Chicago Latino Film Festival | Festival | Chicago Reader

Arts & Culture » Festival

Chicago Latino Film Festival

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

comment

The 21st Chicago Latino Film Festival runs Friday, April 8, through Thursday, April 21, at the Beverly Arts Center; Chicago State Univ., 9501 S. King Dr.; Columbia College Ludington Bldg.; Dominican Univ., 7900 W. Division; Facets Cinematheque; Pipers Alley; Landmark's Century Centre; Malcolm X College, 1900 W. Van Buren; Moraine Valley Community College, 10900 S. 88th Ave., Palos Hills; Northwestern Univ. Thorne Auditorium, 375 E. Chicago; Richard J. Daley College, 7500 S. Pulaski; St. Xavier Univ. McGuire Hall; and University of Illinois at Chicago, Student Center East, 750 S. Halsted. Unless otherwise noted, tickets are $10, $9 for students, seniors, and the disabled, and $8 for members of the School of the Art Institute, the Gene Siskel Film Center, or the International Latino Cultural Center. A festival pass, good for ten shows excluding special events, is available for $80, $70 for ILCC members. For more information call 312-409-1757. Following are listings through Thursday, April 14; a full festival schedule is available online at www.chicagoreader.com. Unless otherwise noted, all films are in Spanish with subtitles.

FRIDAY 8

R Boricua

This colorful, energetic film, the debut of writer-director Marisol Torres, is a frank, affectionate look at Chicago's Puerto Rican community in Humboldt Park, spotlighting four young adults but featuring a host of memorable characters as well. Torres displays effective attention to details about fashion, street slang, food, and music, and her comedy-drama also benefits from a number of first-rate performances. Most of the characters are grappling with issues of assimilation, although there's a hilarious subplot involving a white girl passing for Puerto Rican who develops an obsession with becoming queen of the Puerto Rican Independence Day parade. On a darker note, one young man is compelled to betray his community in order to save his job at a real estate development company, with tragic results. With Eric Aviles, Ramses Jimenez, Aimee Garcia, and Christina De Leon. In English and subtitled Spanish. 108 min. (JK) (St. Xavier Univ. McGuire Hall, 2 and 7 PM)

Bye Bye Brazil

Carlos Diegues's allegorical travelogue (1979) about a Brazil that is vanishing before the camera's eye. A small carnival troupe tours the interior, finding most of its regular stops spoiled by encroaching industrialization. There's something a little thin and easy in using the omnipresence of television and disco music as the ultimate image of modern corruption, but Diegues, to his credit, avoids the expected sentimental plop for traditional values at the end and stirs some more complex feelings. Jose Wilker is entertainingly mock satanic as the troupe leader, though Fabio Junior and Zaira Zambelli, as the two innocents he brings along for the ride, are rather cloying. Still, the scenery is wonderfully seductive in Lauro Escorel Filho's cinematography. With Betty Faria and Principe Nabor. (DK) (Pipers Alley, 7 PM)

Love by Mistake

Set in Havana, this romantic comedy by veteran writer-director Gerardo Cijona is a revealing glimpse of celebrity in Cuba. Luis Alberto Garcia stars as a vain, philandering novelist on the brink of international acclaim; stunned by his young daughter's engagement to a man ten years older than he is, he caroms from his wife to his mistress in a state of inconsolable self-pity. The first half is inspired, as Cijona sets up the antic plot complications, but the second half is more rote. With Susana Perez and Beatriz Valdez. 90 min. (JK) (Pipers Alley, 7 PM)

La migra

A Mexican-American attorney in the Phoenix public defender's office must represent a border-patrol officer accused of shooting a boy in the back. Chicago filmmaker Juan J. Frausto (Once Upon a Time in the Hood) directed. 93 min. (Landmark's Century Centre, 7 PM)

Cachimba

A banker fights to preserve the work of obscure artists in this Spanish-Chilean-Argentinean coproduction. Director Silvio Caiozzi will attend the screening, part of the festival's opening-night gala. Tickets are $20, $15 for ILCC members. (Northwestern Univ. Thorne Auditorium, 8 PM)

Under the Radar: An Afro-Cuban Music Documentary

American jazz musician J. Plunky Branch visits Cuba to sample the local sounds in this 2004 documentary. 85 min. (Landmark's Century Centre, 9 PM)

