Rodrigo Sorogoyen | Spain | 2016 | Fiction | 125 min | NM Premiere

Que dios nos perdone May God Forgive Us

Que dios nos perdone is a contemporary masterpiece taking on an old cinematic trope: the pair of detectives.  Alfaro and Velarde are tracking down another common archetype-villain for detective hunts: the possible serial killer.  Mysterious and nubulous from the beginning, Velarde and Alfaro use the best of their knowledge and logic to erase and rub away as much of that mystery as they possibly can.  Then, another common subject is explored in depth: when detetctives hunt criminals, they have to a think like a criminal.  Much like method actors who have to actually act like their character on and off set, detetcives have to a practive a similar artform of thinking in someone else's shoes... until you get so good at it it's hard to tell the difference between yourself and who you are hunting.  When they finally have strong leads, we as viwers come to understand the detectives (and ourselves) in an entirely new way.  Action, Philosophy, Suspense, Pyschology all mixed into one well-composed visual opera.  Sorogoyen is a cinema alchemist and makes a refreshing, contemporary take on a well-trodden trope of film narrative.  

Let’s take a look at the awards this film won.  Goya Awards: 6 Nominations including Best Film, Director and Actor; San Sebastian Film Festival: Best Screenplay; Feroz Awards: Best Actor (Roberto Álamo); Platino Awards: Nominated for Best Editing.  This film was recognized for nearly every core aspect of production.  It is clear that this project is not only about a director or an actor.  This was the work of a close-knit team with spectacular creative talent. The editor, Alberto del Campo, is known for his previous work on the taught dramas “Stockholm” and “Madre”.  Both films have a similarly clean, streamlined, crisp and sharp texture. 

This feature film will make del Campo’s editing shine through crisp storytelling and sharp transitions.  Director Rodrigo Sorogoyen was born in Madrid and is the grandson of director Antonio del Amo).  See you all there for this taut drama-thriller featuring a classic hunt for a killer, and the profoundly amazing truths such a hunt reveals about our own psyches, and those of the detectives themselves.

Mi mamá lora

My Mother is a Parrot

Martin Musarra | Argentina | 2016 | Fiction | 80 min | NM Premiere

Mi mama lora

Martín Musarra is the author and director of this magical feature film.  We are calling him an author because his screenplay for this film feels so much like a magical story converted to the contemporary cinematic platform.  Imagine the genius of Walt Disney, Roald Dahl and Guillermo del Toro all rolled into one.  That is Mi mama lora

In real life, there are mysterious and seemingly magical powers floating all around us - sometimes if you look at something just right, it may even feel surreal, like you're in an animated story.  Many artists throughout history have touched on this feeling in their work. In both the fields of literature and animation, famous works like James and the Giant Peach, Alice in Wonderland, so many of Walt Disney's stories, as well as more recent imaginations of the theme in hits like Toy Story capture this common sensation that we feel everyday on some level: surreality.  Wiktionary defines surreality as "the state of being incongruous"; in other words, the state of being or feeling out of harmony with your normal surroundings.  That's why you'll hear someone say, "Oh my, you should have seen it, it was surreal!"  The word surreal connotes something extraordinary happening within otherwise ordinary surroundings.  It reminds me of the great film Matilda, and director Musarra has mentioned in interviews that working on children's films opens up the doors to a lot of creativity and storytelling.  

Combining all the best parts of magic, surrealism, and magic realism, El Mar del Plata film festival writes about Mi mama lora: “Shot in Concordia, Entre Ríos, Martín Musarra’s film is impregnated with Latin American magical realism aesthetics as it tells a strange fable—between animal and human—that reflects on our essence. Mi mamá lora breaks every stereotype of beauty, genre, and power, and that is—together with its fine cinematographic rhythm—its most precious treasure.“

Musarra teams up with screenwriters Diana Russo and Paula Mastellone, as well as music composer Yair Hilal.  Hilal, Argentinian, has previous clients that include Honda, Toyota and McDonald's.  He has done work in television and film before, but this will be his biggest chance to shine; or perhaps Musarra wanted a music composer who would simply deliver something solid and not over the top.  After all, Musarra wants to create a highly realistic magic.  Think hi-def magic realism.  Costume design is incredible.  This is a perfect film for the entire family.  It will stimulate and nourish our minds with fresh angles and ways of looking at everyday life and interactions.  The children are sure to be wide-eyed in wonder and the adults are to be mesmerized by the storytelling and Kafka-esque metaphors for life.  See you all there!!  

