Sponsored by Univision Chicago, the Festival kicks-off in grand style with the Chilean box office hit, El Regalo (The Gift). This refreshing comedy stars Nelson Villagra as Francisco, a depressed widower who is given the gift of a short vacation by his best friends. The trip will yield unexpected turns that will change their lives forever. Directors Cristian Galaz and Andrea Ugalde will be in attendance. A cocktail reception and live entertainment will follow the screening.
Film: 6:00 p.m. – AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois, Chicago
Reception: 8:00 p.m. – River East Art Center, 435 E. Illinois, Chicago
Tickets: $75 General/$60 ILCC Member
Proudly presented by the International Latino Cultural Center, the Chicago Latino Film Festival celebrates its first quarter-century with over 100 feature and short films in an array of genres–fiction, documentary, animation, drama and comedy. The Festival runs April 17-29 and is considered the oldest and most comprehensive Latino film festival in the country. The film selections continue to reflect the great diversity of the Latino culture from the United States, Latin America, the Caribbean, Portugal, and Spain.
“I truly believe the Festival is a jewel for the City of Chicago that has contributed greatly to its positioning as a world-class city. For the past 25 years, I’ve committed myself to sharing the Latino culture with Chicagoans by highlighting the work of our artists and making a stand against discrimination. At this moment, I can proudly speak on behalf of everyone who has helped me, that we have a great achievement to celebrate!” expressed Pepe Vargas, Founder and Executive Director of the International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago and Director of the Chicago Latino Film Festival.Continue reading »
Full of campy, low-budget fun, Mirageman finds local bouncer and martial arts expert Maco Gutiérrez stumbling on a robbery in progress. After bravely thwarting the heist, Maco dons one of the criminals’ blue ski masks to rescue a damsel in distress. Empowered by his brush with vigilante justice, he decides to embark on a one-man quest to make the streets of Santiago safe and inspire hope in his mentally unstable little brother. But superhero living is not quite as simple as Maco assumed. 90 min. Spanish with English subtitles.
Big in heart and cheerfully zealous in its examination of an unconventional family unit, Lokas tells the story of nineyear-old Pedro, his homophobic single father, and the pair’s adjustment to moving in with Pedro’s gay grandfather. Showing great affection for its vibrant Chilean locations and colorful characters, this amusing charmer is more concerned what it means to be a responsible man in this world than what it means to be straight or gay. 90 min. Spanish with English subtitles.
THE SKY, THE EARTH AND THE RAIN / EL CIELO, LA TIERRA Y LA LLUVIA
José Luis Torres Leiva
Intoxicating visuals highlight this meditation on loneliness and isolation. Torres Leiva is an artist with the camera, and in effect he paints a hushed portrait of a few interconnected characters searching for love or sex or familial affection against the rain-soaked rural coast of Chile. Like any great painting, the viewers are challenged to fill in the blanks of the story. That the young director entrusts his audience with this task is refreshing. 110 min. Spanish with English subtitles.
Special advance screening THE JUDGE AND THE GENERAL 2008, Elizabeth Farnsworth and Patricio Lanfranco, USA, 84 min.
In 1998, relatives of “disappeared” victims brought suit against former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet (who had granted himself immunity). The case fell by lot to Judge Juan Guzmán, a conservative and Pinochet supporter. In Chile, judges also investigate the cases they try, and what Guzmán uncovered (in his words) “opened the eyes of my soul,” culminating in a dogged effort to bring the elusive general to justice. A potent combination of detective story and political history, THE JUDGE AND THE GENERAL raises issues of torture, rendition, and unbridled executive power that are all too relevant in America today.
For additional information, see: West Wind Productions. Discussion to follow moderated by Jim Lehrer, with Producer/Director Elizabeth Farnsworth and Judge Juan Guzmán
About the film: When in 1998 Chilean judge Juan Guzmán was assigned the first criminal cases against the country’s ex-dictator, General Augusto Pinochet, no one expected much.
Guzmán had supported Pinochet’s 1973 coup — waged as an anti-Communist crusade — that left the democratically elected president, Salvador Allende, and thousands of others dead or “disappeared.” The filmmakers trace the judge’s descent into what he calls “the abyss,” where he uncovers the past — including his own role in the tragedy. “The Judge and the General” reveals one of the 20th century’s most notorious episodes and tells a cautionary tale about violating human rights in the name of “higher ideals.”
In 2005, Guzmán received the prestigious Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award in Washington, DC. For more than 30 years, the Institute for Policy Studies has hosted this awards program in the names of two colleagues, Orlando Letelier and Ronni Karpen Moffitt, who were assassinated by agents of Pinochet in 1976. (Save the date for this year’s Letelier-Moffitt awards program: Wednesday, October 15.)
“See the movie if you get a chance, even just for a break from the cynicism of everyday life.”
– Phil Bronstein, editor at large of the San Francisco Chronicle“It’s disturbing to see how many citizens remain pro-Pinochet hardliners. Their purple-faced
fury over diminished power lends this nonfiction chronicle a sharp villainous
element even beyond the Pinochet regime itself.”
– Dennis Harvey, Variety
“Even those with only the slightest interest in Chilean politics will find themselves caught up in the story of judge Juan Guzman and his search for the truth behind the accusations of human-rights violations leveled against former leader Augusto Pinochet.” – The Onion
“Who could imagine a scenario more compelling than The Judge and the General?
– Gregg Rickman, SF Weekly
About the filmmakers:
Elizabeth Farnsworth, Producer/Director
Elizabeth Farnsworth was chief correspondent and principal
substitute anchor on PBS’s The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer from 1995-2000. She then became a senior correspondent, reporting mostly from overseas. She now freelances for The NewsHour and makes documentaries. Patricio Lanfranco, Producer/Director Patricio Lanfranco, a Chilean citizen living in Santiago, has been a researcher and producer for two decades. As senior producer of the news department of Chilean National TV (TVN), he produced the live television coverage of the 1995 trial of Manuel Contreras, former chief of Pinochet’s secret police, for the 1976 Washington, D.C. murder of Orlando Letelier. Letelier worked at the Institute for Policy Studies at the time of his assassination. Because of the broadcast, Chileans were able for the first time to watch attorneys present evidence in an official setting of human rights crimes committed by the secret police.
The Judge and the General airs nationally on the PBS series P.O.V. August 19, 2008. Check your local listings for the PBS station in your city.