SATURDAY 9

Student segment

Short works by young local artists, culled from the Latino Art Beat Video and Animation Competition and from Columbia College's Latino film festival. (Facets Cinematheque, 4 PM)

Latino Concentrate--The Best Shorts of the Latin World

A dozen shorts from Argentina, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Guatemala, Venezuela, and the U.S. 92 min. (Facets Cinematheque, 5 PM)

Fuera de juego

A teenage boy in Ecuador dreams of moving to Spain in this 2002 drama directed by Victor Arregui. 88 min. (Pipers Alley, 5:30 PM)

The King

Antonio Dorado directed this 2004 Colombian feature about a small-business owner who gets involved in the drug trade. 92 min. (Pipers Alley, 5:45 PM)

Desamores

A private detective looks into the murder of a married couple and their employees at a Puerto Rican travel agency. Edmundo H. Rodriguez directed this 2004 feature. 107 min. (Landmark's Century Centre, 6 PM)

Student segment

See listing for this date above. (Facets Cinematheque, 6 PM)

Shorts program 1

Two documentaries: Holly Mosher's Hummingbird (2004, 48 min.), about a nonprofit social agency in Recife, Brazil, and Mercedes Jimenez-Ramirez's Palomos: Hijos de la calle (2003, 20 min.), about street children in the Dominican Republic. (Facets Cinematheque, 7 PM)

Tuna and Chocolate

Popular Spanish comedian Pablo Carbonell makes his directing debut with this droll, unforced comedy about life in an impoverished fishing village, playing an atheist whose worldview is severely tested when his young son, born out of wedlock, decides to take first communion. Strongly influenced by French directors Jean Renoir and Marcel Pagnol, whose comedy was grounded in social commentary, Carbonell finds his own voice in observing class and culture. The thrust of the story involves the destitute fisherman's attempts to steal a tuna for his wedding feast, with zany results. 100 min. (JK) (Pipers Alley, 8 PM)

Summer Clouds

A married couple, vacationing in a resort town, are harassed by a man and his female cousin, each of whom has romantic designs on one of the spouses. Felipe Vega directed this 2004 Spanish feature. 100 min. (Pipers Alley, 8:15 PM)

God's Gift

Once childhood friends, two men clash with one another in a poor Mexico City neighborhood. Fermin Gomez L. directed. (Landmark's Century Centre, 8:30 PM)

The Rock: Galapagos in World War II

This Ecuadoran documentary (2004) examines a curious chapter in maritime history, when the U.S. Navy, reacting to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, hoped to protect the Panama Canal by establishing a base on the stony Galapagos island of Baltra. The outpost never came under enemy fire, and although thousands of U.S. soldiers traveled to "the Rock," less than a dozen show up for the reunion that occasioned this video. During the war a few servicemen died in training accidents, and their skeletal remains, discovered by locals, are an eerie echo of the animal bones that littered the archipelago during the 19th century, when Darwin was researching his theory of natural selection. Nicolas Cornejo directed. In English and subtitled Spanish. 53 min. (AG) Also on the program: Mateo Herrera's hour-long Ecuadoran drama Threat (2003). (Facets Cinematheque, 9 PM)

Love by Mistake

See listing for Fri 4/8. (Pipers Alley, 10:30 PM)

Captive

A teenage girl learns that she was illegally adopted and that her real parents were executed during Argentina's "dirty war." Gaston Biraben directed this 2003 drama. 114 min. (Pipers Alley, 10:45 PM)

No Way Out

This 2004 drama by Nicolas Tuozzo is set against the privatization of the state-run railroad in Argentina, as laid-off rail workers struggle to survive. 110 min. (Landmark's Century Centre, 10:45 PM)

SUNDAY 10

Shorts program 2

Two documentaries from 2004: Alejandro Rossi Velasco's Lima Was (56 min.) and Ricardo Braojos and Eugene Rodriguez's Pasajero, a Journey of Time and Memory (57 min.). (St. Xavier Univ. McGuire Hall, 2:00 PM)

Student segment

See listing for Sat 4/9. (Facets Cinematheque, 4 PM)

Under the Radar: An Afro-Cuban Music Documentary

See listing for Fri 4/8. (Landmark's Century Centre, 4:30 PM)

