Items filtered by date: August 2015

mr kaplan stillAlvaro Brechner’s second feature length film, Mr. Kaplan, has received international acclaim as well as the honor of representing the nation of Uruguay as best foreign language film in several festivals throughout the world.  Part of the international appeal of Mr Kaplan, aside from its mixture of the profound and the humorous, the tragic and the comic, this film centers on a subject familiar to all, especially in today’s world: memory. 

As the world has seemed since the second World War to be engaged in an unending war that may switch setting from decade to decade, but always focuses around the same issues of fear and insurgency, it has become increasingly difficult for national communities to construct collective historical memories.  Because information and narratives of political conflict saturate our every glance at a television or cell phone screen, notions of exactly what is happening and why become increasingly difficult to grasp as a collective whole.  One community that has been struggling with this process since the second World War are the world’s Jews, many of whom are spread out from places like Israel, to New York to Uruguay and Argentina.  Capturing ninety year old Nazis and extraditing them to Israel has been a common motif for south American Jews for several decades now, and the aged character Jacobo Kaplan seems to represent the tiredness of this common story: despite how important these moments are for members of the Jewish community and anyone else who feels the need to continue the process of international justice, Jacobo Kaplan’s hunt for a suspected ex-Nazi in Uruguay takes on an almost comic, albeit tragic, nature.

Jacobo Kaplan and his younger friend, Contreras, become a duo of amateur detectives that grasp for meaning in their own lives by investigating and tracking an elderly man they suspect of past involvement in heinous crimes.  But does anyone actually still care?  And why are they actually chasing him?  For what end?  We find through these two characters partial answers to these questions, no matter how dry, hilarious or painful they may be. 

 Mr Kaplan is our Showcase Film on Saturday Night, 8 PM - September 19th at the Bank of America Theater.  See you all there!! This is a must-see for all!

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climas posterClimas follows the separate stories of three Peruvian women.  Through these three women, three different stages of a woman{s life in Peru are told through the main characters, as well as three different socioeconomic classes and three different regions of Peru.  The young woman is Eva, who is experiencing her first sexual encounters and lives in the “selva” region.  The woman entering the phase of maternity is Victoria, who is from the upper class in the capital city of Lima and has a terrible secret of her own.  Finally we have the story of Zoraida, an elderly woman from the Andean region who receives an unexpected visit from her son.

Climas is directed by Enrica Perez, a Lima native who has made a great impact in the Peruvian film scene with this film, her feature length debut.  Perez has explained in interviews that one of the driving inspirations and underlying themes of this film, which she has worked on for the past eight years, was the idea that living in different climates have an amazing impact on the way we live and experience our lives and the lives of others.  We often talk about economic and social divisions, but we don’t talk as much about climate divisions.  For this reason, the climate and natural environment of each of the three main geographical settings – the selva, the city and the Andes – plays a large role in the narrative of each of the three characters who live there.  

Join us for this expansive and evocative drama, three stories in one nation.  Our Showcase Film screening is on Saturday evening, September 19th at 6PM @ The Bank of America Theater.  See you all there! 

Published in Films

3-BELLEZAS RP3 Bellezas

Saturday, 19 de Septiembre

4 PM

National Hispanic Cultural Center, Bank of America Theater

Director: Carlos Caridad Montero

Carlos Caridad Montero’s highly acclaimed feature film debut 3 bellezas (“3 Beauties”) is here at CineMagnifico. 3 Bellezas is a black comedy about two Venezuelan national obsessions: beauty queens and plastic surgery. Although this may seem to solidify an already dangerous stereotype about Venezuelan society, director Caridad Montero has a skill for expressing what is known to be real, everyday life experience in his country, while also leveling a social critique through his film.

Perla, played by Diana Peñalver, is a former beauty queen who dreams, or more than dreams, about seeing her young daughter, Carolina, become a beauty queen like her mother. And Perla will do almost anything to see this happen, including damaging her relationship with her own family. With help from her sister, Estefania, Perla forces her daughters to endlessly practice the catwalk, teaches them how to diet and how to wear swimsuits and gowns the proper way. Through all of this hilarious dark humor, Caridad Montero manages to expose a cultural obsession with beauty familiar to most Venezuelans and to those living in many other nations, including our own. Certainly, this theme is not totally foreign to United States society, and calls to mind the iconic stereotype of beauty and culture in southern California.    

