Film at Lincoln Center and Cinema Tropical announce the seventh edition of Neighboring Scenes: New Latin American Cinema, the annual contemporary Latin American film festival featuring established authors and emerging talents from the international film festival circuit, to be held at held from February 24 to 28.
The selection in this year’s programming highlights the variety of styles, techniques, and narratives employed by Latin American filmmakers today who represent various countries including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
Kicking off the festival, the opening film The Other Tom marks the fifth and most recent collaboration between Rodrigo Plá and Laura Santullo, also the author of the novel on which the film is based.
The central film is La Caja, the complex psychological thriller by Lorenzo Vigas that offers a critical look at the maquiladoras in Mexico.
Two selections from the 2021 Cannes Directors’ Fortnight that will be presented are The Employee and the Boss, Uruguayan writer-director Manolo Nieto’s provocative drama set on the Brazilian border and starring Nahuel Pérez Biscayart (120 beats per minute); and Medusa, the visionary second feature film by Anita Rocha da Silveira after Kill Me Please, which is a reinterpretation of the Greek mythological figure of the title in a misogynistic and Bolsonarist Brazil.
Other titles to highlight include Aurora, director Paz Fábrega’s delicate drama about motherhood; and Red Star, Sofia Bordenave’s film essay that goes through the places where the Russian Revolution took place a hundred years ago.
The program features multiple premieres in New York, the United States, and internationally, such as the documentary Dirty Feathers, produced by the Italian filmmaker Roberto Minervini and directed by Carlos Alfonso Corral, a sensitive portrait of the homeless residents of a community on the border between USA and Mexico; Of all the things to know, Sofía Velázquez’s playful documentary debut film set in Santiago de Chuco, hometown of César Vallejo, one of the most important Latin American authors of the 20th century; The happiness of things by Thais Fujinaga, from the acclaimed Brazilian film collective Filmes de Plástico, which portrays the routines of a middle-class family; Me and the Beasts, Nico Manzano’s dry comedy about finding meaning in the least expected places; The sky is red Francina Carbonell’s powerful film about the 2010 fire at the San Miguel prison in Santiago, Chile, using security camera footage, archival audio and existing documents; and the powerful Esquirlas by Natalia Garayalde, winner of the Grand Prize at the Jeonju Film Festival in 2021, which reviews images that the director recorded in 1995 after the explosion of a large military factory in her hometown of Río Tercero (Argentina).
Scene Neighbors Presents also features a dazzling array of short films, including León Siminiani’s dystopian twist on Colombian history, Síndrome de Los quiets, starring filmmaker Luis Ospina; Dear Chantal, an emotional tribute to the filmmaker Chantal Akerman by Nicolás Pereda (Fauna); Sol de Campinas, by Jessica Sarah Rinland, which follows the work of a group of archaeologists in a Brazilian city; Pablo Marín’s fascinating Light Trap filmed with a super-8; Azucena Losana Holiday, a visual journey through images of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo filmed in 16mm; and the animated short film The Bones of Cristóbal León and Joaquín Cociña (La casa Lobo), winner of the Best Short Film award at the Venice Film Festival.
Organized by Carlos A. Gutiérrez and Cecilia Barrionuevo.
Tickets go on sale on February 11 at noon and are $15; $12 for students, seniors (62+), people with disabilities, and Cinema Tropical subscribers; and $10 for Film at Lincoln Center members. See more movies and save with the purchase of an $80 All-Access Pass or a $20 Student All-Access Pass. Learn more at filmlinc.org.
Proof of full vaccination is required for all staff, audience members, and filmmakers at all FLC facilities.
FLC requires all guests to maintain face coverings inside their spaces in accordance with current CDC guidelines, regardless of vaccination status.
Additionally, FLC will adhere to a comprehensive set of health and safety policies in coordination with the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and state and city medical experts and will adapt as necessary to the current health crisis. Visit filmlinc.org/safety for more information.
FILMS AND DESCRIPTIONS
All performances will be held at the Walter Reade Theater (165 W. 65th St.) unless otherwise noted
THE OTHER TOM
(Rodrigo Plá and Laura Santullo, Mexico/USA, 2021, 111 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. Premiere in New York)
The fifth collaboration of the Uruguayan-Mexican creative duo of Rodrigo Plá and Laura Santullo (A monster with a thousand heads), based on a novel by Santullo, tells the story of Elena, a working-class single mother and her nine-year-old son, Tom, who has been diagnosed with ADHD.
Elena risks losing custody when she refuses to continue medicating Tom after an accident alerts her to the side effects of his treatment.
Set in the border city of El Paso, Texas, this gripping and intimate drama is anchored by powerful performances from Julia Chavez and Israel Rodriguez Bertorelli.
Thursday, February 24, 7 pm (with the presence of Rodrigo Plá)
(Lorenzo Vigas, 2021, Mexico/USA, 92 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. Premiere in New York)
The second fiction feature film by Venezuelan filmmaker Lorenzo Vigas, whose From There was the first Latin American film to win the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, tells the story of Hatzín, a teenager from Mexico City who travels north from the country to collect the remains of his estranged father, who died under unknown circumstances.
