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The 21st Chicago Latino Film Festival continues Friday through Thursday, April 15 through 21, at Chicago State Univ., 9501 S. King Dr.; Dominican Univ., 7900 W. Division, River Forest; Facets Cinematheque; Pipers Alley; Landmark's Century Centre; Morton College, 3801 S. Central, Cicero; North Park Univ., 3225 W. Foster; Northwestern Univ. Thorne Auditorium; Richard J. Daley College, 7500 S. Pulaski; River East 21; St. Xavier Univ. McGuire Hall; and Univ. 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. Unless otherwise noted, all films are in English and/or subtitled Spanish.

FRIDAY 15

R Boricua

This colorful, energetic film (2004), 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 supporting characters as well. Torres pays close attention to 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 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 Eric Aviles, Ramses Jimenez, Aimee Garcia, and Christina De Leon. 108 min. (JK) (Univ. of Illinois at Chicago Student Center East, noon)

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. (St. Xavier Univ. McGuire Hall, 2 PM)

R Boricua

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

Sex, Love & Betrayal

Saucy but not really erotic, Jorge Fernando's 2003 Brazilian remake of a 1999 Mexican romantic comedy retains the characters and basic plot of the original, as two neighboring couples find their marital difficulties complicated by the reappearance of old flames. The neglected wives are lovely and articulate, the self-absorbed men range from smoldering to boyish, and just about everyone has a great body (including a nosy mother-in-law). But the story never rises above the level of hyperattenuated escapism: fast, slick, and empty. Among the production companies is 20th Century Fox, which may explain why this feels like a Hollywood movie even though it's in Portuguese (with subtitles). 90 min. (AG) (Pipers Alley, 6 PM)

Where All Roads End

Carlos Garcia Agraz directed this 2004 Guatemalan feature about a white doctor who arrives in a small town and falls in love with an Indian woman. 82 min. (Pipers Alley, 6 PM)

Freedom Flight

A plane full of Cuban refugees sets off for Miami but discovers in midair that the pilot is incompetent. Frank Quetglas directed this 2004 comedy, a U.S.-Cuban coproduction. 80 min. (Landmark's Century Centre, 6:30 PM)

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). (St. Xavier Univ. McGuire Hall, 7 PM)

Carnivals of the Caribbean

This 2004 documentary looks at carnival festivities in Trinidad, Martinique, and Puerto Rico. Sonia Fritz directed. 60 min. Also on the program: Mario Contreras's Freedom Ride (2003, 36 min.). (Richard J. Daley College, 7 PM)

Maria Escobar

See listing this date above. (Facets Cinematheque, 7 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. 100 min. (Landmark's Century Centre, 8:30 PM)

Worthy to Her Final Breath

Felipe Cazals directed this 2004 Mexican docudrama about Digna Ochoa y Placido, a civil rights lawyer murdered in her home. 117 min. (Pipers Alley, 8:30 PM)

The Art of Losing

A journalist in Bogota is confronted with official corruption as he tries to solve a murder. Sergio Cabrera directed this 2004 Spanish-Colombian coproduction. 105 min. (Pipers Alley, 8:45 PM)

Mission Movie

Lise Swenson means well with this 2004 drama, a love letter to San Francisco's colorful Mission district, but its earnest tone is more suited to a civics lesson. The action centers on a local mural competition and the area's increasing gentrification, as singles and families cope with their ethnic differences, yet the conflicts have surprisingly few painful consequences. Blame it on the lax editing, which underscores the amateurish acting, or on Swenson's simplistic politics, which divide the characters into virtuous poor and clueless yuppies, but the movie suffers from a retro feel not in keeping with the district's vitality. 95 min. (AG) (Facets Cinematheque, 9 PM)

Love for Rent

This cliched romantic comedy takes the more-is-more approach. A Colombian woman in the U.S. has gotten married for the green card she needs to attend law school, but her abrasive husband absconds with all her money. In a single day she meets 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--wait, there's one of those too. It's impossible to care about these walking plot devices. R, 90 min. (HSa) (Pipers Alley, 10:45 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, an extensive crackdown on immigration from the south. 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. 93 min. (AG) (Landmark's Century Centre, 10:45 PM)

