35th Annual Latin American Film Series

UWM’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Union Programming, Union Theatre and Department of Film present the 35th Annual Latin American Film Series April 12-19 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 uwm.edu/clacs/filmseries

Opening Night

Friday, April 12:

“Clandestine Childhood (Infancia clandestina)”
Argentina, 2012, 112 min., Blu-ray, directed by Benjamin Ávila

“Clandestine Childhood” April 12

Argentina, 1979 – After years of exile, young Juan and his family come back to Argentina under false identities. Juan’s parents and uncle are members of the Montoneros Organization, which is fighting against the military junta that rules the country. They are being tracked relentlessly, and the threat of capture and even death is very real. However, Juan’s daily life is also full of warmth and humor. His friends at school know him as Ernesto, a name he must not forget, since his family’s survival is at stake. Juan follows all of his parents’ rules until one day he is told that they need to move again at once, and he must leave his friends without an explanation. A story about militancy, undercover life and love: the story of a clandestine childhood. 7 p.m.

Saturday, April 13:

“Light After Darkness (Post Tenebras Lux)”
Mexico, 2012, 115 min., directed by Carlos Reygadas

“Light After Darkness” April 13

The story of an upscale, urban family whose move to the Mexican countryside results in domestic crises and class friction. Director Reygadas conjures a host of unforgettable, ominous images: a haunting sequence at dusk where his real-life daughter wanders a muddy field with farm animals circling loudly as thunder and lightning threaten; a glowing red demon gliding through the rooms of a home; a husband and wife visiting a swingers’ bathhouse with rooms named after famous philosophers. Both entrancing and mystifying, “Post Tenebras Lux” intensely explores the primal conflicts of the human condition. 7 p.m.

Sunday, April 14:

“The Tiniest Place” April 14

“The Tiniest Place (El lugar más pequeño)”
El Salvador, 2012, 100 min., directed by Tatiana Huezo
Nestled in the mountains rising from the humid jungle lies Cinquera, a village literally wiped off the map during El Salvador’s 12-year civil war. The villagers, survivors of the war’s massacres, recount their journeys home at war’s end. When they first returned, Cinquera no longer existed, but they decided to stay. Over the years, as they worked the land, built new homes and started new families, the people of Cinquera learned to live with the sorrow of the past. 5 p.m.

“White Elephant (Elefante blanco)”
Argentina, 2012, 110 min., directed by Pablo Trapero
Julian and Nicolas, two priests and longtime friends, work tirelessly to help the local people of the “Villa Virgin,” a shantytown in the slums of Buenos Aires. Julian uses his political connections to oversee the construction of a hospital. Nicolas joins him following the failure of a project he was leading in the jungle, after paramilitary forces assassinated members of the community. Deeply troubled by this, Nicolas finds a little comfort in Luciana, a young, attractive, atheist social worker. As Nicolas’ faith weakens, tension and violence between the drug-dealing slum cartels grow, and when work on the hospital is halted by ministerial decree, the narrative fuse is lit and ready to explode. 7 p.m.

Monday, April 15:

“Chinese Take-Away (Un cuento chino)”
Argentina, 2011, 93 min., directed by Sebastián Borensztein

“Chinese Take-Away” April 15

In Buenos Aires, Roberto, the embittered owner of a hardware store, spends his days collecting bizarre global news and evading Mari, the woman who loves him. One day, while watching planes land at the airport, Roberto sees a Chinese émigré, Jun, being expelled from a taxi. After a fruitless search for Jun’s uncle, Roberto grudgingly takes him in – and, with the help of a delivery boy who speaks Chinese – learns the dramatic story of Jun’s life. 2012 Latin American Film Series Audience Favorite.
7 p.m.

“The Towrope (La sirga)”
Colombia, 2013, 88 min., directed by William Vega

“The Towrope” April 15

Alice is restless. Memories of war invade her mind like menacing thunder. Uprooted by an armed conflict, she tries to reshape her life in La Sirga, a decadent hostel on the shores of a great lake in the highlands of the Andes Mountains. There, on a swampy and murky beach, she will try to settle down…until her fears and the threat of war resurface again. 9 p.m.

Tuesday, April 16:

Bonsái
Chile, 2011, 95 min., directed by Cristián Jiménez
An aspiring scribe named Julio meets with Gazmuri, an established writer who needs someone to type up the manuscript of his latest novel. Julio applies but does not get the job. Instead of confessing this to Blanca, his neighbor and lover, he decides to make believe he is transcribing Gazmuri’s work – when actually he is writing a novel of his own. Searching for a plot, Julio turns to the romance he had eight years earlier with Emilia, when both were studying literature in the Chilean coastal city of Valdivia. 7 p.m.

