Five Latino films to enjoy at Sundance 2021
Here are some of the latest indie releases to enjoy from home this weekend.
It has been difficult for big, worldwide film festivals to maintain their same aura and excitement amid the global pandemic. When a city cannot be filled with the hype of the fans and the glamour of movie stars and directors, festivals like Sundance have relied on the variety and quality of its programming on a virtual, streaming format.
Speaking of Sundance, it is not the festival with the greatest Latin American representation — only five of the films are produced in South America among the entire program and part of them are in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition selection. However, there are numerous independent American films that address the reality of Latino migration.
Here are some to check out.
Mexican director Rodrigo Ruiz Patterson makes his debut with this teen drama shot on the outskirts of Mexico City in the shantytowns of Nextlalpan. The film addresses power relations in new familial relationships. This is the case of the adolescent Rodrigo, who must manage his inner world in the face of his mother's new boyfriend. The result is a kind-of incestuous love triangle that's already won the award for "Best Ibero-American Film" at the Málaga Festival.
Another Mexican production that's part of the program is Fernanda Valadez's newest film, previously reviewed here after its premiere, is a powerful thriller that addresses current narratives about the U.S.-Mexico border. As a whole, the film is a family quest understood as ruinous as geographical limits turn into monsters. It has also received previous awards such as the Gotham Award for "Best International Feature."
French-Venezuelan director Alexis Gambis premieres a very curious production that rethinks migrations through a protagonist who, like the director himself, is also a biologist. That particular scientific-sociological perspective in regards to the animal kingdom works as a metaphor through the migrations of monarch butterflies to extend on the relationship of the protagonist with his ancestors.
The story has similarities with what speculative fiction of Donna Haraway (The Camille Stories, 2016) does in literature through butterflies. Gambis is a well-known director (The Fly Room, 2014) and founder of the Imagine Science Film Festival.
From Chile comes this hard-hitting detective documentary of the everyday that has quickly gained its own buzz among critics and in the indie press. The story follows Sergio Chamy, who, with a camera in his glasses and at the age of 83, infiltrated an old people's home where various types of abuse were suspected. Old age and noir were never incompatible.
This American production available on Netflix explores the Puerto Rican astrologer Walter Mercado, a gender dissident who has been televising horoscopes for more than 30 years. Those who know his figure will have more details about his mysterious disappearance in 2007 and newcomers will be able to face his struggle against homophobia and particular mysticism at the hands of Cristina Costantini and Kareem Tabsch.