Suite Habana

Fernando Perez follows the lives of ten ordinary Cubans in this 2003 documentary. 80 min. (Pipers Alley, 11 PM)

SATURDAY 16

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)

Shorts program one

Three documentaries: from Brazil, Mari Correa and Vincent Carelli's From the Ikpeng Children to the World (2002), and from the U.S., John Kaufman's Floating Market (2003) and John Moreno's A Better Tomorrow. 111 min. (Facets Cinematheque, 5 PM)

1809-1810 Before Dawn

Camilo Luzuriaga directed this historical drama (2004) from Ecuador. 100 min. (Landmark's Century Centre, 6 PM)

Little Sky

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

Student segment

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

Without Amparo

A hidebound industrialist survives a car accident that kills his wife and is shocked to find flowers turning up regularly at her gravesite. After tracing them to her bohemian lover, he decides to murder the man, botches the job, and then affixes himself to the man in a desperate attempt to understand his late wife. Jaime Osorio, who directed and cowrote this Colombian feature, shows the husband gradually unraveling as he becomes obsessed with the memory of a woman he realizes he never really knew. The story supplies a series of sharp, surprising turns, and, at a brisk 80 minutes, never flags. With German Jaramillo, Ruddy Rodriguez, and Luis Fernando Hoyos. (JK) (Pipers Alley, 6 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 gay 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 first-person narrative 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, 7 PM)

R The Magician

In this 2004 drama about love lost and regained, Tadeo (Erando Gonzalez), a once great photographer, now ekes out a living as a street magician in Mexico City with his blind sidekick Felix (Gustavo Munoz), a drug dealer. After Tadeo begins having visions of people from his past who have died, he decides to reconcile with those he has wronged, especially his bewitching ex-wife (Maya Zapata). First-time director Jaime Aparicio elicits nuanced performances from his fine cast, and cinematographer Diego Arizmendi infuses the gritty surroundings--even the ruined shell of a dope den--with a sad beauty. 98 min. (AG) Aparicio will attend the screening, part of the festival's "Noche Mexicana." Tickets are $20, $15 for ILCC members. (Northwestern Univ. Thorne Auditorium, 8 PM)

Caribe

A Costa Rican farmer risks his business to protest an oil-drilling project in this 2004 drama. Esteban Ramirez directed. 90 min. (Pipers Alley, 8:30 PM)

Jesus' Heart

A black comedy (2003) from Bolivia about a petty bureaucrat who finds it's easier to cheat death than insurance collectors. Middle-aged Jesus Martinez suffers a heart attack on the job, but upon his recovery his wife 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 languishing 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, 8:30 PM)

Childhood Friends

Argentine actor-director Mariano Argento's debut feature (2004) concerns three old friends "battered by life." 108 min. (Landmark's Century Centre, 8:45 PM)

R Boricua

See listing for Fri 4/15. (Facets Cinematheque, 9 PM)

Coca Leaf

A peasant is torn between two men, one a coca dealer, the other a poet, in this Peruvian feature (2004, 75 min.) directed by Marianne Eyde. (Pipers Alley, 10:45 PM)

Orpheus

Orpheus is reimagined as a pop star and carnival king in Brazilian director Carlos Diegues's 1999 update of the myth. In Portuguese with subtitles. 110 min. (Pipers Alley, 10:45 PM)

Freedom Flight

See listing for Fri 4/15. (Landmark's Century Centre, 11 PM)

SUNDAY 17

Adelante muchachas!