Fernando Fraiha | Brazil-Argentina | 2016 | Fiction | 100 min | NM Premiere

el revenge

Two friends hit the road to Buenos Aires aboard an orange Opala 72, with a mission: be with as many women as possible. This is all a plan to wash the honor of "Caco", a man who found his girlfriend in bed with an Argentine.

Caco plans on surprising his girlfriend with a marriage proposal one day, but instead catches her in the act of cheating on him – worst of all with an Argentinean. Vadão, Caco’s best friend, drags him on a revenge trip from Brazil to Argentina. While Vadão is in high adventure mode, Caco is focused on getting his ex-girlfriend back. But not everything goes as they expect... It seems life really does happen when you are making other plans.  Beyond many things, this movie teaches us to focus on life and not necessarily the squeaky clean image we all have of our futures.  Sometimes, one needs to "let go" to get back on track.

El revenge (“La Vinganca” original title), is a film by Brazilian director Fernando Fraiha.  Born in Sao Paulo, this is his feature-length directorial debut.  He started working at age 25 editing documentaries and working his creative outlet through experimental drama plays as a video artist. Directing this feature length film is a big move for Fraiha as a creative artist in Brazilian cinema.  Fraiha has also been active as a producer and partner in Bionica Filmes.  He produced the 2014 box office hit “Os Homens Sao de Marte”, as well as “Psi” - an HBO original series.

So, we come into this movie with a successful producer with a ton of very off-the-beaten-path, experimental history as a video artist and as a writer.  And he is making his debut as a director. Ingredients for an very interesting film.  His previous successes have been with comedies that reveal hilarious yet dark social truths about society and relationships using narrative as a tool for social critique.  The storyline to this film, conceived and written by Jiddu Pinheiro, seems fitting for Fraiha’s interests as a filmmaker. Jiddu Pinheiro is known as an actor for his role in 2011’s O Muro, a story about a divorcee moving into a new home where she notices ongoing fights between a mother and her child.  This history outlines another interest of Fraiha’s, which is less comedic and gets to the those darker, underlying layers about interpersonal relationships and deep emotions. It will be great to see this duo - one known as an actor and the other as a producer - make important debuts as writer and director respectively. See you all there for this hilarious, yet deep, Brazilian comedy!     

We all know the game of chess - even if we don't know all the rules or are not so good at playing it, we all know of the game.  We know it as the ultimate game of strategy: a thinker's game.  From a young age, all around the world, we are taught that chess is something that is to be respected and held almost sacred, even if we never become players or aficionados ourselves.  Therefore, the world's best chess players occupy a very unique position in our society.  Firstly, they are masters at a game which is known globally, which makes them great speakers of a universal language of strategy.  Master chess players are, in a way, sort of like yogis, sages, gurus, swamis, mentors, mystics and other master practitioners.  Secondly, they are respected and revered in a similar way to great warriors and the artists of war - you may have heard of samurai, commandos, knights - masters of war (not necessarily violence) but of strategy.  There is an ages-old, unspoken and unwritten bond between the mighty sovereign and the humble master strategist - between the monarch and the chess player.  This is a story about one of Spain's greatest chess players, who falls into a challenging situation in which the chessplayer (Marc Clotet) needs to use his mastery of the game in order to gain back his own freedom.       

This is really a must-see for the whole family, couples, students, artists, film buffs, and everyone in between.  Director Luis Oliveros’ connection to Hungarian music composer Jonas Breckl (who scored this film) is not by accident.  In 2011, Oliveros had a big opportunity to direct the TV movie “Angles of Budapest” which actually told the story of a Spanish diplomat in Hungary.  Before that film, Oliveros had mostly worked as an assistant director.  His work on “Angels of Budapest” clearly provided much inspiration and creative direction as he used Hungarian cinema artists throughout this feature, El jugador de ajedrez, or “The Chessplayer”.

Lead actor Marc Clotet is born and raised in Barcelona, where he began his career rising to intermediate levels of stardom in television series such as “Amar es para siempre”.  It will be interesting to see him work in this dramatic and meticulous role.