“Memories of Overdevelopment (Memorias del desarrollo)”
U.S./Cuba, 2011, 113 min., directed by Miguel Coyula

“Memories of Overdevelopment” April 16

An intellectual leaves the Cuban revolution and “underdevelopment” behind, only to find himself at odds with the ambiguities of his new life in the “developed” world. This is a portrait of alienation, of an outsider with no clear-cut politics or ideology: a stranger in a strange land struggling with old age, sexual desire and, ultimately, the impossibility of the individual to “belong” in any society. Experimental in form, the narrative is constructed from a collage of flashbacks, daydreams and hallucinations. Mixing live action, animation and newsreel footage, the film suggests the subjective way in which personal memory and emotions work. 9 p.m.

Wednesday, April 17:

“Bad Intentions (Las malas intenciones)”
Peru, 2012, 110 min., directed by Rosario Garcia-Montero
Eight-year-old Cayetana is growing up in Peru during the early 1980s, and terrorist violence is starting to agitate the country. Daughter of separated parents, she spends most of the time on her own or under the care of servants. After returning from a long trip, her mother announces that she is pregnant. Cayetana’s fragile world collapses; she locks herself in her room and declares that the day her sibling is born will be the day of her own death. Only her imagination and the emergence of the Peruvian national heroes from her textbooks may save Cayetana from an increasingly alienated family environment in a country about to collapse. 7 p.m.

“The Condemned (Los condenados)”
Puerto Rico, 2013, 90 min., directed by Roberto Busó-García
Determined to restore her dying father’s reputation, Ana travels to the remote Puerto Rican town of Rosales. Decades ago, he settled there and opened his first free clinic for cancer research. He launched an illustrious medical career – and fell in love. Ana plans to celebrate her father’s scientific and humanitarian achievements by transforming the old family mansion into a world-class museum. She will preserve his legacy, and also breathe new life into Rosales. However, the townspeople – now destitute and helpless – do not greet her warmly. Neither does the house. 9 p.m.

Thursday, April 18:

“Father’s Chair (A Cadeira do Pai)”
Brazil, 2013, 93 min., directed by Luciano Moura
Theo is living the good life in an upscale Brazilian neighborhood. He’s a hardworking doctor, husband and father. However, Theo has chosen his career over his family, and little by little he discovers that his world is crumbling around him. His beloved mentor and surrogate father is dying, and his wife announces that she wants a divorce. Yet nothing prepares him for the day when he comes home to discover that his 15-year-old son, Pedro, has disappeared. As he takes to the road in search of his son, Theo discovers what really matters to him. 7 p.m.

“The Zebra (La cebra)”
Mexico, 2013, 100 min., directed by Fernando Javier León Rodríguez
During the Mexican Revolution, Leandro and Odón, two war vultures, find a zebra. They mistakenly believe it is an American horse, and begin a journey in search of General Obregón, who they assume will appoint them colonels, given their peculiar beast. After several adventures – escaping from women who enslave them; meeting General Quesada, who wants to establish a new republic; getting lost in the desert; and more – they finally reach Obregon’s troops. A colonel thinks they are Pancho Villa’s spies, and, to prove their loyalty, one must kill the other. 9 p.m.

Friday, April 19:

“Stones in the Sun”
U.S./Haiti, 2012, 95 min., directed by Patricia Benoit

“Stones in the Sun” April 19

In the midst of increasing political violence in their homeland, the lives of three pairs of Haitian refugees intersect in 1980s New York City. A haunted young woman struggling to forget the atrocities she’s experienced reunites with her husband in Brooklyn, where he barely scrapes by as a cab driver. A single mother striving for assimilation in a Long Island suburb takes in her sister (Edwidge Danticat), a teacher and political activist who is unable to reconcile their violent youth with her sister’s seemingly banal lifestyle. The young host of a popular anti-government radio show finds his estranged father, a recently ousted military leader, on his doorstep, desperate for shelter. All must confront the disturbing truths of their pasts as we slowly learn the history of their interlocked lives. 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 Global Inclusion and Engagement; Departments of Anthropology, Art History, Film, History, MALLT, Political Science, Spanish and Portuguese; 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. Presented in collaboration with the Chicago Latino Film Festival.