However, an encounter with a man who physically resembles his father fills him with doubt and hope about his father’s true whereabouts. Vigas builds a complex psychological thriller around fatherhood while offering a critical look at the maquiladora system in Mexico.
Saturday, February 26, 9 pm
OF ALL THE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
(Sofía Velázquez, 2021, Peru, 90 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. North American premiere)
Sofía Velázquez’s playful documentary feature debut was filmed in Santiago de Chuco, an Andean town in northern Peru, where writer César Vallejo, one of the most important Latin American authors of the 20th century, was born and raised.
The isolated village was also the main setting for the writer’s poems. Under the pretext of an audition, the filmmaker records stories in the first person to portray the memory of different people and, through them, that of an entire town.
Of all things to know, this is an endearing film about chance encounters informed by the legacy and aura of a literary icon.
Preceded by SÍNDROME DE LOS QUIETUS (León Siminiani, 2021, Colombia/Spain, 31 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. Premiere in the United States)
Using a hypothetical syndrome of stillness as an anchor, the filmmaker Léon Siminiani delves into the idiosyncrasy and history of Colombia, a playful dystopian essay whose protagonist is the late filmmaker Luis Ospina.
Saturday, February 26, 1:15pm
(Paz Fábrega, 2021, Costa Rica/Mexico/Panama, 93 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. North American premiere)
At 17, Yuliana has become pregnant, although she did not want to and does not want to know who the father is. Ella’s teacher Luisa de Ella decides to help her after she discovers her secret, though this disrupts her life and fosters a complex and intense relationship.
In her third feature film, Costa Rican director Paz Fábrega delicately dramatizes different perspectives on motherhood, creating a film about the limits imposed by social structures, established mandates, legal resources, and acquired responsibilities.
Sunday, February 27, 2 pm
(Carlos Alfonso Corral, 2021, Mexico/USA, 75 min. In Spanish and English with English subtitles. Premiere in New York)
This remarkable feature debut by Mexican-American photographer and director Carlos Alfonso Corral, produced by Italian filmmaker Roberto Minervini, is a lyrical and sensitive documentary that intimately portrays the homeless residents of a community of people on the US-Mexico border. including a newlywed couple, a grieving father, a war veteran, and a 16-year-old girl.
Shot on the streets of El Paso and Ciudad Juárez in stark black and white, this vérité-style film is a stark yet deeply compassionate and respectful portrait of people living on the edge. A selection from the Panorama section at the Berlinale Film Festival in 2021.
Preceded by FERIADO (Azucena Losana, Brazil/Argentina/Mexico, 2021, 2 min. In Portuguese with English subtitles. North American premiere)
The images of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo filmed in 16mm are set with the words of the poem by Bruno Negrão “What if Jesus were black?”
Sunday, February 27, 4:15 pm (with the presence of producer Roberto Minervini)
THE EMPLOYEE AND THE EMPLOYER
(Manolo Nieto, Uruguay/Argentina/Brazil/France, 2021, 110 min. In Spanish, Portuguese, and French with English subtitles. Premiere in the United States)
In his third feature film, Uruguayan writer-director Manolo Nieto (La Perrera, El Lugar del son) continues his insightful and provocative analysis of class conflict with a slow-burn drama set in the countryside near the Brazilian border.
Acclaimed Argentine actor Nahuel Pérez Biscayart (120 BPM) plays Rodrigo, a young landowner whose most pressing concern is the health of his baby. He hires Carlos, an inexperienced teenager looking for a job to support his own newborn.
Despite the growing connection between them, an unexpected event will test their bond and put their families in danger.
Monday, February 28, 8:45 pm
THE HAPPINESS OF THINGS / A FELICIDADE DAS COISAS
(Thais Fujinaga, 2021, Brazil, 87 min. In Portuguese with English subtitles. North American premiere)
During a sweltering summer, Paula, who is well ahead of her pregnancy, heads to a remote beach house with her two children and her mother.
Paula intends to install a large swimming pool on the property, but after digging the large trench there is no money left to finish the project. Both financial and marital crises are looming.
In this first film, produced by the acclaimed Brazilian production collective Filmes de Plástico, Thais Fujinaga portrays the routines of a middle-class family, full of broken promises, in search of escape and happiness.
Preceded by DEAR CHANTAL (Nicolás Pereda, Mexico/Spain, 2021, 5 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. Premiere in the United States)
Some unanswered letters, an apartment for rent in the Coyoacán neighborhood of Mexico City, a painting that has not quite found its place, and reflections on cinema and life.
Nicolas Péreda’s latest film is a moving tribute to filmmaker Chantal Akerman.
Monday, February 28, 6:15 pm (with the presence of Thais Fujinaga)
ME AND THE BEASTS
(Nico Manzano, Venezuela, 2021, 78 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. North American premiere)
Andrés is a frustrated musician who still lives with his mother and is unhappy at his job. To make matters worse, he is kicked out of his gang due to political differences with the other members.
