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LatinoBuzzz: MoMa’s Iberoamérican Images: The State of the Art

LatinoBuzzz: MoMa's Iberoamérican Images: The State of the Art

Providing a glimpse into the vast landscape of Iberoamerican cinema and its artists, MoMa’s eclectic selection of films for their biannual showcase is
truly enlightening. These year’s collection features some works that received distribution and critical acclaimed and others that have been outstandingly
successful in the festival circuit, creating an opportunity for audiences to connect with films they might have missed and others that are shown in the
American market.

Staying away from the obvious choices, these gems are films that represent a special perspective within the Iberoamerican collective narrative. Personal
stories about heritage, social change, and family, delivered in ways that make innovative use of the medium both in terms of content and form. Working in
over 20 countries the Ibermedia organization has been instrumental for the development of these and many other films across the Americas, Spin and
Portugal, and this small but artistically impressive retrospective aims to continuously honor their efforts.

This fantastic film exhibition started on May 1st, and continues through May 14th. Below are some of the most notable titles, but in
all honesty anything playing here is worth the price of admission.

Palabras Magicas (Para romper un encantamiento)/ Magic Words (Breaking a Spell)

Dir. Mercedes Moncada Rodríguez

Morphing breathtaking vistas of Nicaragua into poignant visual
metaphors, Mercedes Moncada Rodriguez weaves together fragments of her
country’s torturous
past and its forgotten beauty to form a riveting portrait of her
homeland. Using July 19, 1979 – the fateful first day of the Sandinista
Revolution – as
connecting point between old wounds and an the uncertain future, the
filmmaker creates a poetic documentary adorned with evocative
narration. The archive
footage blends with carefully chosen imagery to make the sense lost
hope and broken promises even more prominent. Beyond the historical
importance it
carries, this is a stunning revelation of a film.


Dir. Pablo Larraín

This Academy Award-nominated film
by Pablo Larrain uses a peculiar visual style to tackle the crucial
role of the media to create social change. It is an extremely
entertaining work that
seamlessly juxtaposes the visual style of the 80′s with contemporary
cinematic language. The piece has a powerful message of unity, and it’s
truthful to
the history of the Chilean nation. Gael Garcia Bernal is riveting,
besides nailing the Chilean accent, his character resonates as a torn
man who finds no
closure or national identity even after achieving success. His work
in advertising serves the same purpose for capitalist marketing and
campaigns. Based on the real life events that help end the Pinochet
regime, this is, above all, a story about incredible results from the
most improbable
of circumstances.

La Sirga (The Towrope)

Dir. William Vega

With a naturalist aesthetic that highlights the captivating setting and the hyperrealist characters, La Sirga is
a delicately crafted new
take on the coming-of-age tale. Alicia has just lost her parents at
the hands of criminals that lurk around these remote towns in the Andes.
She finds
shelter with her uncle Don Oscar, and slowly begins to familiarize
herself with the locals, their legends, and their fears. Darkness and
the quiet sounds
of the night slowly reveal the true nature of each character and
their unspoken desires. Each silent moment in this film is as important
as every line of
dialogue. William Vega’s minimalist study of human relations in an
isolated community is shot with impressive attention to the composition
of each frame
and the emotion it conveys.

La Demora (The Delay

Dir. Rodrigo Plá

Intimate and touching, this bittersweet love letter to parents and their
children focuses on a single mother of three who must also take care of
her elderly father, who is not lucid enough to fend for himself. At the
end if her rope, making very little money, and juggling all her
obligations Maria decides to take drastic measures, which she soon
regrets. This tiny Uruguayan gem relies on topnotch performances and the
honesty of it story. Love is understood here not in magical and perfect
terms, but as a mixture sacrifice, patience, and willingness to

Yvy Maraey: Tierra Sin Mal (Yvy Maraey: Land Without Evil

Dir. Juan Carlos Valdivia

Essentially a narrative feature that borrows heavily from more sensorial
and experimental works, this unclassifiable film set in Bolivia ponders
on past wounds and the fervent collision between those of European
descent and the indigenous people. Focusing on a filmmaker’s journey
following the steps of researcher Erland Nordeskiold by the hand of
Guarani Indian, this is a film about the concepts and images that are
encrypted in the post-colonial history of Latin America. The concept is
at the intersection of scripted drama and Cinéma vérité and it offers
mysticism and insightful social commentary.

La Jaura de Oro (The Golden Dream)

Dir. Diego Quemada-Díez

Among the vast and redundant collection of tales dealing with illegal
immigration, very few can claim to be unique. Given that there are some
qualities to these stories, it takes an assertive new voice to
infuse the subject matter with honesty. Spanish director Diego
Quemada-Díez’ La Jaula de
, is perhaps the most poetic, and neo-realist film about the
struggles of people searching for a better future thousands of miles
away from home at any
cost. There are twists and turns in the plot that make for a
satisfying, often heartbreaking viewing experience. Three Guatemalan
kids on their way to the
live the capitalist dream become trapped in a nightmarish reality as
they travel though Mexico. They have nothing to lose but their lives. 

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