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Foreign Languages and Literature

Foreign Languages & Literature

 

Latin American Film Festival at SIUE-2015

Aquí y Allá [Here and There] (Mexico) Dir. Antonio Mendez Esparza

October 1 Morris University Center at 5 p.m.

Synopsis:

Winner of the top prize at the Critics’ Week section of the Cannes Film Festival, Antonio Méndez Esparza’s directorial debut radiantly captures the complex homecoming of a loving father. In an unexpected take on the traditional immigrant story, Pedro returns home to a small mountain village in Guerrero, Mexico, after years of working in New York. He finds his daughters older and more distant than he imagined; his wife still has the same smile. The villagers think this year’s crop will be bountiful and there is work in a growing city nearby. But the locals are wise to a life of insecurity, and their thoughts are often of family members or opportunities far away, north of the border.

Antonio Méndez Esparza has made a most remarkable debut. Using non-professional actors, Méndez Esparza gets remarkable performances that provide a richness of nuance and detail to each of his characters going far beyond cliché and stereotype. Rarely has a film about US/Mexican border experience felt so fresh or authentic.

For more information click here.

Mr. Kaplan (Uruguay) Dir. Alvaro Brechner

October 7  & 16 Woodlland Multifunction Room at 6 p.m.

Synopsis:

Uruguay’s official selection for Best Foreign Academy Award, Mr. Kaplan follows Jacob Kaplan’s ordinary life in Uruguay. Like many of his other Jewish friends, Jacob fled Europe for South America because of World War II. But now, turning 76, he’s become rather grumpy, fed up with his community and his family’s lack of interest in their own heritage.

One beach bar may, however, provide him with an unexpected opportunity to achieve greatness and recover his family’s respect in the community: its owner, a quiet, elderly German, raises Mr. Kaplan’s suspicion of being a runaway Nazi.

Ignoring his family’s concerns about his health, Jacob secretly recruits Contreras, a former police officer whose loyalty far exceeds his honesty, to help him investigate. Together, they will try to repeat the historic capture of Adolf Eichmann: by unmasking and kidnapping the German and secretly taking him to Israel.

Rising filmmaker Álvaro Brechner’s quixotic quest strikes plenty of comedic spark from its bone-dry humor, taking great delight in the reinvigorated ingenuity and pride of its aging protagonist. Even more potently, the film never loses sight of the existential demons that haunt those on the run from their unresolved past and, ultimately, themselves.

For more information click here.

El libertador [The Liberator] (Venezuela) Dir. Alberto Arvelo

October 14  Woodlland Multifunction Room at 6 p.m.

Synopsis:

Rising Venezuelan actor Edgar Ramírez stars in this biopic of one of Latin America’s greatest figures. Simón Bolívar fought over 100 battles against the Spanish Empire in South America. He rode over 70,000 miles on horseback. His military campaigns covered twice the territory of those of Alexander the Great. But his army never conquered – it liberated.

The most expensive Latin American film ever produced, The Liberator is a riveting portrayal of the man who led Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, Peru, and Ecuador toward independence.

The Liberator was shortlisted with other eight titles for the Best Foreign Academy Award and was the favorite Venezuelan film at the local box office. The film was seen by 697,000 spectators in Venezuela.

For more information click here.

Siete Cajas [Seven Boxes] (Paraguay) Dir. Tana Schembori and Juan Carlos Maneglia

October 21 Woodlland Multifunction Room at 6 p.m.

Synopsis:

It’s Friday night in Asunción, Paraguay, and the temperature is sweltering. Víctor, a 17-year-old wheelbarrow delivery boy, dreams of fame and owning a fancy TV set from the infamous Mercado 4. He’s offered a chance to deliver seven boxes with unknown contents in exchange for a quick one hundred US dollars. But what sounds like an easy job soon becomes complicated. Something in the boxes is highly coveted and Víctor and his pursuers quickly find themselves caught up in a crime they know nothing about.

Reminiscent of Slumdog Millionare, 7 Boxes was declared a film of cultural interest by the National Secretary of Culture of Paraguay.

For more information click here.

Infancia Clandestina [Clandestine Childhood] (Argentina) Dir. Benjamin Avila

October 28 Woodlland Multifunction Room at 6 p.m.

Synopsis:

Benjamín Ávila’s Clandestine Childhood (Infancia Clandestina) is an earnestly heartfelt cine-memoir based on the director/co-writer’s own tragic early life. Argentina, 1979. After years of exile, 12-year-old Juan and his family come back to Argentina under fake identities. Juan’s parents and his uncle Beto are members of the Montoneros Organization, which is fighting against the Military Junta that rules the country. Because of their political activities they are tracked down relentlessly, and the threat of capture, and even death, is constant. However, Juan’s daily life is also full of warmth and humor, and he quickly integrates into his new environment. His friends at school and the girl he has a gigantic crush on, Maria, know him as Ernesto-a name he must not forget, since his family’s survival is at stake. Juan accepts this and follows all of his parents’ rules until one day he is told that they need to move again immediately, and leave his friends and Maria behind without an explanation.

This exceptional first feature not only captures the spirit and passion of the freedom fighters who gave their lives for a cause, but also gives voice to their children, caught in a battle that was not their own yet rising heroically to the challenge. This story about militancy, undercover life, and love is the Argentine submission for the 2013 Best Foreign-Language Academy Award.

For more information click here.

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