Tuesday, 05 September 2017 13:48

El jugador de ajedrez (The Chess Player)

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!

Published in Cine Magnifico
Monday, 05 June 2017 13:59

World Environment Day 2017

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.

Published in Cine Magnifico
Tuesday, 23 May 2017 13:54

Support ¡Cine Magnífico!

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. 

Published in Festival

Instituto Cervantes Albuquerque is very proud to launch the 5 th Edition of the Albuquerque Latino Film Festival ¡Cine Magnífico! in collaboration with the National Hispanic Cultural Center, Guild Cinema and the Latin American & Iberian Institute. This year 2017 the festival will be running from September 14 th to 17 th , three whole days in which people will have the chance to enjoy cinema proposals from all over the Latin American sphere, with Hispanic culture as the core topic in relation to many other socially important topics such as migration, cultural identity, LGTBQ, Spanish language, indigenous and so on.

ALFF ¡Cine Magnífico! is not unaware of the recent political turmoil going on in nowadays worldwide society, especially for the Hispanic American community in the USA. That is why more than ever we need as much of the support we all can provide from Latinos in Albuquerque and broadly speaking New Mexico to unite for a common cause: CINEMA.

We believe in cinema as an extremely powerful tool to empower people, to let them dream, to allow them access to information and hence participate actively from what´s going on around us. We believe in cinema as a means to confront and deceive prejudices, to speak up for those in an unprivileged position. Let´s work together for a non frivolous use of this magnificent Art.

This 2017 ALFF ¡Cine Magnífico! is going to be a gathering of people rowing to the same purpose: normalize diversity, what´s more, celebrate it. We understand how New Mexicans are deeply in touch with their roots and do want to strengthen that beautiful sense of identity that above all constitutes an ode to unity. Countries such as the USA, Mexico, Cuba, Venezuela, Spain, Chile, Argentina and many more will be participating with courageous cinema proposals ranging from feature films to short films, documentaries, dramas, comedies, thrillers, road movies… just as the diversity we want to highlight.

Take a step forward and join us from whatever perspective you may want to contribute: filmmaking, festival volunteering and general public. You will enjoy a series of events full of surprises and love for cinema. Mark your agenda because this late September you have a rendez- vous with the 7 th Art.

Selecting the best recent Latino cinema is our task, yours is to live it, love it and spread the word about it!

Published in Festival
Tuesday, 09 September 2014 12:55

What Makes a Film Festival Latino?

During the second annual Cine Magnífico Latino Film Festival, we will all be presented with and reminded of images, sounds and textures of Latin America.  But, in the process, we will also be presented with conflicts that are central to all forms of art and human experience.  

cine mag photo

“Bad Hair”, “The Golden Dream”, “Anina” and “School Days” are just a few examples of how this year’s films take on the conflicts of youth and coming-of-age.  “The Lock Charmer”, “My Straight Son” and “Spanish Affair” showcase the power of love and romance to transcend culture and political boundaries.   

This cultural-political entity that we call Latin America is infinitely diverse, and the wide variety of settings and characters employed in this year’s film line up serves as a testament to that diversity.  That being said, however, there is certainly a sense of what it means to be Latino or Latino American, especially here in the U.S. where cultural lines often become blurry and personal identities difficult to define.  In this way, our collective experience at this year’s Latino Film Festival will not necessarily be centered around defining what makes a film a Latino film, or even in the broader sense, what makes a person or a community Latino. 

albuquerque-skyline

Rather, Cine Magnífico Latino Film festival, supported in conjunction with Instituto Cervantes, the National Hispanic Cultural Center and the Latin American & Iberian Institute, is a festival that celebrates art and humanity.  While the film lineup is, in part, affected by political boundaries that define what is Latin America, the cultural boundaries that all of us experience on a daily basis are far more fluid than national borders, and rather than centering around nationality or even language, which can serve as agents of division, art and culture are often centered around universal emotions and desires that bind us together. 

Rebecca L. Avitia, Executive Director of the National Hispanic Cultural Center, beautifully remarked for our blog that “film has the unique ability to transcend the boundaries of culture and language and show that we all have common experiences,” adding that “this year’s extraordinary lineup of films is further proof of that.”  We look forward to this year’s Cine Magnífico Latino Film Festival to be a community spectacle in all senses of the term: a place where people convene to enjoy film, together.        

 

Published in Festival

“My Straight Son” (“Azul y no tan rosa”) is the Venezuelan actor/writer/director Miguel Ferrari’s first major feature length film, and his ‘opera prima’ that deals with social intolerance against homosexuality won him recognition from around the world, as well as the prize for Best Iberian-American Film at the Goya Awards, Spain’s equivalent to the American Academy Awards.  Aside from superb acting, writing and music, the story’s main attack on the ridiculousness of homophobia and its sincere portrayal of family is what brought this Venezuelan film across the borders with such success. ferrari goya

Ferrari stated in an interview with the Spanish film review "El Antepenultimo Mohicano" that in his home country of Venezuela there has always been a ridged taboo against homosexuality, and the few times homosexual characters have actually been presented in Venezuelen cinema, they have been portrayed “through a burlesque and disrespectful perspective”.  He added that television and cinema, despite having the power to change social paradigms, is as responsible as any other field of media production for the distorted representation of LGBTI characters and topics that have been disseminated to the public, and above all to the youth. 

Ferrari, who left Venezuela to study cinema production in Spain and subsequently returned to produce films in his home country, acknowledged the great risks involved in undertaking a project like “My Straight Son”; despite the good social intentions of the script, if carried out improperly a film such as this can actually run the risk of offending viewers even within the LGBTI community. 

Azul-y-no-tan-rosa-para-gustos-hay-colores

 However, that has clearly not been the case with this film, which has moved viewers towards the ideal of social openness and understanding in audiences throughout the world.  Most importantly, the film has made a great impact in Ferrari’s home country of Venezuela, where the subject of homosexuality has been particularly ignored, even in comparison to other Latin American countries that maintain a similar streak of social conservatism and homophobia within their societies.  In the last decade, a couple of important films containing LGBTI subjects came from joint projects involving Argentine, Uruguay and Spain, from the writer/director Lucia Puenzo, a Buenos Aires native. 

 To see those films, check out “XXY” and “The Fish Child” (“El niño pez”).  In addition, the theme of social intolerance is not only confined to topics of sexuality; in fact, “Bad Hair” (“Pelo malo”) will be showing on Sunday at Cine Magnifico, a film that involves filmmakers in Argentina, Venezuela and Peru, deals with similar social pressures that arise from homophobia and engrained class distinctions. 

Clearly there is a tide of films with intense messages and depictions of social issues that are often overlooked, left under the table in the proverbial dining room of Latin American culture and society.  Look no further than our film lineup this year at Cine Magnifico, not only including “My Straight Son” and “Bad Hair”, but also “The Golden Dream”, which deals sincerely with intense social pressures and culturally ignored subjects.  

“My Straight Son” will be a moving and enlightening film screening, not only for Miguel Ferrari’s prize-winning script and cinematic direction, but also for the way this film fits into the rising trends of Latin American cinema over the course of the last two years.  “My Straight Son” will be our Showcase Film on Saturday night, September 12th @ 8 PM.  See you there for a wonderful showcase presentation!!            

Published in Films