Latin American series

Mexico
La Zona (The Zone, 2007)
Directed by Rodrigo Plá
Spanish with English subtitles, 91 minutes

La Zona takes its name from the gated community that boasts its own private school, security force and convictions that it can police itself. When a storm causes a power failure and knocks a billboard over the gate, three thieves sneak in to steal but end up murdering a resident. La Zona’s citizens kill two of the assailants but cover up the incidents, and between the pressures of keeping the secrets and tracking down the remaining intruder, they resort to worsening police-state tactics in the name of self-protection. Twisted values and fear-driven mob madness form the core of Rodrigo Plá’s impressive feature debut that sweeps the viewer into the horrors of vigilante justice, doing more than simply pitting the haves against the have-nots. Set within an exclusive gated community surrounded by slums in Mexico City, the film tackles issues of privilege, responsibility and group mentality in subtler ways than descriptions might convey, finishing it all off with a punch. (variety.com)

Here is a trailer for the film.

Screening on Friday, January 28th, 6:15 P.M., Zrinyi 14, room 412.

Brazil
O ano em que meus pais saíram de férias (The Year My Parents Went on Vacation, 2006)
Directed by Cao Hamburger
Portuguese, Yiddish, Hebrew with English subtitles, 104 minutes

A brutal crackdown on left-wing dissidents by Brazil’s new military dictatorship hardly registers in a country preoccupied with the 1970 World Cup. Before 12-year-old Mauro’s radical parents go into hiding, they hastily arrange for their son to stay with his estranged grandfather in Sao Paolo’s Jewish neighborhood. Unbeknownst to them, the old man has died, and Mauro finds himself alone in an alien environment where people speak an indecipherable language called Yiddish. United by a shared passion for Pelé, Mauro slowly makes friends in the ethnically diverse neighborhood and develops a bond with the old man next-door. This warmly engaging film benefits from its understated approach (it suggests rather than spells out the political turmoil), and its light, comedic tone never mitigates the drama of the central story. (The Village Voice)

Screening on Friday, February 4th, 6 P.M., Zrinyi 14, room 412.

Argentina
La historia official (The Official Story, 1985)
Directed by Luiz Puenzo
Spanish with English subtitles, 112 minutes

The Official Story is a thought-provoking, indirect yet resolute approach to the greatest Argentine tragedy of the century: the degeneration into secret genocide of the so-called ‘dirty war’ against terrorism in the mid-and late-’70s. The story takes place during 1983 in Buenos Aires. It evolves around Alicia (Norma Aleandro) and Roberto (Hector Alterio), a married couple with an adopted child, Gabi (Analia Castro). Aleandro teaches history at a private school adhering to the official textbooks, but eventually she is impressed by the investigative, revisionist spirit of some of her pupils. Significant details lead Alicia to suspect Gabi could be the offspring of a desaparecida woman. She decides to investigate, not only finding out who the parents were and who is the grandmother of her adopted daughter, but also realizing her husband is linked with both the paramilitary and the local and foreign businessmen profiting from the corruption in power circles. (variety.com)

Screening: Friday, February 11th, 6 P.M., Zrinyi 14, room 412.

Chile
Machuca (2004)
Directed by Andrés Wood
Spanish with English subtitles, 121 minutes

In 1973, in Santiago of Chile of the first socialist president democratically elected in a Latin-American country, President Salvador Allende, the principal of the Saint Patrick School, Father McEnroe makes a trial of integration between students of the upper and lower classes. The bourgeois boy Gonzalo Infante and the boy from the slum Pedro Machuca become great friends, while the conflicts on the streets leads Chile to the bloody and repressive military coup of General Augusto Pinochet on 11 September 1973, changing definitely their lives, their relationship and their country. (imdb)

Here is the trailer of the film.

Screening: Friday, 18th of February, 6 P.M., Zrinyi 14, room 412.

Peru
La teta asustada (Milk of Sorrow), 2009.
Directed by Claudia Llosa
Spanish and Quechua with English subtitles, 95 minutes.

Fausta is suffering from a rare disease called the Milk of Sorrow, which is transmitted through the breast milk of pregnant women who were abused or raped during or soon after pregnancy. While living in constant fear and confusion due to this disease, she must face the sudden death of her mother. She chooses to take drastic measures to not follow in her mother’s footsteps. (imdb.com)

Screening: this was the first film of the series, on January 21st.

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