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Magic reel-ism

Ambassador of the Federative Republic of Brazil Rodrigo do Amaral Souza, Ambassador of the Argentine Republic Roberto Bosch, Ambassador of the Republic of Chile José Miguel Capdevila, Ambassador of the Republic of Panama Rolando Anibal Guevara Alvarado, Ambassador of the Republic of Colombia Victor Hugo Echeverri and Mexico Embassy press attaché Luis Gerardo Regalado announce “Cine Latino” film fest from Dec. 6-10 at Shangri-La Plaza.

What’s hotter than a single Latin American country holding a film festival here in the Philippines?

How about seven Latin American countries bringing their best films to our shores?

That’s happening this Dec. 6 to 10 at Shangri-La Plaza, where the Cineplex will hold “Cine Latino” — a Latin American film festival featuring, all in all, 25 films from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Panama and Venezuela.

Kicking things off Wednesday, Dec. 6, 7:30 p.m. with Argentine comedy/drama El hijo de la novia (Son of the Bride), about a successful man’s midlife crisis, the festival wraps up on Dec.10 with the award-winning Chilean drama Subterra, about the plight of 19th century coal workers.

It promises to be a wide-ranging cinematic journey through the region that gave birth to magic realism and which has so many things in common with the Philippines. Call it “magic reel-ism.”

The press got to greet Ambassador of the Argentine Republic Roberto Bosch, Ambassador of the Federative Republic of Brazil Rodrigo do Amaral Souza, Ambassador of the Republic of Chile José Miguel Capdevila, Ambassador of the Republic of Colombia Victor Hugo Echeverri and Ambassador of the Republic of Panama Rolando Anibal Guevara Alvarado (Ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Capaya Rodriguez Gonzalez and Ambassador of the United Mexican States Gerardo Lozano Arredondo were not able to attend) at the Cineplex Premier Theatre for a preview of each country’s offerings. 

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It was Ambassador Bosch who thought of joining forces as a region, having helped stage an Argentine film festival earlier in Manila. “Actually, it was too much work for me to organize myself so I decided to share some of the work with my colleagues,” he joked. “The reason is, while we have a very good group of ambassadors and personal relations with new embassies here like Colombia, we thought it would be interesting to start doing things as a group.” He notes that the Latin American embassies, which are small in scope, can “multiply what we do here and have a much bigger impact” by working together culturally. He adds that the Latin American countries share a common history — “As you know we were colonized by Iberian powers, Spain and Portugal, which were Christian-Catholic, but before that we shared indigenous populations that have migrated from different parts into our national territory as of now.” Come to think of it, that doesn’t sound much different from the background of the Philippines. “There’s a common cultural identity that we want to show to the Philippines,” the Argentine Ambassador notes.

Chilean Ambassador Capdevila noted the ’70s “Latin American Boom” in literature has led to an explosion of award-winning films from the region. “From the 1990s onward, cinema kind of picked up the post; our country and region started producing wonderful films, and the quality of these films were such that if you look at the eight main film festivals all over the world, every year you have three or four Latin American films being nominated.”  

Instead of showing one feature film to the media, the embassies mutually decided to present trailers from all the various entries — more democratic that way, we suppose. Brazil Ambassador Souza says he hopes the group film fest will be “a pilot project that the embassies can undertake again in future years.”

Watching the trailers, you can definitely see some Filipino traits in common with Latin American cinema — the yayas and sparring family members, the laughter and the tears.

In addition to the award-winning 2002 classic Cidade de Deus (City of God), Brazil will present 2 Filhos de Francisco (2 Sons of Francisco), an intriguing rags-to-riches entry about two rural brothers who make it big in the sertanejo (Brazilian country music) scene.

Argentina brings a legit comedy classic, Esperando la Carroza (Waiting for the Hearse), the kind of movie, says Ambassador Bosch, “that you get together with your relatives and say, ‘Remember that scene from Esperando la Carroza?’”

In addition to the touching elderly drama El Comienzo del Tiempo (The Beginning of  Time), Mexico will screen six acclaimed short films at the fest; Panama brings El Chance, about two Panamanian househelpers who turn the tables on their abusive rich bosses; Colombia brings a surreal journey in Sofía y el Terco (Sofia and the Stubborn), as an older married couple decide to make a change in their lives.

Colombian Ambassador Echeverri noted that while Manila and Latin America “are almost at opposite tips of the world, through cinema you can almost feel that this faraway region is much closer than you think.”

So enjoy the magic of Latin American cinema from Dec. 6 to Dec. 10, with matinee and evening screenings. Cocktails will be served during opening night, and per usual, Shangri-La Plaza Cineplex offers free tickets for screenings on a first-come, first-served basis.

 

 

 

 

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For “Cine Latino” inquiries and festival schedule, contact 370-2500 local 597 or log on to www.shangrila-plaza.com. Visit the Shang’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/shangrilaplazaofficialfanpage. Follow Shang on Instagram: @shangrilaplazaofficial.

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