Love by Mistake

See listing for Fri 4/8. (Pipers Alley, 5 PM)

Shorts program 3

Two documentaries from 2004: Miguel Angel Mieto's Dali, the True Story of the Fakes (2004, 52 min.) and Judith Grey's Nevertheless (49 min.). (Facets Cinematheque, 5 PM)

Student segment

See listing for Sat 4/9. (Facets Cinematheque, 6 PM)

Captive

See listing for Sat 4/9. (Pipers Alley, 6:30 PM)

The Bulls of Suburbia

Alex LeMay directed this 2004 documentary about his quest to become a bullfighter. 79 min. (Landmark's Century Centre, 6:45 PM)

Latino Concentrate--The Best Shorts of the Latin World

See listing for Sat 4/9. (Facets Cinematheque, 7 PM)

Dot and Line

Elia K. Schneider directed this 2004 feature from Venezuela, about two friends stationed at the Colombian-Venezuelan border. 105 min. (Pipers Alley, 7:30 PM)

Cold Winter Sun

This 2003 Spanish feature by Pablo Malo traces the friendship between a young man and a teenager, both inmates in a mental asylum. 100 min. (Pipers Alley, 9 PM)

The Rock: Galapagos in World War II

See listing for Sat 4/9. (Facets Cinematheque, 9 PM)

To Kill a Killer

A Mexican hit man relocates to Chicago with his wife and daughter after a job goes wrong. Ricardo Islas directed this 2004 feature. 94 min. (Landmark's Century Centre, 9 PM)

Tuna and Chocolate

See listing for Sat 4/9. (Pipers Alley, 10 PM)

MONDAY 11

Adelante muchachas!

This hour-long 2004 documentary by Erika Harzer looks at a girls' soccer team in Honduras. Also on the program: Hernan Jimenez's 42-minute Costa Rican documentary Lock, Chains, and a City (2004). (University of Illinois at Chicago, Student Center East, noon and 4:30 PM)

Take My Eyes

Iciar Bollain directed this Spanish feature (2003, 106 min.) about a troubled marriage, screening as part of the festival's "Night of Spain." Tickets are $30, $25 for members of Instituto Cervantes or ILCC, and include admission to a postscreening sangria party with buffet. (Pipers Alley, 6 PM)

The King

See listing for Sat 4/9. (Pipers Alley, 6:30 PM)

The Latin Legends of Comedy

J.J. Ramirez, Angel Salazar, and Joe Vega are among the stand-up comedians featured in this 2004 concert film. Ray Ellin directed. 92 min. (Facets Cinematheque, 6:30 PM)

Desamores

See listing for Sat 4/9. (Landmark's Century Centre, 6:45 PM)

Fuero de juego

See listing for Sat 4/9. (Pipers Alley, 8:45 PM)

No Way Out

See listing for Sat 4/9. (Landmark's Century Centre, 9 PM)

Shorts program 1

See listing for Sat 4/9. (Facets Cinematheque, 9 PM)

Summer Clouds

See listing for Sat 4/9. (Pipers Alley, 9 PM)

TUESDAY 12

The Rock: Galapagos in World War II

See listing for Sat 4/9. (University of Illinois at Chicago, Student Center East, noon and 4:30 PM)

Machuca

Two 11-year-old boys, one privileged and the other poor, become friends while attending a religious school in Santiago. Andres Wood directed this 2004 drama from Chile. 121 min. (Pipers Alley, 6 PM)

La Fabri-K: The Cuban Hip-Hop Factory

Miami director Lisandro Perez-Rey presents a lively portrait of the Cuban hip-hop collective Fabri-K (the factory) while providing a broader view of the genre's ascendance from forbidden activity to state-embraced art form. He follows two socially charged groups, Obsesion and Doble Filo, on a visit to the U.S., capturing their disillusionment at the commercialism of American hip-hop before they go on to find kindred spirits in New York and Philadelphia, performing at the Apollo Theater and meeting heavies Afrika Bambaataa and the Roots. There's a dramatic turn when one of Doble Filo's MCs is denied a visa and he encourages the others to go on without him, but considering the Bush administration's subsequent clampdown on all visiting Cubans, it's a miracle that any of them got in. 62 min. (Peter Margasak) Also screening: All Roads Lead to the Sea (2004, 57 min.), Sarah Teitler's documentary about Havana. (Moraine Valley Community College, 6:30 PM)