Something to watch out for in the film: the costume design, which is riveting and striking, truly transporting you into this time and place. Returning to the music - Breckl is a Hungarian composer known mostly for his work with well known Hungarian film director, Bela Tarr.  Bela Tarr is known for pioneering “social cinema”, a body of work that treats fictional stories with the ethic and philosophy of a documentary.  Socially accurate portrayals in the cinema of Tarr have been scored musically by Breckl, and we get to see Breckl at work here in El jugador de ajedrez.  The acute drama of a chess move - the silence… how will Breckl fill it in with music that helps tell the story?  It will be exciting and inspiring to watch this film.  See you all there!

Jonal Cosculluela Sanchez | Cuba-Spain | 2016 | Fiction | 90 min | NM Premiere

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Born in 1977 Havana Jonal Cosculluela Sánchez has spent over a decade working in national television as an editor for TV series, documentaries, and teleplays. His cinematic debut is Esteban, a coproduction between Cuba and Spain.

Esteban is a film that documents not only the struggles of a young boy who wants to become a musician, but also the story of the childhood of a virtuoso.  Sometimes it can be hard for a family to cope with tremendous talent. 

Director Cosculluela said in an interview with OnCuba:

“I was given the script from Amilcar Salati, a television writer to make a TV short. At first everything would be for television. The idea of taking it to the cinema was by Vilma Montesinos, who belongs to the Cuban Film Institute. She found by accident the script had been misplaced with others that we were going to film and she liked to turn it into a movie.”

One very special thing to watch (or listen) out for in this film is the music, obviously - it’s a film about a pianist.  And the music is astounding! Remember, this kid is not just any musician: he’s a virtuoso.  The original music was scored by the real musical brain behind this project: the iconic Cuban composer, Chucho Valdes.  This film will be a concert, a painting and an inspiring drama about perseverance perfect for the entire family. See you all there!

Argentine ex-pat Daniel Mantovani (Oscar Martínez) lives in Spain and doesn’t look back on his small hometown across the ocean. Unless he is writing.  When Daniel wins the Nobel Prize for literature, the prize brings all sorts of offers and publicity requests to his new abode in Spain, and he declines them all in a unilateral dismissal of the spotlight. However, a humble invitation from his small hometown of Salas, Argentina puts him on a trip home.

Daniel, as is the case with most writers, draws from his experiences. His life in Salas populates his literature and some of the townspeople remain bitter over the fact that he used lives for fiction and often in unflattering or critical terms.

The film, which is Argentina’s submission for Best Foreign Language Film in this year’s Oscar race, puts directors Duprat and Cohn (who already teamed up in “The Artist” and “The Man Next Door”) on the map as one of Argentina’s most comical and darkly accurate critics of the social quirks in Buenos Aires’ and Argentina’s often complicated and long tradition of neurotic comedies.  See you all there for our Oscar-nominee feature film!!  

Picture the scene: a short, empathetic Mexican woman dedicated to the art of massage has abruptly and unexpectedly entered into this superficial dynamics of extremely wealthy people gathering with a glass of exquisite cocktails. She remains unseen because she, herself, is not able to fit into this social ambiance in which she rarely believes and yet moves around to somehow make her point within such an elitist view of life. Her name is Beatriz and she is totally out of place. 

Salma Hayek claims this role along with her astonishing performance as the Mexican Goddess, Frida Kahlo, to be her favorite performances of all her long career as an actress. Perhaps this has to do with Beatriz´connection to life itself and those who live in it. The actress has said to own a bunch of animals including dogs, cats, goats, birds and gold-fishes. But what is it that makes this role so special for the universal Mexican actress?

 

Beatriz (Salma Hayek) is about to participate in a revealing dinner with totally different people

 

It may be her simplicity, which combined with the hypocrisy of Californian elite resounds days after watching the movie. It could very well be her strong connection and empathy with the surroundings. The audience is able to feel her aching heart for human abusive behavior when it comes to his attitude towards the Earth, animals and other human beings. Perhaps what makes this specific role special is how unexpected the story turns out by the end of it, leaving each and everyone perplexed after witnessing what more than one would enjoy doing... Don´t worry, I am not going to make any spoiler. 

