UWM’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Union Programming, Union Theatre and Department of Film present the 34th Annual Latin American Film Series April 13-20 at the Union Theatre. Admission is free.
Films are shown in their original languages with English subtitles; they are not rated and many include adult content.
For more information, phone the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at 414-229-5986 or visit www4.uwm.edu/clacs/filmseries.
Friday, April 13:
Uruguay, 85 min., directed by Daniel Hendler
For the 30-something Norberto, life does not seem to be all that he has expected. No longer content with his job or his marital arrangements, he attempts to immerse himself in an entirely different lifestyle, taking acting workshops for beginners to improve his confidence and trying to fit in with the younger crowd that he meets there. A hilarious story of what happens when we are not honest with ourselves and those we love. 7 p.m.
Saturday, April 14:
“NOSTALGIA FOR THE LIGHT”
Chile, 2011, 90 min., directed by Patricio Guzmán
The Atacama Desert of Northern Chile is best known as a paradise for astronomers and stargazers. Its landscape is ideal for sky viewing due to its high altitude, dry air and lack of light pollution. However, not often mentioned is that the Pinochet dictatorship discarded many of its deceased political prisoners in the same territory. This is the latest installment of the critical documentaries produced by the famed director. 7 p.m.
“JUAN OF THE DEAD (JUAN DE LOS MUERTOS)”
Cuba, 2011, 100 min., directed by Alejandro Brugués
Juan, an unemployed outcast, and his close friends form a zombie-killing business in Havana amidst a chaotic modern-day coup d’etat led by the living dead. Cuba’s first full-fledged zombie thriller is gruesome, but also features subtle Cuban idiosyncrasies, many political commentaries on U.S.-Cuba relations and a critique of the 1959 revolution. 9 p.m.
Sunday, April 15:
“THE GOOD HERBS (LAS BUENAS HIERBAS)”
Mexico, 2010, 117 min., directed by María Novaro
Since pre-Columbian times, the use of medicinal plants to heal the body and the soul has been a tradition in Mexico, and Lala knows this very well. Unfortunately, they have never been of great interest to her daughter, Dahlia, a single mom trying to raise her small son on her own. Lala is forced to come to terms with the fact that she is slipping away as her Alzheimer’s disease progresses and with the need to pass along her knowledge to a daughter who is desperately trying to save her. 4:30 p.m.
“CHINESE TAKE-AWAY (UN CUENTO CHINO)”
Argentina, 2011, 93 min., directed by Sebastián Borensztein
In Buenos Aires, Roberto, the embittered owner of a hardware store, spends his days collecting bizarre worldwide news and evading Mari, the woman who loves him. One day, while watching planes land at the airport, he witnesses a Chinese émigré, Jun, being expelled from a taxi. After a fruitless search for Jun’s uncle, Roberto takes him in and – with the help of a delivery boy who speaks Chinese – learns the dramatic story of Jun’s life. 7 p.m.
Monday, April 16:
“THE GIFT OF PACHAMAMA (EL REGALO DE LA PACHAMAMA)”
Bolivia, Japan, 2008, 102 min., directed by Toshifumi Matsushita
On Bolivia’s inland salt sea (the Salar de Uyuni), 13-year-old Kunturi and his family hand-cut bricks of salt, which they use to barter for goods. It is not an easy life, but still rich with friends and family. When Kunturi’s grandmother falls ill, his father decides to take him on the almost four-month journey along the salt trail (the Ruta de la Sal) to see her. As tragedy and joy commingle, Kunturi is forced to confront the complexities of adult life, including death, suffering and his first love – the most powerful of all. 7 p.m.
Tuesday, April 17:
“KAREN CRIES ON THE BUS (KAREN LLORA EN UN BUS)”
Colombia, 2011, 98 min., directed by Gabriel Rojas Vera
Karen, a woman in her 30s, realizes that she has spent the last 10 years of her life in a loveless marriage, so she decides to walk away from it to finally seek an identity of her own. With her savings, she rents a tiny apartment in the center of Bogotá, but she soon begins to run into some obstacles. With no friends, her money gone and few job prospects, Karen soon resorts to everything from stealing apples from fruit stalls to begging for change at bus stops. An endearing tale of finding freedom, facing the challenges that come along with it and starting over. 7 p.m.
Wednesday, April 18:
“DAY OF BLACK (DIA DE PRETO)”
Brazil, 2011, 90 min., directed by Marcos Felipe, Daniel Mattos and Marcial Renato
Set in Brazil during both the 17th century and the modern era, this film explores the continuing struggles for freedom faced by Brazilians of African descent. It begins with the story of the first black slave to be freed in Brazil. The plot then shifts to portray a contemporary allegory in which the black man is the driver for a wealthy family. Involved with the daughter of his boss and the theft of a sacred relic, he spends a crazy night in a mall facing a series of bizarre characters. After a journey of life and death, our hero learns that there are times when the night is dreadful, and that some stories never end. 7 p.m.
Thursday, April 19:
“GRANITO: HOW TO NAIL A DICTATOR”
U.S., Guatemala, 2011, 103 min., directed by
“Granito” follows the process by which director Yates and her team attempt to use the 1983 film “When the Mountains Tremble” as evidence to prosecute Guatemalan leaders for genocide within the international justice system. Part political thriller, part memoir, the film transports us back in time through a riveting, haunting tale of impunity. The director returns the audience to the present with a cast of characters joined by destiny and the quest to bring a malevolent dictator to justice. The characters become integral to the overarching narrative – of wrongs done and fairness sought – that they have pieced together, each adding their “granito,” their tiny grain of sand, to the epic tale. 7 p.m.
Friday, April 20:
Argentina, Benin, 2011, 96 min., directed by Pablo César
Shantas is a young delinquent living in the shantytowns on the outskirts of Buenos Aires. He has just professed to the Orishá religion, and he survives the streets with two weapons: a gun and the conviction that he is an immortal being. Meanwhile, across the Atlantic in Benin, West Africa, the young Babárímisá’s heart is failing and his mother, in one last desperate attempt to save his life, turns to a priestess to perform rituals and sacrifices that will restore his link to the Orishá gods. An account of two boys, two continents, one religion and a ritual that will bring their lives and the shores of these two continents together once again. 7 p.m.
The series is co-sponsored by UWM Union Sociocultural Programming; Center for International Education; Center for Women’s Studies; Urban Studies Program; Office of Diversity and Climate; Departments of Africology, Art History, Film, Film Studies and History; MALLT; Latin American and Caribbean Studies Certificate Program; and the major in Latin American, Caribbean and U.S. Latino Studies. Programming was done by Aaron Bethke-Shoemaker and Marisela Chavez-Narvaez. Presented in collaboration with the Chicago Latino Film Festival.