By Hannah Webber
Tomorrow Thursday, April 26 through April 29, the seventh edition of Latin Wave: New Films from Latin America will begin at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. The four-day festival, programmed by Cinema Tropical's Co-Founder Monika Wagenberg, will include eight new Latin American films from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru.
Director Pablo Giorgelli's Las Acacias follows an unlikely trio on their journey from Asunción, Paraguay, to Buenos Aires. Rubén, a surly truck driver, grudgingly transports two illegal immigrants: a young mother and her infant daughter. Along the way, he finds himself increasingly attached to the pair. The Argentine film, whose script won the Coral Award for Best Unpublished Script at the 29th International Festival of New Latin American Cinema, is a quiet observation of the protagonists' interactions.
Also from Argentina, filmmaker Santiago Mitre's El estudiante / The Student which debuted last year at the Buenos Aires Independent Film Festival (BAFICI), is an intriguing, fast-paced look into the Argentine university environment. Roque, a student from the suburbs, arrives in Buenos Aires to study social sciences. He soon meets Paula, a beautiful assistant professor, and is thrust into the world of university politics. Before directing this feature, Mitre wrote Pablo Trapero's Cannes-selected films Leonera and Carancho.
The Argentine/Chilean co-production ¡Vivan las Antípodas! (pictured) asks the question, "If you could dig straight through to the other side of the Earth, where would you end up?" Director, cameraman and editor Victor Kossakovsky, who has received over 100 prizes internationally for his work, creates a visually breathtaking portrait of Earth in his most recent picture. The film, which was screened at this year's South by Southwest festival, examines four sets of antipodes (places that are located at the exact opposite side of the earth from each other).
Chilean director Cristián Jiménez delicately depicts a tragic romance in Bonsái. The film's young protagonists, Julio and Emilia, fall in and out of love. Years after their relationship has ended, Julio, now involved in an awkward affair with his neighbor, decides to write a novel about his romance and youth with Emilia. Jiménez's second feature film is a graceful portrayal of lost love.
From Brazil, Histórias que só existem quando lembradas / Found Memories (pictured) tells the story of a young photographer, Rita, and her experience in Jotuomba, a fictional community in rural Brazil whose residents honor the traditions and land that contain their memories. Director Julia Murat's first feature-length fiction film, Found Memories examines a generational and cultural clash between tradition and modernity.
Fat, Short, and Bald Man (Gordo, calvo y bajito) follows Antonio, the man described in the title, who works in a notary office in Bogota, Colombia. The protagonist of this animated picture is a pitiable middle-aged virgin whose life is rooted in routine. In his first feature film, director Carlos Osuna presents a moving and honest tale of a man's confrontation of his fears and desires.
The Peruvian inclusion in the festival, Bad Intentions (Las malas intenciones), tells the story of Cayetana, an imaginative and isolated nine-year-old girl from a wealthy family living outside of Lima. The film navigates between her daydreams, her experience in a Catholic private school and her home life. Director Rosario García-Montero's coming of age story takes a turn when Cayetana's mother suddenly announces her pregnancy with a new child, and Cayetana declares that she will die the day the baby is born. García-Montero, internationally recognized, was recently named one of Filmmaker Magazine's "25 New Faces of Independent Film."
Lastly, director Gerardo Naranjo's explosive film, Miss Bala (pictured), will also screen at the film festival. Since it first premiered at the Cannes Film Festival last year, the film has sparked discussion and controversy. The picture tells the story of Laura, a beauty pageant contestant who is unwillingly thrust into the world of Mexico's violent drug war. Inspired by a true story, Naranjo explores the transformations Laura and her nation experience after the harrowing events she has lived.