Through his first several short films that made a splash in international festival circuits, Caridad Montero has gained the attention of the public and academic critics alike, a gap between styles of spectatorship that is often difficult to bridge. This speaks to the Maracaibo native’s ability and unique capacity to express in realistic terms the everyday life in popular Venezuelan society while simultaneously satisfying the academic desire to see a dynamic critique of this very same society that is being portrayed. Caridad Montero, before even delving into feature length films, has seemed to quickly master the art of making films that carry weighty social critiques, but only to the viewers that want to see them – for anyone else, it could seem like a movie that simply ‘expresses the reality’ of a life in Venezuela. In this way, Caridad Montero, with the release of his first feature length film, has quickly become one of Venezuela’s most important directors.

Perhaps one of the most important notes about Caridad Montero’s young career is that he studied film at the film school in San Antonio de los Baños, Cuba. It is evident in his work that when he returned to his home country of Venezuela after graduation, he not only was returning with a new tool belt of film technique, but also a new perspective on his own nation after having experienced life on the Caribbean island to the north.

Published in Films

la isla minima posterLa Isla Mínima (The Marshland)

Directed by Alberto Rodríguez

Showing at the Guild Cinema on Saturday, September  19th at 5PM


La isla mínima won thirteen prizes at Spain’s Goya Awards, including Best Film, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Score and Best Screenplay.

Director Alberto Rodríguez takes us to the territory of his home, where he was born and raised: Andalucía – the deep south of Spain. He takes us there for a mysterious thriller that takes place in 1980. Two detectives with different opinions on how to treat their work unite to investigate the murder of two young women in town. The texture of the film along with the small town mystery and the southern landscape is reminiscent of the first season of True Detective. The artistic aesthetic of the frames were inspired by the photography of Atín Aya. Not only does this film thrill, but it connects to history and politics.

One of the detectives is older than the other, and his style is stuck in the days of Franco’s brutal regime, which is now supposedly finished, although so many of its remnants hang linger above the rural roadways fo the town like gossip and dust in the heat. One of the directors stated linkages with the Franco regime is the state’s poor treatment of women and misogyny that prevailed during the Franco era, but is by no means gone from the culture. As the two detectives, from two distinct epochs of Spain’s recent history, attack the truth of the crimes against these young women, truths about the nature of the community also come to light.

One of Spain’s most celebrated films in recent memory and one that has had a strong reception here in the US, La isla minima is not a film you should miss. Showing at the Guild Cinema on Saturday, September  19th at 5PM. See you all there!!

Published in Films

messi-filmSaturday, September 19

National Hispanic Cultural Center, Bank of America Theatre

2:00 PM


Country: Spain

Director: Alex de la Iglesia

Release Date: 2015

Language: Spanish with English subtitles

The film dramatizes Lionel Messi's early life, combined with documentary footage and interviews with some of the most famous men in recent soccer history. Included in this group are Dutch legend (and former Barcelona player and manager) Johan Cruyff and World Cup-winning Argentine manager César Luis Menotti. Also featured are some of Messi's current teammates, including Andrés Iniesta and Gerard Piqué. Beautiful personal revelations are not omitted; whenever Messi scores and stares skyward with his fingers pointing to the heavens, it is his grandmother to whom he is beckoning—she is still the one to whom he dedicates all his goals.

Alex de la Iglesia has directed this feature length documentary about one of the world’s most recognizable names, and most of the most undeniably dominant players in all of modern sports: Lionel Messi. The film, which documents Messi’s childhood and coming of age, displays the struggles that Messi encountered along the way to be being recognized as a prodigy and an absolute phenomenon. One of the largest obstacles Messi encountered was uncontrollable: his body size. Messi was incredibly short and undersized and because of this he was overlooked by scouts and recruiters. It took the foresight of specific mentors and coaches to see the gem that lay hidden in the rough of Messi’s unorthodox body type. One of the main reasons Alex de la Iglesia was drawn to this project was the message that it holds not just for children, but anyone who is pursuing a dream. Along the way, your disadvantages and weaknesses will be highlighted and revealed, and you may even be told by those closest to you that this dream is not for you. Especially in today’s highly competitive world, this message holds resonance for almost anyone, particularly as they see the unimaginable, colossal place that Messi has gained in international football. And imagine, as a child he was told he was too small to play… he who became the world’s best footballer.

Alex de la Iglesia directed the popular Hollywood movie The Oxford Murders, starring Elijah Wood in 2008. Messi was nominated for an award at the Venice Film Festival. Messi was produced with support and partnership from FIFA, F.C. Barcelona and Messi’s family.

Screening Saturday, September 19th @ 2PM in the Bank of America Theater. See you all there!!!  

Published in Films