See listing for Fri 4/15. (North Park Univ., 3 PM)

Student segment

See listing for Sat 4/16. (Facets Cinematheque, 4 PM)

An Everyday Tale

Puerto Rican director Sonia Fritz's 2004 drama looks at a couple whose lives are altered when an old friend thought to have been killed in Vietnam returns to their small coastal town. 90 min. (Landmark's Century Centre, 5 PM)

The Robbery

A cop is put in charge of an investigation into a payroll heist he himself committed in this 2004 Bolivian film directed by Paolo Agazzi. 126 min. (Pipers Alley, 5 PM)

Shorts program one

See listing for Sat 4/16. (Facets Cinematheque, 5 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, 5:30 PM)

Student segment

See listing for Sat 4/16. (Facets Cinematheque, 6 PM)

R Buenos Aires 100km

The title refers to the distance separating five teenage boys from Argentina's capital, though from their perspective it's a world away. In making a film about bored, restless kids at odds with their environment, writer-director Pablo Jose Meza travels some pretty familiar territory, but this 2004 feature is enlivened by his gifts of observation. Inevitably some of the narrative deals with the raging hormones of adolescent boys, yet Meza also captures the cadences and attitudes of these alternately indifferent and overstimulated kids as they glimpse impending adulthood during a long, hot summer. 93 min. (JK) (Landmark's Century Centre, 7 PM)

Mission Movie

See listing for Fri 4/15. (Facets Cinematheque, 7 PM)

The Art of Losing

See listing for Fri 4/15. (Pipers Alley, 7:45 PM)

Sex, Love & Betrayal

See listing for Fri 4/15. (Pipers Alley, 7:45 PM)

Jesus the Driver

A Mexican day laborer in southern California gets mixed up with two redneck outlaws who hire him as a driver in this 2004 feature by Bradley Battersby. Jesus is the sort of saintly idiot often found in satires: he doesn't understand for an alarmingly long time that they're committing crimes, and once he does he seems incapable of action. All he wants is to go home to his girlfriend, though he's prevented from doing so by the media hype around the trio's "crime wave." The movie is hampered by the protagonist's stupid passivity and by Battersby's erratic mix of sincere drama and broad comedy. 93 min. (HSa) (Facets Cinematheque, 9 PM)

The Almond Tree Mystery

Against his better judgment, a private investigator (Manuel Medina) takes on a murder case in which he and his partner (Jose Juan Meraz) must pose as gay lovers to get close to the prime suspect (Maria Rojo), a wealthy libertine who welcomes Mexico's demimonde to her country estate. The hero keeps his focus, but his partner lets down his guard, seduced by the opulent surroundings. A snooping, one-breasted lesbian maid adds a Bunuelian touch to this 2004 feature, which intrigues more than it satisfies. After a considerable amount of misogyny, homoerotic teasing, and alcohol-fueled excess, the violent ending plays more like opera than film noir. Jaime Humberto Hermosillo (Dona Herlinda and Her Son) directed. 137 min. (AG) (Landmark's Century Centre, 9:15 PM)

Habana, Havana

This 2003 Venezuelan feature suffers from a strange disconnect between its first and second halves. For 40 nearly dialogue-free minutes, director Alberto Arvelo captures the details of two people's lives with a distinctly documentary feel, as a man from the Cuban countryside journeys to Havana to buy shoes for his daughter and a woman in the city goes through her daily routine. The carefully built mood gives way to jarring melodrama when their paths finally cross, and an implausible plot twist undermines all that fine observation. 79 min. (HSa) (Pipers Alley, 9:45 PM)

R The Murmuring Coast

A stylish feature debut from Portuguese writer-director Margarida Cardoso, this 2004 period drama recalls early Bertolucci in its blending of the personal and the political. A young woman (Beatriz Batarda) trades sophisticated Lisbon for colonial Mozambique to marry a soldier (Felipe Duarte) who's battling insurgents. Her questioning of authority leads her afoul of her husband's commanding officer and into the company of his truant wife and a jaded newspaper columnist. As rendered by Lisa Hagstrand's expressive camera and subdued palette, the costumes, decor, hair, and makeup are like a time capsule of the late 60s. Particularly striking are the layered and reflected images that suggest the heroine's psychological awakening, as a fractured profile or swiftly receding figure evokes the era's upheavals. In Portuguese with subtitles. 115 min. (AG) (Pipers Alley, 10 PM)

MONDAY 18

Mission Movie

See listing for Fri 4/15. (St. Xavier Univ. McGuire Hall, 2 PM)

