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

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!

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

“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