Cold Winter Sun

See listing for Sun 4/10. (Pipers Alley, 7 PM)

God's Gift

See listing for Sat 4/9. (Landmark's Century Centre, 7 PM)

Maria Escobar

Two young women from the countryside move to Asuncion to work as maids in this 2002 Paraguayan feature. Galia Gimenez directed. 90 min. (Facets Cinematheque, 7 PM)

A Silent Love

A middle-aged Canadian man arrives in Mexico to court a young woman he's been corresponding with, but she's unwilling to leave the country without her mother. Federico Hidalgo directed this 2003 Mexican feature. 100 min. (Dominican Univ., 7 PM)

Adelante muchachas!

See listing for Mon 4/11. (Beverly Arts Center, 7:30 PM)

Dot and Line

See listing for Sun 4/10. (Pipers Alley, 9 PM)

Girls From ABC

This 2003 Brazilian melodrama is more mainstream than the others I've seen by director Carlos Reichenbach (Suburban Angels, Buccaneer Soul, Two Streams), but his visual flair is still very much in evidence. Set in ABC--three suburban outposts that border Sao Paolo--it focuses on the racially mixed working class, chiefly the young women who work the looms in a textile factory and the young toughs who hang out in a cafe pool hall. Racist attitudes and efforts to unionize the factory are highlighted, along with bouts of hot sex, violence, and singing and dancing at a local club. In Portuguese with subtitles. 125 min. (JR) (Landmark's Century Centre, 9 PM)

La Fabri-K: The Cuban Hip-Hop Factory

See listing for this date above. (Facets Cinematheque, 9 PM)

Where All Roads End

Carlos Garcia Agraz directed this 2004 Guatemalan feature about a white doctor who arrives in a small town and violates a racial taboo by falling in love with an Indian woman. 82 min. (Pipers Alley, 9 PM)

La Fabri-K: The Cuban Hip-Hop Factory

See listing this date above. (Moraine Valley Community College, 9:30 PM)

WEDNESDAY 13

Jesus the Driver

A Mexican day laborer gets mixed up with criminals in this 2004 feature by Bradley Battersby. In English. (University of Illinois at Chicago, Student Center East, noon)

Shorts program 2

See listing for Sun 4/10. (Chicago State Univ., noon)

Jesus the Driver

See listing for this date above. (University of Illinois at Chicago, Student Center East, 4:30 PM)

Student segment

See listing for Sat 4/9. (Columbia College Ludington Bldg., 5:30 PM)

Little Sky

A young man hires on as a farmhand in an Argentinean village but finds himself drawn into his employers' violent domestic situation. Maria Victoria Menis directed this 2004 feature. 93 min. (Pipers Alley, 6:45 PM)

The Way to a Man's Heart

A young woman sets out to meet her hero, a TV chef, in this 2003 Mexican romantic comedy. Luis Velez directed. (Landmark's Century Centre, 6:45 PM)

The Latin Legends of Comedy

See listing for Mon 4/11. (Facets Cinematheque, 7 PM)

Suite Habana

Fernando Perez follows the lives of ten ordinary Cubans in this 2003 documentary. 80 min. (Pipers Alley, 7 PM)

The Rock: Galapagos in World War II

See listing for Sat 4/9. (Beverly Arts Center, 7:30 PM)

Love for Rent

This romantic comedy takes the more-is-more approach, throwing in every plot cliche in the book. A Colombian woman has married for a green card so she can attend law school (now there's an ethical lawyer), but her jerk of a husband takes everything, leaving her broke. In a single day, she meets cute with a flirtatious doctor and agrees to be a surrogate mother for $50,000. Throw in the abused foster kid next door, and all that's missing is a sing-along number--oh wait, there's one of those too. It's impossible to care about these walking plot devices, and Shane Edelman's wobbly direction doesn't help. In English. R, 90 min. (HSa) (Pipers Alley, 9 PM)

