films” from Argentina, Costa Rica, Mexico, Ecuador, Chile, Peru and the U.S. display a wide range of genres and issues that are part of a “transcontinental film movement — both native and diasporic.”
Series like this allow film distribution companies to see that there’s an audience hungry for more independent Latino/a films which offer a a more diverse representation of Latin America.
Here are some of my picks:
Somos Mari Pepa/We Are Mari Pepa
April 19 & 24, Dir: Samuel Kishi Leopo, Mexico
A film about teenagers in the outskirts of Guadalajara, Mexico who start a rock band named Mari Pepa. The film looks to be a descendent by eighties Mexican rock films like un toke de roc/a hit of rock (Dir Sergio Garcia Michel) and Como Ves?/How do you see? (Dir: Paul Leduc). It’s definitely a film for young Latino/as to watch!
Por Las Plumas/All About the Feathers
April 22 & 23, Dir: Neta Villalobos, Costa Rica
Thanks to high production costs and a government more focused on funding eco-tourism, it’s rare to see Costa Rican films screen in the U.S. One of the reasons we have the opportunity to see Por Las Plumas is because of its crowd-source funding through IndieGoGo.
The other reason is that it’s a funny, quirky and humble film about Chalo a skinny loner security-guard finds friendships in unanticipated and humorous situations. He’s determined to acquire a fighting rooster from a local grocery owner, which leads to meeting a friendly maid (and Avon sells person), his peculiar co-worker and bible reader whose every other word is “mae” (dude), and the nice chubby teenager who asks Chalo about girls and training tips for roosters. Villalobos directs a cast that makes you feel like you’re in Costa Rica, with plenty of natural laughs.
El Verano de los Peces Voladores /Summer of Flying Fish
April 20 & 23, Dir: Marcela Said, Chile
This is Said’s first narrative film, having previously made documentaries about Pinchot regime, this film focuses on Chile’s upper class and indigenous Mapuche community. Peces focuses on Manena, daughter of a wealthy landowner, becoming conscious of the turmoil and injustice that surrounds her.
The film uses invasive species like the carp and flying fish as metaphors for Chileans of European descendant. Alexander Zekkes score creates an atmosphere of tension between different world views, integrity and sense of bewilderment. Pedro, the young Mapuche worker, is shown not as a stereotypical representative of his community, but a multidimensional character who carries the baggage of hundreds of years of oppression.
Purgatorio: A Journey Into the Heart of the Border
April 25, Dir: Rodrigo Reyes, Mexico/USA
Purgatorio is probably the most important film in the series. Rodrigo Reyes’ poetic and metaphorical documentary about the U.S./Mexico border focuses on the lives and journeys of people whose future is undefined, through terrain characterized by man made boundaries. With the current attention on the Northwest Detention Center’s unjust practices, and leading up to a May Day (Labor Day) march that will have a focus on immigration, seats for this single screening will definitely fill quickly.
Pulsos Latinos opening night is tonight (Friday, April 18). The opening film is Mejor No Hablar de Ciertas Cosas/Porcelain Horse (Dir: Javier Andrade, Ecuador) a dark dramtic comedy about two brothers, drugs and class privilege. Stay after the film for an open bar, a live DJ set and time for dialogue.