Latin film week shows unique perspective

UVic-led event showcases best in Latin American and Spanish cinema

Juan de los muertos (Juan of the Dead) is a Cuban zombie movie with a political twist. The film is being screened at Cinecenta as part of the Third Latin American and Spanish Film Week.

Juan de los muertos (Juan of the Dead) is a Cuban zombie movie with a political twist. The film is being screened at Cinecenta as part of the Third Latin American and Spanish Film Week.

Cinecenta is going south of the border for the Third Latin American and Spanish Film Week, from Sept. 18 to 23.

The event is organized by the department of Hispanic and Italian studies at the University of Victoria and showcases some of the best in Latin American cinema.

“The idea essentially is to showcase different cultures and societies of Latin America and Spain,” UVic professor Dan Russek said. “All these countries have thriving cultures. … So we’re interested in bringing these movies to Victoria that otherwise might not reach the community.”

Every night of the event features a film from a different country.

O Palhaço (The Clown) is a 2011 film from Brazilian director Selton Mello, who also stars in the film. Described as a lighthearted and nostalgic tale, the film follows a father/son travelling clown act. The son, Benjamin, begins to question if he is funny and sets out on a journey of self-discovery.

Gatos viejos (Old Cats) is a 2010 Chilean film by directors Sebastián Silva and Pedro Peirano. The dramatic film explores family relations, the generation gap and misplaced expectations through its story of an aging couple living in simplicity when their daughter and her lesbian lover come to visit with a get-rich scheme.

On the Thursday night is Trisha Ziff’s La Maleta Mexicana (The Mexican Suitcase), a documentary about the recovery in 2007 of 4,500 photograph negatives taken during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939).

Stephanie Boyd’s Operación Diablo (The Devil Operation) is screening on the Friday night. This documentary focuses on Father Marco Arana, a priest in Peru who spent two decades defending mountain farmers from a U.S.-owned gold mine.

Proceeds from this screening will go to Mosqoy, a Canadian charity, founded by a former UVic student, promoting social justice and cultural rights in the Peruvian Andes.

Cuban film Juan de los Muertos (Juan of the Dead) is director Alejandro Brugués’ comedic, action-packed take on the zombie genre, with a political twist. Citizens are violently attacking one another in Cuba. The government says dissidents paid by the U.S. government are to blame, but Juan, a 40-year-old Havana man, sets out to find the truth.

The week finishes off with the Sunday night screening of Un Cuento Chino (A Chinese Tale) by Argentinian director Sebastián Borensztein. Starring Ricardo Darín (The Secret in Their Eyes), this film centres on a hardware store owner who helps a young man from China search for his uncle.

It can be hard to describe, but Russek said that Latin American movies have a certain flavour to them that distinguishes them from other international cinema.

“Some bittersweetness about life, I would say,” Russek said. “Life can be hard in Latin America. The social problems, the drug trafficking, inequality. … And that … sinks into their work without being didactic or pedagogical.”

Even the comedies typically have something to say about social issues or the Latin American experience, Russek said.

“They’re not shallow comedies. … There’s some bite, some darkness.”

Show times for all films are 7 and 9 p.m. All screenings are at Cinecenta (3800 Finnerty Rd.). All films will be screened with English subtitles.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Rebecca Lang of Any Thyme Gardening installed a seed exchange library in front of her home on Beechwood Avenue. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Victoria gardeners scramble to create local seed exchanges

Fairfield resident’s seed exchange an instant hit

On Feb. 27, a construction vehicle remained on the site of the former encampment between the Pat Bay Highway and McKenzie Avenue as part a clean-up effort. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Encampment between Pat Bay Highway, McKenzie Avenue cleared, all residents relocated

Efforts to disband encampment resumed after January fire

Sooke resident Nathan Hanson popped both his driver’s side tires on a pothole near a construction site on Sooke Road. Hanson said he was following a line of traffic and was just before the 17 Mile Pub when he drove over the pothole. (Photo contributed/Nathan Hanson)
Driver blows two tires on pothole near construction site on Sooke Road

Ministry of Transportation says keeping highways in good condition a priority

Environment Canada has issued a wind warning for Greater Victoria, with winds expected to get up to 70 km/h Friday morning. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Wind warning promises blustery Friday for Greater Victoria

Winds up to 70 km/h expected Friday morning

Passengers in rows 13 to 19 on Air Canada Jazz flight 8069 from Vancouver to Victoria Feb. 28 were exposed to a case of COVID-19. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
COVID-19 exposure found on flight from Vancouver to Victoria

Passengers in rows 13 to 19 on Air Canada Jazz flight 8069 Feb. 28 affected

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of March 2

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: How’s your butter?

Recent reports have some Canadians giving a second look to one of… Continue reading

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

The intersection of Melrose Street and Third Avenue. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Suspect in custody after two pedestrians struck in Port Alberni hit and run

RCMP asking for video footage, credit witnesses for quick arrest

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

Comox Valley RCMP had access to 20 Street blocked off between Cousins and Choquette avenues as they conducted a raid of a house on the block. Photo by Terry Farrell
Comox Valley RCMP raid Courtenay problem house, several arrests made

Comox Valley RCMP conducted a raid of a problem house on 20th… Continue reading

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

A Cowichan Valley mom is wondering why masks haven’t been mandated for elementary schools. (Metro Creative photo)
B.C. mom frustrated by lack of mask mandate for elementary students

“Do we want to wait until we end up like Fraser Health?”

Most Read