A Silent Love

A middle-aged Canadian man arrives in Mexico to court a young woman he's been corresponding with and finds that she's unwilling to leave the country without her mother. Federico Hidalgo directed this 2003 Mexican feature. 100 min. (Pipers Alley, 6 PM)

Childhood Friends

See listing for Sat 4/16. (Landmark's Century Centre, 6:30 PM)

Paper Dove

An 11-year-old orphan is abducted by Shining Path guerrillas in this drama by Peruvian director Fabrizio Aguilar (2003, 90 min.). (Pipers Alley, 6:45 PM)

Carnivals of the Caribbean

See listing for Fri 4/15. (Facets Cinematheque, 7 PM)

Mission Movie

See listing for Fri 4/15. (St. Xavier Univ. McGuire Hall, 7 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. (North Park Univ., 7 PM)

Without Amparo

See listing for Sat 4/16. (Pipers Alley, 8:45 PM)

1809-1810 Before Dawn

See listing for Sat 4/16. (Landmark's Century Centre, 9 PM)

The Way to a Man's Heart

See listing for Fri 4/15. (Facets Cinematheque, 9 PM)

Worthy to Her Final Breath

See listing for Fri 4/15. (Pipers Alley, 9 PM)

TUESDAY 19

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 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, 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 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. (Morton College, 2:30 PM)

Adelante muchachas!

See listing for Fri 4/15. (Chicago State Univ., 5 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, 6:30 PM)

The Robbery

See listing for Sun 4/17. (Pipers Alley, 6:30 PM)

An Everyday Tale

See listing for Sun 4/17. (Dominican Univ., 7 PM)

Jesus the Driver

See listing for Sun 4/17. (Facets Cinematheque, 7 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 visited the islands. Nicolas Cornejo directed. 53 min. (AG) Also on the program: Mateo Herrera's hour-long Ecuadoran drama Threat (2003). (North Park Univ., 7 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, 7 PM)

La Fabri-K: The Cuban Hip-Hop Factory

See listing this date above. (Morton College, 7:30 PM)

Shorts program two

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.). (Facets Cinematheque, 9 PM)

R The Murmuring Coast

See listing for Sun 4/17. (Pipers Alley, 9 PM)

R Boricua

See listing for Fri 4/15. (Landmark's Century Centre, 9:15 PM)

Orpheus

See listing for Sat 4/16. (Pipers Alley, 9:15 PM)

WEDNESDAY 20

Adelante muchachas!

See listing for Fri 4/15. (St. Xavier Univ. McGuire Hall, 2 PM)

God Is Brazilian

Eager for a vacation, the Almighty arrives in Brazil to search for a temporary replacement in this 2003 feature by Carlos Diegues. 110 min. Diegues will attend the screening, where he will be honored with the festival's lifetime achievement award. Tickets are $50, $40 for ILCC members, and include a party after the screening. (River East 21, 6 PM)

The Almond Tree Mystery

See listing for Sun 4/17. (Landmark's Century Centre, 6:30 PM)

Coca Leaf

See listing for Sat 4/16. (Pipers Alley, 6:30 PM)

An Everyday Tale

See listing for Sun 4/17. (Facets Cinematheque, 7 PM)

Habana, Havana

See listing for Sun 4/17. (Pipers Alley, 7 PM)

Carnivals of the Caribbean

See listing for Fri 4/15. (Facets Cinematheque, 9 PM)

Paper Dove

See listing for Mon 4/18. (Pipers Alley, 9 PM)

A Silent Love

See listing for Mon 4/18. (Pipers Alley, 9:15 PM)

R Buenos Aires 100km

See listing for Sun 4/17. (Landmark's Century Centre, 9:30 PM)

THURSDAY 21

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, 6:30 PM)

Adelante muchachas!

See listing for Fri 4/15. (Facets Cinematheque, 7 PM)

Shorts program three

Two documentaries from 2004: Miguel Angel Mieto's Dali, the True Story of the Fakes (2004, 52 min.) and Judith Grey's Nevertheless (2004, 49 min.). (Facets Cinematheque, 9 PM)

To Kill a Killer

See listing for Tue 4/19. (Landmark's Century Centre, 9 PM)

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