Image by Livio Burtscher via Flickr Creative Commons

Latin American Film Festival

By the Department of Chicano and Latin American Studies

The Department of Chicano and Latin American Studies (CLAS) has announced the second annual Latin American Film Festival. The mission of the festival is to bring to the Central Valley a series of innovative and current films that explore important social, economic and political issues in Latin America, and issues that overlap between the United States and Latin America.

The festival brings together a series of films that depict compelling stories about the complexities and variations that can be found in Latin America, a reality that the CLAS hopes students will want to explore through the new interdisciplinary major in Latin American Studies. All film screenings are free and open to all students and the general public.

This year’s Latin American Film Festival will screen five films between October 2014 and April 2015 in partnership with CineCulture. Screenings are on Fridays at 5 p.m. or 5:30 p.m. in the Peters Educational Center Auditorium of the Student Recreation Center at Fresno State. Visit www.fresnostate.edu/socialsciences/clas/ for more information.

The second Latin American Film Festival features films from two of the larger Latin American countries, Mexico and Brazil. Countries for which their influence can be felt here in the Valley and in the United States. Also included are films from some of the smaller countries. One additional film will be confirmed soon.

The festival opens on Oct. 17 with El Libertador (The Liberator). This is a beautiful Venezuela bio epic that stars the well-known actor Edgar Ramirez as Simón Bolívar. The film explores one of the most important military and political leaders of Latin America. It tells the story of the role he played in Latin America’s independence from Spanish rule. Professor Maria Lopez, a historian in the CLAS, will lead the discussion.

The second film is Nosotros los Nobles (“We Are the Nobles”), which is Mexico’s most successful film of all time. The director is rising Mexican star Gary Alazraki, whose work was influenced by the great Luis Buñuel. The film is a comedy that follows the life of a wealthy Mexican family and what happens when the father, Mexico City businessman Germán Noble, decides to teach his kids a lesson about the value of work and money. This is an entertaining comedy that provides the opportunity to discuss issues such as social class disparity that Mexico, Latin America and other countries face. Adelan Santana, an anthropologist who has worked with both international NGOs and government agencies in Mexico, Spain and the United States will lead the discussion.

On Feb. 20, 2015, the Colombian film Jardín de Amapolas (“Field of Amapolas”) directed by Juan Carlos Melo Guevara and produced by Maja Zimmerman will be screening. It tells the story of farmer Emilio and his nine-year-old son Simon. After being accused of collaborating with the enemy in the ongoing guerilla war in Colombia, Emilio and Simon are forced by rebels to leave their land. Without access to land, Emilio is forced to work in the Amapola (poppies) crop to survive. The film depicts the struggle of innocent civilians for whom it is impossible to avoid the illegal activities of a rural region that is ravaged by a seemingly endless conflict. Zimmerman will be available after the screening for Q&A.

The festival continues on March 6, 2015, with the screening of the Brazilian animated drama Rio 2096: Uma História de Amor e Fúria (“Rio 2096: A Story of Love and Fury”). The film offers a glimpse into some of the critical moments of Brazilian history through the eyes of a character who lives for almost 600 years. The film shows history as told by those who are not the victors. The director of the film, Luiz Bolognesi, will be visiting from Brazil for the screening followed by Q&A.

The CLAS is excited to welcome so many notable artists from Latin America to the Central Valley as part of this program. Having them here will create opportunities to have thought-provoking discussions about their work and the region. It is the CLAS’s goal that events such as this will provide a window for the Central Valley into Latin America.

Regarding the CLAS, contact Dr. Annabella España-Nájera, assistant professor at 559-278-3020 or aespanajera@csufresno.edu.

 

  • The Community Alliance is a monthly newspaper that has been published in Fresno, California, since 1996. The purpose of the newspaper is to help build a progressive movement for social and economic justice.

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