I may be the reflective type rather than the fireworks lover. Perhaps this movie, which my friends claim to be weird-ish, heads towards an attempt of providing a Woody Allen or French-like gathering around a table, good wine and profound conversation about what life looks like and what´s our place in it. However, Beatriz at dinner seems to go beyond. It´s not just an inner (I am guilty) pleasure observing an apparently defenseless woman trying to defeat individuals oblivious to nowadays reality but also quite enjoyable to do so through a powerful woman that transcends her character. 

It seems to me that class clashing is among the most interesting things in this social-political turmoil that cinema can provide. It must not be easy to take part in a diametrically opposed ambiance where your ideas are shuttered by people you don´t necessarily agree with, but at least Beatriz can say aloud she sticks to her principles and keeps being coherent with them. She deliberately tries to make her points over and over again unsuccessfully, embarrassing the guests continuously. The thing is that being out of place is a complete art.                                                    

 

Happy belated Father´s Day 2017 from ALFF ¡Cine Magnífico! 

People will wonder why it is we are wishing you all a happy Father´s Day. The one and only reason is that we like to wish our beloved parents day after day how great they are! Cinema has shown over the years this strong bond that unites us with our fathers no matter where or when. If I may, this works also as a personal call to tell mine, who is far away in Spain, how much I love him. Now, who would be the first loving father that would come to your mind within the 7th Art? I guess there are as many tastes as colors and yet one of them could be... Bingo! Robin Williams in Mrs. Doubtfire, perhaps the most representative example of a fighter, knowing the situation he and his family is confronting and never giving up on his children. 

 

Mrs. Doubtfire having fun while cleaning 

 

If you also have straight away several examples of movies where giving fathers work so hard to make their children´s life better, that could only mean two things: a father is irreplaceable and loving cinema makes you one of us!

Today is the World Environment Day and we want to celebrate it by making visible important values such as respect for nature, sustainable development and green attitude diffusion. Being part of the cinema sphere implies relating the latter with everything taking part of our society. Environmental awareness is no longer seen as a hippy concern but rather as a world-wide issue involving every human being no matter the background.

The world needs to be protected not owned and spreading the word about this is crucial for every living thing on planet Earth. Cinema has showed us over the years different sides of nature either from a catastrophic perspective, an educational one or else romanticized. Every case has helped however to increase environmental awareness in many different levels. The 7th Art is a great platform to serve major causes in a remarkably artistic way.

Here we offer a small selection of movies visibly related to the environment: 

 

"Avatar" (2009) by James Cameron is one of the highest-grossing films ever, widely known by its fierce nature preservation message

 

"Finding Nemo" (2003) by Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich under Disney and Pixar alliance came to revolutionized animation movies and at the same time making us reflect on the importance of cooperating with one another and respecting the marine environment 

 

"Before the flood" (2016) by Fisher Stevens under National Geographic and with the actor Leonardo DiCaprio is one of the most recent, devastating portraits of human unlimited consumerism and its consequences 

Every kind of film may show very well the issue in question: fiction, animated and documentary. Each and one of the ones here have shaped somehow my view on nature and how I can deconstruct at least partially the unlimited consumerism mode I have been raised in. Let´s take a step further in protecting the environment and let´s make cinema a great part of the process.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017 13:54

Support ¡Cine Magnífico!

Written by

Dear friends of our Albuquerque Latino Film Festival ¡Cine Magnífico!

This is a calling aiming to get your support. I know we are constantly overwhelmed by the massive amount of proposals looking for as much supporters as possible. We cannot fight against that and yet I truly think this is worth it. By supporting ¡Cine Magnífico! financially you are not only strengthening individual creators from all over the Hispanic-American sphere and broadly speaking Art as a means to reach people with many different backgrounds; but also participating from a certainly special way of life. Being Hispanic-American is defined by a characteristic sense of humor, the power to keep moving ahead as well as a loving attitude towards family, friends and universal values. Creating the conditions so that these creators can tell the stories they want is a beautiful act of comradeship and ultimately a matter of awareness when it comes to diversity. 

Donations may be done in any quantity, we appreciate every kind and truly thank our supporters. We understand crowdfunding campaigns are usually boosted by individuals and yet there must be those sponsors who want to contribute with bigger quantities so here there is the information in that regard:

 

The crowdfunding campaign is already on air, so there we go! Make sure you enjoy cinema as we certainly do. 

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