2014

Habi, The Foreigner

Habi, la extranjera

Analía is a 20-year-old girl from a small town in Argentina who travels to Buenos Aires to deliver some handicrafts for her mother. By chance, an address mix-up leads her to a Muslim neighbourhood where she finds herself taking part in a ritual completely unknown to her. She is given several objects that seem to harbour a mysterious message: these include a tunic, a map and a recipe in Farsi. Enthralled by the new world she has entered, Analía decides to change her identity, and she begins to dress, speak and act like a young Muslim woman.

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Illiterate - Chilean Spotlight Screening

Las analfabetas

Ximena is an illiterate woman in her fifties (played by Paulina García who won the Best Actress award in Berlin for her role in Gloria) who has learned to disguise her inability to read or write. Jackeline is a young unemployed elementary school teacher who tries to convince Ximena to take classes with her. Persuading her proves to be an almost impossible task, until one day, Jackeline finds something Ximena has been keeping as her only treasure from childhood: a letter Ximena’s father left when he abandoned her many years before.

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The Palace

El palacio

The Palace follows the everyday life of seventeen women who live together in Mexico, sharing a large house for both emotional and financial reasons. They help each other train for various jobs as nannies, domestic workers and private nurses for elderly patients. Intimate and observational, the film is beautifully shot in a palette of muted blues and greys. Its pace reflects the pace of these women’s lives, vacillating between tedium and profundity. The Palace is an important addition to the oeuvre of one of Canada and Mexico’s most prolific avant-garde filmmakers.

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Gorgona, Stories on the Run

La Gorgona, historias fugadas

Twenty-five years of stories from a tropical island prison. An inmate who harvested oranges, another who clandestinely sold coconuts. A birthday in solitary confinement and a dead body on the beach. An inmate who polished shoes while another distilled moonshine in secret. Several prisoners attempted, but just one escaped; dozens of sharks lurked in the waters, but only one attacked. From 1960 to 1985, a maximum security prison operated on the paradisiacal island of Gorgona, 35km off the Pacific Coast of Colombia.

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The Quispe Girls

Las niñas Quispe

Based on a true story that occurred in 1974, The Quispe Girls is the tale of three Coya sisters, Justa, Lucía and Luciana Quispe, who live on the rugged, isolated slopes of the Chilean Altiplano. They live an intimate and solitary existence as goatherders, with minimal contact with the outside world. The recent death of a fourth sister and hushed whisperings from the south of a brutal new political regime, force the sisters into an existential quest that will threaten their entire way of life. An exquisite and haunting meditation on the profundity of loss.

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Workers

Tijuana is a city of walls, both visible and invisible. Lidia works as a housekeeper for a wealthy woman whose only concern is for her prize pooch Princess. Rafael works as a janitor in a light bulb factory. A meagre retirement looms menacingly in front of each of them. Silently and surreptitiously, they begin a battle: Rafael against a company that seeks to deny him his due and Lidia against the whim of an employer who places a dog’s well-being above her own. A carefully paced, darkly comic and intricately woven story that is both mesmerizing and quietly devastating.

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Memories of Underdevelopment

Memorias del subdesarrollo

In honour of the 55th Anniversary of the Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry (ICAIC), the Vancouver Latin American Film Festival is thrilled to present this screening of the classic Cuban film Memories of Underdevelopment. Hailed by many critics as the most sophisticated film ever to come out of Cuba, Memories of Underdevelopment is the masterpiece of visionary Cuban director and ICAIC co-founder Tomás Gutiérrez Alea. The film appears in many experts’ lists of the Top 100 films of all time.

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Who is Dayani Cristal?

Deep in the sun-blistered Sonora desert beneath a cicada tree, border police discover a decomposing male body. Lifting a tattered T-shirt, they expose a tattoo that reads “Dayani Cristal.” Who is this person? What brought him here? And who–or–what is Dayani Cristal? Following a team of dedicated staff from the Pima County Morgue in Arizona, director Marc Silver seeks to answer these questions and return an identity to this anonymous person.

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The Militant

El lugar del hijo

Uruguay 2002. Amidst nationwide strikes, Ariel, a student activist in Montevideo is informed of his father’s death. He returns to his hometown of Salto to attend the funeral. His father’s notary soon informs Ariel of his inheritance: an old dog, a house taken over by his father’s lover and a cattle ranch where the workers haven’t been paid in six months. Ariel is thrust into an unwelcome adulthood, and to escape becomes involved with the local student activist group. One of the great strengths of the film is the mesmerizing performance by Felipe Dieste.

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