R The Supreme Uneasiness: Incessant Portrait of Fernando Vallejo

Finally, a documentary that makes the writing process as fascinating as the profiled writer--in this case Fernando Vallejo, an openly homosexual novelist, filmmaker, and political provocateur who abandoned his native Colombia for Mexico in 1971 but was little known outside Latin America until the publication of his novel Our Lady of the Assassins. His conversations with director Luis Ospina for this 2003 video range from the death of Colombian society to the intrinsic honesty of the first person to the crime of bringing children into a violent world. A relentless critic, Vallejo spares neither himself nor others, dismissing Gabriel Garcia Marquez as a facile scribbler and fearlessly denouncing statesmen who cooperate with drug cartels. 93 min. (AG) (Facets Cinematheque, 9 PM)

Take My Eyes

See listing for Mon 4/11. (Pipers Alley, 9 PM)

R Wetback: The Undocumented Documentary

Canadian director Arturo Perez Torres traveled the length of the continent to put human faces on the thorny issue of illegal immigration from Central America to the U.S., a phenomenon that endangers the lives of an estimated 3,000 people every day. Workers fleeing impoverished Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala face threats at every border crossing but especially in Mexico, where they're menaced by corrupt cops, violent gangs, and speeding trains. The problem has worsened since the 2001 enactment of President Vicente Fox's Plan Sur, which furthers Mexico's economic interests in the north by expelling immigrants from the south before they reach the Rio Grande. With his lucid, measured exposition, Perez Torres has crafted a riveting documentary (2004) about the socioeconomic upheavals that send wave after wave of refugees over the border. In English and subtitled Spanish. 93 min. (AG) (Landmark's Century Centre, 9 PM)

THURSDAY 14

Mission Movie

Lise Swenson's 2004 feature examines the lives of five people dwelling in San Francisco's Mission district. In English and subtitled Spanish. 95 min. (University of Illinois at Chicago, Student Center East, noon)

Under the Radar: An Afro-Cuban Music Documentary

See listing for Fri 4/8. (Richard J. Daley College, 12:30 PM)

Carnivals of the Caribbean

This 2004 documentary looks at carnival festivities in Trinidad, Martinique, and its native Puerto Rico. Sonia Fritz directed. 60 min. (Malcolm X College, 1:30 PM)

Mission Movie

See listing for this date above. (University of Illinois at Chicago, Student Center East, 4:30 PM)

Machuca

See listing for Tue 4/12. (Pipers Alley, 6 PM)

La Fabri-K: The Cuban Hip-Hop Factory

See listing for Tue 4/12. (Landmark's Century Centre, 6:30 PM)

Caribe

A Costa Rican farmer risks his business to protest an oil-drilling project by a multinational corporation in this 2004 drama. Esteban Ramirez directed. 90 min. (Pipers Alley, 6:45 PM)

The Bulls of Suburbia

See listing for Sun 4/10. (Facets Cinematheque, 7 PM)

Carnivals of the Caribbean

See listing for this date above. (Malcolm X College, 7 PM)

The Rock: Galapagos in World War II

See listing for Sat 4/9. (Richard J. Daley College, 7 PM)

La Fabri-K: An Afro-Cuban Music Documentary

See listing for Tue 4/12. No short will accompany this screening. (Beverly Arts Center, 7:30 PM)

Shorts program 2

See listing for Sun 4/10. (Facets Cinematheque, 9 PM)

Your Next Life

After a farmer kills his neighbor, the victim's son becomes romantically involved with the murderer's daughter. Manuel Gutierrez Aragon directed this 2003 Spanish drama. 100 min. (Pipers Alley, 9 PM)

Girls From ABC

See listing for Tue 4/12. (Landmark's Century Centre, 9 PM)

Jesus' Heart

From Bolivia comes a black comedy (2003) about a petty bureaucrat who finds it's easier to cheat death than the insurance collectors. Middle-aged Jesus Martinez suffers a heart attack on the job, but upon recovery his problems mushroom when his wife, having made peace with the idea of his passing, clears out their bank account and leaves him. When he's presented with a medical bill eight times his salary, he's desperate to cash in on benefits denied him on a technicality, so he impersonates another Jesus Martinez, this one a young man anguishing from a brain tumor. The elder Jesus's battle with the medical establishment ironically adds zest and purpose to a drab existence. Marcos Loayza directed. 88 min. (AG) (Pipers Alley, 9 PM)

Add a comment