Films from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Cuba, and Mexico to Premiere at Toronto

Santa & Andrés  by Carlos Lechuga

Santa & Andrés by Carlos Lechuga

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) announced today the complete lineup for its 41st edition taking place September 8-18, with a plethora of productions from Latin America including films from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Cuba, and Mexico. 

Chilean filmmaker Pablo Larraín will present his two most recent films at the  Canadian film festival: Neruda and Jackie. Starring Gael García Bernal, Larraín weaves an engrossing metafictional fable around the 1948 manhunt for celebrated poet and politician Pablo Neruda, who goes underground when Chile outlaws communism and is pursued by an ambitious police inspector hoping to make a name for himself by capturing the famous fugitive.

In Jackie, after US President John F. Kennedy is murdered, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy (played by Natalie Portman) fights through grief and trauma to regain her faith, console her children, and define her husband's historic legacy.

The Mexican film Bellas de noche / Beauties of the Night, the debut feature by María José Cuevas, is the only Latin American production participating in the Documentary section. Eight years in the making, the film is a captivating group portrait of iconic Mexican showgirls, still thriving with grace and style in their ostensible golden years. Their stories speak volumes about what it means to be a no-longer-young woman in a career grounded in physical beauty and erotic appeal.

Having its North American premiere in the Vanguard section is the Mexican film La región salvaje / The Untamed by Amat Escalante, which follows young mother Alejandra who is a working housewife, raising two boys with husband Angel in a small city. Her brother Fabián works as a nurse in a local hospital. Their provincial lives are upset with the arrival of the mysterious Veronica. Sex and love can be fragile in certain regions where strong family values, hypocrisy, homophobia and male chauvinism exist. Veronica convinces them that in the nearby woods, inside an isolated cabin, dwells something not of this world that could be the answer to all of their problems. 

Beauties of the Night  by María José Cuevas

Beauties of the Night by María José Cuevas

The Contemporary World Contemporary section will see the most Latin American productions including two Colombian films. Veteran filmmaker Víctor Gaviria will have the international premiere of La mujer del animal / The Animal's Wife, which tells the story of Amparo, who lands in a marginal neighborhood in Medellín, Colombia where her cousin Libardo forces her to live under his roof with his family. When she becomes his wife, Amparo cannot escape bearing his child. Will she, through love and temperance, survive and save her daughter?

North American premiere of Brazilian film Aquarius by Kleber Mendonça Filho, about Clara (played by Sônia Braga), a 65-year-old widow and retired music critic, who is the last resident of Aquarius, an apartment building in a rapidly changing seaside neighborhood in Recife, Brazil, whose other apartments have been bought by a company with plans for redevelopment. Pressures to move surround Clara from all sides, but she has pledged to leave only upon death.

X Quinientos, the second feature film by Juan Andrés Arango shot in Canada, Colombia, and Mexico, will have its world premiere at Toronto.  Three separate but powerful stories of three teenagers who must come to terms with their new reality when they are forced to migrate to different parts of the Americas after the loss of someone they loved.

Santa & Andrés, Carlos Lechuga's follow up to his acclaimed debut feature Melaza, will have its world premiere. Set in 1983 in a rural mountain region of Oriente, in eastern Cuba, Andrés, a noncompliant gay writer in his 50s, has been blacklisted by the government for having “ideological problems.” When a big event happens, Santa, a local girl is appointed to watch over him. Santa and Andrés are opposites, but what they cannot imagine is that they have more in common than they expected.

The Animal's Wife by Víctor Gaviria

The Animal's Wife by Víctor Gaviria

The Argentinean film Los decentes / A Decent Woman by Austrian-born director Lukas Valenta Rinner follows a housemaid, working in an exclusive gated community in the outskirts of Buenos Aires, who embarks on a journey of sexual and mental liberation in a nudist colony.

And rounding up the Contemporary World Cinema showcase is the world premiere of the Mexican film Tamara and the Ladybug / Tamara y la Catarina by Lucía Carreras. The film traces the journey of two women who have become faded in their loneliness and invisibility. They will have to become closer than they expected, finding in each other a space where rather than being outcasts they feel needed. Despite their misfortunes and circumstance, their shared encounter will help to lighten each other's burden.

Three Argentinean films will be screened in the Wavelengths section of the festival dedicated to productions that challenge the mainstream and seeks to replenish and redefine the art of cinema: Eduardo Williams' El auge del humano / The Human Surge, Matías Piñeiro's Hermia & Helena, and Gastón Solnicki' Kékszakállú.

Winner of this year’s Filmmakers of the Present competition at the Locarno film festival, The Human Surge ingeniously shape-shifting debut, which follows the lives of mostly young men in disparate parts of the world who are bored by (or released from) their jobs and seeking fulfillment elsewhere. In Hermia & Helena, Camila, a young Argentine theater director, travels from Buenos Aires to New York to attend an artistic residency to develop her new project: a Spanish translation of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Upon her arrival, she begins to receive a series of mysterious postcards, which send her down a winding path through her past and towards her future.

Kékszakállú by Gastón Solnicki

Kékszakállú by Gastón Solnicki

Kékszakállú is a portrait of several young women at the threshold of adulthood, feeling their way through various crises born of the insular comforts of class privilege. Obliquely inspired by Béla Bartόk's sole opera Bluebeard's Castle, this film is radically transposed within the alternating milieu of work and repose in Buenos Aires and Punta del Este. 

Wavelengths will also present works by the late Cuban-born artist Ana Mendieta, as well as the short film Há Terra! by Brazilian filmmaker Ana Vaz and Cilaos by Colombian filmmaker Camilo Restrepo.

The documentary film The Rolling Stones Olé Olé Olé!: A Trip Across Latin America by Paul Dugdale features the 2016 tour of the British band through the region, climaxing with their historic concert in Havana, Cuba.  And Werner Herzog's latest film Salt and Fire is a Mexican co-production starring Gael García Bernal and shot at the Uyuni salt flats in Bolivia.

Rounding up Latin America's participation at Toronto is a special 10th anniversary screening of , the Academy Award winning Pan’s Labyrinth by Guillermo del Toro in the festival's Cinematheque section.