Chicago Latino Film Fest announces lineup of films

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Chicago Latino Film Festival announces their lineup for their 36th anniversary. The festival will shift to a virtual format and will take place from September 18-27.

Since the beginning, the Chicago Latino Film Festival has consistently presented a significant number of features and short films that throw a spotlight on the continent’s diverse indigenous cultures.

Until recently, most of these films were hardly ever seen outside of niche festivals like ours. But that began to change with the commercial release in this country of such critically acclaimed and award-winning films like Jayro Bustamante’s Ixcanul and Ciro Guerra’s Embrace of the Serpent. From the inspiring tale of a group of Aymará women who set to climb South America’s highest peak to a Shakespearean tale of revenge in the quarries of Arequipa, these five films are just but a sample of the many indigenous stories you will find at this year’s Festival.


ALSO READ: Reeling LGBTQ+ International Film Festival lineup


2019 | 79 min 
Directed by  Bahman Tavoosi
Spanish and Aymara w/ English Subtitles

For decades, a retired schoolteacher on a remote village high on the Andes has been sharing with tourists her story of how she fed Ernesto “Ché” Guevara a bowl of soup and how he rewarded her with a poem hours before his execution. But as the government prepares to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his death, more women step forward claiming the story as their own. Shot mostly as a series of still lives and featuring an enveloping sound design, Tavoosi’s feature film debut is reminiscent of Kiarostami’s work in its poetic portrait of a community left behind by history.

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2019 | 90 min 
Directed by  Christopher Walker 
Spanish w/ English Subtitles

Home to a dozen tribes, 70% of Ecuador’s Amazon has been divided into oil blocks. Twenty-five years after recording how one of these tribes, the Waorani, fearlessly resisted the exploitation of these sacred lands, documentary filmmaker Christopher Walker returns to tell the story of how they organized to fight president Rafael Correa’s decision to end a moratorium on oil drilling in Yasuni Park. Filmed over three years, “Spears from All Sides” couldn’t be more relevant given the recent rash of forest fires that ravaged a significant portion of the Amazon.

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2019 | 80 min 
Directed by Jaime Murciego, Pablo Iraburu
Spanish and Aymara w/ English Subtitles

They used to cater to the mostly male mostly mountaineers that scaled the high peaks of the Andes, until they decided to try it on their own. Wearing their traditional Aymara outfits, these five indigenous women will overcome every obstacle Mother Nature throws at them as they climb Argentina’s Aconcagua, at 22,808 feet, the highest mountain in the Americas. Murciego’s and Iraburu’s documentary is an awe-inspiring portrait of bravery and empowerment.

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2019 | 90 min 
Directed by David David
Spanish and Wayuunaiki w/ English Subtitles

Amid a political crisis in the border between Colombia and Venezuela, Diana, a young pregnant Wayuu woman, her brother and her husband make a living robbing those travelers who illegally cross it. After her brother and husband are killed during a botched robbery attempt, Diana has no choice but to fend for herself as she gets lost in a series of mysterious dreams. Shot with natural light and on minimal locations, in David David’s feature debut the border is more than a physical space: it is also metaphysical.

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2019 | 92 min 
Directed by  Miguel Barreda
Spanish w/ English Subtitles

Juan, the young son of a stone cutter in the quarries of Arequipa, witnesses his father’s apparently accidental death. He suspects his uncle Carlos of being behind it. When he finds out that his mother Gabriela is having an affair with Carlos, Juan, like Hamlet before him, decides to take matters into his own hands. Barreda’s film is more than a very Peruvian take on Shakespeare’s classic; it is also a critique of the country’s impunity and the abuses suffered by workers in such risk-prone jobs as mining.

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