Meanwhile, Venezuela’s economic crisis worsens, and many of his friends flee the country in search of opportunities abroad. One day, he meets two mysterious masked beings who inspire him to compose music.
This feature debut from director Nico Manzano, who also wrote the film’s songs and served as cinematographer, is a deadpan comedy about finding meaning in the least expected places.
Saturday, February 26, 6:45pm
(Anita Rocha da Silveira, Brazil, 2021, 127 min. In Portuguese with English subtitles. Premiere in New York)
During the day, a band of teenage women dedicates themselves to praying, choreographing, singing, and recording videos for social networks. At night, wearing white masks, they chase sinful women and punish them by cutting off their faces, a mark of eternal damnation.
Against the darkness of the night and the glare of neon lights, the visionary sequel to Kill Me Please by Anita Rocha da Silveira reinterprets the myth of Medusa in a conservative, misogynistic, and Bolsonarist Brazil.
A selection from the 2021 Cannes Film Festival Directors’ Fortnight. Film distributed by Music Box Films.
Friday, February 25, 6:15 pm (with the presence of Anita Rocha da Silveira)
MY BROTHER DREAM AWAKE
(Claudia Huaiquimilla, Chile, 2021, 85 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. Premiere in New York)
Winner of the Best Film Awards at the Guadalajara and Valdivia film festivals, the second feature film by Mapuche director Claudia Huaiquimilla tells the story of Ángel and his younger brother Franco, who is imprisoned in a juvenile prison.
Despite the difficulties, they have formed a group of friends with whom they spend their days sharing dreams of freedom. Everything changes when the arrival of a young rebel offers a possible escape route.
Inspired by real events, the film features a cast that includes non-professional actors Iván Cáceres and César Herrera and renowned actress Paulina García (Gloria).
Sunday, February 27, 8:30 pm
(Sofía Bordenave, Argentina, 2021, 73 min. In English with Spanish subtitles. International premiere)
A prominent Bolshevik physician and philosopher once envisioned a communist future on Mars. This film essay by Sofía Bordenave travels back in time, revisiting the places where the Russian Revolution took place a hundred years ago, from different current perspectives: Katya recounts the events on the Champ de Mars in Saint Petersburg, while Nikita and Karl move across the rooftops of the city in search of historical traces.
Red Star brings the past to the present, stopping at the moment when “the future was infinite.” Winner of the Critics Award for Best Debut Film at the Mar del Plata Film Festival.
Preceded by SOL DE CAMPINAS (Jessica Sarah Rinland, 2021, Brazil, 26 min. In Portuguese with English subtitles. North American premiere)
This film brings to light the work of a group of archaeologists carrying out excavations in a square in a Brazilian city. The earth and the objects go from the ground to the laboratory, fragments that keep the memory of a people.
Saturday, February 26, 4 pm (with the presence of Sofía Bordenave and Jessica Sarah Rinland)
THE SKY IS RED
(Francina Carbonell, Chile, 2021, 75 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. Premiere in the United States)
Francina Carbonell’s powerful feature debut uses security camera footage, archival audio, and existing documents, all part of a court file, to tell the story of the 2010 fire at San Miguel prison in Santiago, Chile, which killed 81 persons.
“I feel that the officers who were working then executed our children, sentenced them to death,” says a voice in one of the recordings.
“A group of people who didn’t open the doors at the right time, who didn’t have their protocols under control, who didn’t even know who was in the tower.” Through the smoke, The Sky Is Red extrapolates images, mixes temporalities, and makes the invisible visible: the daily life of those who have already lost the right to everything.
Preceded by LOS HUESOS
(Cristóbal León and Joaquín Cociña, Chile, 2021, 14 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. Premiere in the United States)
Winner of the Best Short Film Award at the Venice Film Festival, this stop-motion animated film narrates the exhumation of corpses for an expiatory ritual that seeks to liberate Chile from its authoritarian and oligarchic past.
Friday, February 25, 9:15 pm
(Natalia Garayalde, Argentina, 2020, 70 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. Premiere in the United States)
In November 1995, 12-year-old Natalia Garayalde used a video camera to capture a large explosion at a nearby military factory in her hometown of Río Tercero.
The accident, which destroyed part of the city, left seven dead, more than 300 injured, and became a major political scandal by exposing a cover-up: the sale of missiles from Argentina to Croatia and Ecuador.
Decades later, director Garayalde revisits that archive material to tell a moving story of memory, family, and history.
His powerful feature debut has won numerous awards, including the Jeonju Film Festival Grand Prix for Best Film and the Cinema Tropical Award for Best Documentary.
Preceded by TRAMPA DE LUZ
(Pablo Marín, Argentina, 2021, 9 min. North American premiere)
A fragment of the world offered to light, the very essence of life, shot on Super-8mm film.
“Insubstantial, sacred and closed fire, earthly fragment exposed to light.” (Paul Valéry, The Cemetery by the Sea). Winner of the Online Main Prize at the Oberhausen International Short Film Festival.
Sunday, February 27, 6:15 pm (with the presence of Natalia Garayalde)