The Palme d'Or for the Colombian short Leidi by Simón Mesa is a benchmark for the South American country at the Cannes Film Festival, and marks the third time a Latin American film wins the top prize at the French festival in the short film competition.
The very first Latin American short film to be awarded at the French Riviera was the Brazilian short film Di Cavalcanti by Cinema Novo master Glauber Rocha in 1977. The experimental documentary short, which is about the funeral of Brazilian painter Di Cavalcanti, was awarded with the Special Jury Prize.
Few years later, in 1982, another Brazilian film would repeat with the same Special Jury prize: the animated short film Meow by Marcos Magalhães. In this short film, two people are arguing because of a cat: one of them has some milk to offer to, while the other tries to persuade it to drink dark colored exotic refreshments. In the end, the first person is victorious but discovers that the cat no longer meows in the same language.
It was in 1994 that a Latin American film would win the Palme d'Or for Best Short Film for the first time, the honors went to Carlos Carrera for his animated short film El héroe / The Heroe. In the five minute short, a man watches a girl acting strange in the subway platform. He realizes that she might commit suicide by jumping into the tracks, and tries to stop her, but one never knows where a good deed might take you.
Over a decade later, the short film Primera nieve by Pablo Agüero was awarded the Special Jury Prize in 2006. The film is about a young woman with her child in an isolated hut during a hard winter. She is fighting for their survival. He is fighting to get affection. Driven by their own urgencies, they are unaware they could die before the snow comes.
Just one year later, a Mexican short film would be awarded with the Palme d'Or for the second time. Elisa Miller's Ver llover / Watching It Rain won the top prize in 2007. In the film, two teenagers (played by Diego Cataño and Sofía Espinosa) live in a little Mexican town. Sofia wants to leave. Jonas has to decide whether to stay or leave with her.
Watch Elisa Miller's Ver llover (Mexico, 2006):
Watch Carlos Carrera's El héroe (Mexico, 1994):
Watch Marcos Magalhães' Meow (Brazil, 1981):
Watch Glauber Rocha's Di Cavalcanti (Brazil, 1977, no subtitles):