As the summer season is about to kick in, Cinema Tropical recommends six Latin American films that will be getting a U.S. theatrical release in the next three months. Get a respite from the tiring superhero movies and be sure to check out these movies from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Mexico, which have been successfully touring the international film festival, winning numerous awards. These productions are a great example of the revitalized cinema of Latin America, be sure not to miss them on the big screen.
OUR EVIL — Opens May 10
(Mal Nosso, Samuel Galli, Brazil, 2017, 92 min. In Portuguese with English subtitles)
Opens May 10 at select Laemmle Theaters in Los Angeles followed by other cities; Available on VOD on May 14.
An Uncork’d Entertainment / Dark Star Pictures release
Winner Best Director Award, Australia’s A Night of Horror Film Festival , the Brazilian supernatural horror movie Our Evil follows Arthur, a former exorcist and doting father preparing for his only daughter’s foray into college. Hiding a secret from his own past in order to protect her future, Arthur hires Charles, a professional hitman and amateur serial killer, to help him fight a demonic power he believes is coming to destroy his daughter’s soul. Rooted in a new retro score by Brazilian brothers Gustavo and Guilherme Garbato, Our Evil plays with noir motifs and gritty, handheld realism to offer a piercing personal study reminiscent of Lynch’s particular brand of horror. A possible break-out cult hit for fans of foreign scares, Our Evil marks Galli as a promising newcomer to the field.
THE WANDERING SOAP OPERA — Opens May 17
(La telenovela errante, Raúl Ruiz and Valeria Sarmiento, 2017, Chile, 80 min. In Spanish with English subtitles)
Opens May 17 at Anthology Film Archives in New York City, followed by other cities
A Cinema Guild release
Filmed by Chilean master Raúl Ruiz in 1990 but left unfinished until it was completed by his wife and collaborator Valeria Sarmiento in 2017, The Wandering Soap Opera is a dreamily interconnected series of vignettes that spoof on telenovela conventions while reflecting Ruiz's feelings upon returning to his native Chile after more than 15 years away. In one episode, a man seduces a woman by showing her his muscles, which are actually slabs of raw meat slapped into her hand. Later, the man has a gun pulled on him when he accuses a poet of plagiarism. Meanwhile, through the television screen, five women have lost their husbands after an earthquake and embrace a better future together. All along, back and forth across screens, people are watching. Shot in gorgeous Super 16mm and featuring one zany performance after another from a cast having the time of their lives, The Wandering Soap Opera is a glorious sendup of the telenovela, which, at the end of Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship, Ruiz called the very best lens through which to understand "Chilean reality."
TOO LATE TO DIE YOUNG — Opens May 31
(Tarde para morir joven, Dominga Sotomayor, 2018, Chile/Brazil/Argentina/The Netherlands/Qatar, 110 min. In Spanish with English subtitles)
Opens May 31 at Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York City, June 7 at Laemmle Music Hall in Los Angeles, followed by other cities.
A KimStim release
Winner of the Leopard Award for best director—marking the first time for a female filmmaker—the third feature by Dominga Sotomayor is set during the summer of 1990 in Chile. A small group of families lives in an isolated community right below the Andes, building a new world away from the urban excesses, with the emerging the freedom that followed the recent end of the dictatorship. In this time of change and reckoning,16-year-old Sofía and Lucas, and 10-year-old Clara, neighbors in this dry land, struggle with parents, first loves, and fears, as they prepare a big party for New Year’s Eve. They may live far from the dangers of the city, but not from those of nature.
THE CHAMBERMAID — Opens June 26
(La camarista, Lila Avilés, Mexico, 2018, 102 min. In Spanish witn English subtitles)
Opens June 26 at Film Forum in New York City, followed by other cities.
A Kino Lorber release
“A deluxe Mexico City hotel feels like an upscale prison for Eve, a chambermaid whose days are filled with making beds, cleaning bathrooms, and running interference for a panoply of guests demanding special attention. A fiction film that feels uncomfortably real, The Chambermaid posits Eve’s disciplined schedule – beginning her day at 4 a.m. and ending it with a class to fulfill a high school diploma – with the guests’ capricious whims. Lila Avilés’s film takes its inspiration from French artist Sophie Calle’s art project, The Hotel, in which she worked as a chambermaid and photographed objects left behind. Minimal and hyper-realistic, the film leaves the viewer with hope that Eve will not herself become mere detritus.” —Film Forum
ROJO — Opens July 12
(Benjamín Naishtat, Argentina/Belgium/Brazil/Germany/France/Switzerland, 2018, 109 min. In Spanish with English subtitles)
Opens July 12 at the Film Society of Lincoln Center and Quad Cinema in New York City, followed by other cities.
A Distrib Films US release
Winner of the awards for best director, best actor and best cinematography at San Sebastian Film Festival, the third feature by Argentine filmmaker Benjamín Naishtat is set in the mid-seventies in a quiet provincial Argentine city. In a restaurant, without any apparent reason, one strange man starts insulting Claudio, a renowned lawyer. The community supports the lawyer and the stranger is humiliated and thrown out of the place. Later that night the stranger, who is determined to wreak a terrible vengeance, intercepts Claudio and his wife Susana. The lawyer then takes a path of no return involving death, secrets and silences.
LA FLOR — Opens August 2
(Mariano Llinás, Argentina, 2018, 807 min. in four parts)
Opens August 2 at the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York City, followed by other cities.
A Grasshopper Film release
“A decade in the making, Mariano Llinás’s La Flor is an unrepeatable labor of love and madness that redefines the concept of binge viewing. The director himself shows up at the start to preview the six episodes that await, each starring the same four remarkable actresses: Elisa Carricajo, Valeria Correa, Pilar Gamboa, and Laura Paredes. Overflowing with nested subplots and whiplash digressions, La Flor shape-shifts from a B-movie to a musical to a spy thriller to a category-defying metafiction—all of them without endings—to a remake of a very well-known French classic and, finally, to an enigmatic period piece that lacks a beginning (granted, all notions of beginnings and endings become fuzzy after 14 hours). An adventure in scale and duration, La Flor is a wildly entertaining exploration of the possibilities of fiction that lands somewhere close to its outer limits.” —Film Society of Lincoln Center