Bestinau got that-
The Chicago Latino Film Festival poses a problem – a good problem, but a problem nonetheless. There are just too many interesting shows to watch, and as any cinephile won’t admit, we’re just singular bodies who can’t be in more than one place at a time.
This year’s edition presents the same dilemma, but as a holdover from deep pandemic years, select films will be available to rent and stream online, allowing for some flexibility. (Note that the virtual options are available to view in blocks: from April 22 to 26; from April 27 to May 1, and from April 30 to May 1)
Personal screenings will take place at three locations: Landmark’s Century Center Cinema, the ChiTown Movies drive-in, and Instituto Cervantes downtown. Opening night, a drive-in screening from Panamanian director Abner Benaim’s Cathedral Square (2021), will be screened in ChiTown Movies on Thursday, April 21 at 7:30 PM. In the film, a wealthy real estate agent whose son died in a freak accident begins to care for a young boy off the street.
French illustrator Aurel brings the story of Catalan cartoonist Josep Bartolí to life in the animated film Josep (2020), which includes the artist’s internment in a concentration camp during the Spanish Civil War and his longstanding love affair with artist Frida Kahlo. Most play presentations include an accompanying short film; of Josep shows Chilean filmmakers Cristóbal León and Joaquín Cociña’s The boneswhich claims to be a 1901 silent film that was “rediscovered” in the year 2023. in a relationship with at the age of 15) instrumental in the creation and, later, the revision of the country’s constitution.
Chicago Latino Film Festival
April 21 – May 1
Landmark’s Century Center Cinema, ChiTown Movies drive-in, Instituto Cervantes; $10 – $100. chicagolatinofilmfestival.org
Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria Bastón competes, both in and out of the ring, between boxing superstars Oscar De La Hoya and Julio César Chávez in The civil War (2022). The documentary argues that boxing, more than any other sport, confronts aspects of the athletes’ heritage, emphasizing the controversial dynamics between Los Angeles-born De La Hoya and Mexican-born Chávez in relation to their respective backgrounds. †
At Federico Adorno’s Boreal (2021), three men are tasked with building a fence for their boss in a remote location in the Paraguayan Chaco, where they are left with little information for weeks at a time, a situation reminiscent of Samuel Becketts waiting for godot† Celina Escher’s Documentary 2021 Fly so far also covers a long period of time without solution; the film is about a Salvadoran woman named Teodora Vásquez who served nine years of a 30-year sentence for murder after her baby was stillborn.
Internalized misogyny can be monstrous, as shown by Brazilian writer-director Anita Rocha da Silveira’s Jellyfish (2021), in which groups of devout young women attack other women they consider promiscuous or otherwise sinful. One of the attackers changes her tune when she targets herself and discovers the power inherent in those traits she once mocked. Hallucinating images reminiscent of Dario Argento (who has cited Rocha da Silveira as an influence) meet plot mechanics similar to those in careerwith musical elements thrown into the mix as well, resulting in a cross-border mix that focuses on outdated mores.
Film buffs in particular will enjoy Javier Espada’s documentary Buñuel, a surrealist filmmaker (2021), one of the special screenings taking place at the Instituto Cervantes. The closing film, Chilean director Francisca Alegría’s The cow that sang a song in the futurescreened in the ChiTown Movies drive-in is less surreal than magical-realistic in its consideration of ecological issues versus the central story centered on a dysfunctional family.
Above are just a few movies available to watch in person or virtually at the Chicago Latino Film Festival; in addition to the obvious categories, the categories defined by the festival include animation, experimental, fantasy, horror, LGBTQ+, musicals, sci-fi and thrillers. Check the festival website (chicago latinofilmfestival.org) for more information about what’s playing, how and where to watch the films, and ticket sales.