Tropical Tuesdays Presents 'The South Trembles'

By Jerónimo Rodríguez

As Cinema Tropical launches its new weekly film series Tropical Tuesdays this May at Obra Negra/Casa Mezcal in downtown Manhattan, we publish here the notes on the first program 'The South Trembles' which was curated by film critic Jerónimo Rodríguez.

Cinema is capable of shaking up, reinventing, or jolting the way we perceive reality. The Southern Cone's restless past, unsettled present, and even its uncertain future could be defined and redefined by these curious and bold filmmakers. The films included in this series are in one sense narratively daring, some subverting easy classification, or simply, they successfully capture striking moments of rupture, social change, marginality and vanguard.

The first program is Under Construction (The Place Where I Was Born No Longer Exists). Ignacio Aguero's dazzling documentary captures complex moments of transformation in Chilean society through the life of one disappearing neighborhood in Santiago, Chile at the end of the 20th Century as it makes way for new urban development. This piece is accompanied by Home, by visual artist Gianfranco Foschino, a single-take video that portrays another vanishing way of life - Chilean rural living and how it operates.

The second presentation is Hermes Paralluelo’s Yatasto (pictured left), an arresting documentary about a group of boys known as cartoneros, who pick up cardboard for a living on the outskirts of Cordoba, Argentina. Without employing clichés or imposing judgments, this film offers a restrained look at their work and lives, but above all, is a rigorous cinematic immersion into the moving and unique world that unfolds.

The next program pairs two of the most formally daring filmmakers of the Southern Cone:  Argentine Mauro Andrizzi and Chilean José Luis Torres Leiva. Andrizzi's In the Future gathers a visually stunning series of vignettes that speak of sentimental experiences and the expectations that love creates. The film is accompanied by the short, Imperfect Copy, a tribute by Torres Leiva to an agitator in cinema and a true great, the late Chilean filmmaker Raúl Ruiz.

The final two programs will show two sophisticated documentaries that register the work of two radical musical visionaries in Argentina and Chile. Süden, from the talented filmmaker Gaston Solnicki, describes Mauricio Kagel's return to Buenos Aires, an extraordinary Argentinean avant-garde composer who lived much of his life in Germany. Sergio Castro’s haunting Electrodomésticos: Cold Mystery gives insights into the legendary Electrodomésticos and the band's emergence in the second half of the 80s during Chile's suffocating military dictatorship. Süden will be preceded by shorts inspired by music and directed by Martín Rejtman and Solnicki. Along with Electrodomésticos: Cold Mystery, a screening of The Sad Punk, by celebrated artist Mario Navarro, an art video that records the ashes of the anti-dictatorship, underground cultural scene in 1980s Chile.

Click here for the complete lineup and more information.

Jerónimo Rodríguez is a film critic that currently works as a host/critic on the prestigious film review television program, Toma 1, on NY1 Noticias, in New York City. He also contributes as a film columnist for various publications, including People Magazine en Español and the website El Nuevo Canon. In addition he collaborated with the script of the feature film Huacho, which was selected at Cannes 2009 Critics’ Week, and the Toronto International Film Festival and won several awards and funds, including the Sundance Film Festival/NHK International Filmmakers Award. He also edited the feature Sentados frente al fuego (By the Fire) which premiered last year in the official selection of San Sebastian Film Festival.