Festival of New Latinoamerican Cinema of La Havana. José Ramón Otero Roko.

“An imperfect cinema like it’s a dream when makes real”
José Ramón Otero Roko, FIPRESCI jury.

The Festival of New Latin American Cinema in Havana presented a long list of films in competition in its 14th edition, in which almost all of them had cinematic, artistic and social values, resulting in a complete collection of the high level of Latin American cinema in the new century and an endorsement of the hallmarks that have been building since the 70's to today.

The festival mainly hosts works reporting the conditions of life in their country brothers and equally Cuban works (three to competition) who report, humorous, controversial issues and aspects of their own society. It is a cinema, the Latin American Free deep, directed and performed from the resistance, counter cinema made its northern neighbor, with an even better technical finish and able, yet, to try and rework new aesthetic forms and ethical poetic narratives and remain valid in some areas where the market has not fully occupied the place of creation and art.

Our favorite, and winner, "Greatest Hits" (Nicolás Pereda), landed in the official section with a surprising documentary, with a start spartan scene, and an obsessive method of plot development, start laughing and reflections could then literally kill the spectators with some last final minutes absolutely empty and anti-film. The audience left the room horrified, but our mission is not to interpret the film emotionally, but to perform an overall. This time it was a circumstance that did not exhaust the fact that we had lived the remaining 80 minutes fascinated by the world of Mexican director, freshness and boldness, its disrespect for movie conventions and consistency of her rebellion regarding standardized idea of what cinema should be. In "Top Topics" working actors do not act, they are aware that they have a job to do, which is not exactly the same as a "role", and that they will be interpreted by the director, which makes something them do not know as they roll (challenges even as they recite their lines) and also does something unknown in the editing room (where else will emerge from which they have not been conscious while filming). It is easy to understand and appreciate this movie, you may think that it is just a private game and failed the author, but behind the laughter, and the calculated improvisation on the table is the fragility of the social conditions of the Mexicans, weak relationships, the difficulties of the children to get ahead, the lack of support from the state to its citizens and the denial of the identity of the parents when they can’t take care of their responsibilities. It is An imperfect cinema like it’s a dream when makes real, but it is, in my opinion, an absolutely necessary film to inspire alternative narratives to dominant story. 

That dominant narrative structure, nevertheless, can be used to subvert the messages usually incidental thereto. The three Chilean films "No" (Pablo Larrain), winner of the official competition, "The way things are" (Fernando Montero Lavanderos) and "Violet went to heaven" (Andrew Wood), the Mexican "After Lucia" ( Michel Franco) and Argentina's "White Elephant" (Pablo Trapero) left evidence of a great technical finish, with some interesting interpretations, if not master such as Francisca Gavilan in "Violet went to heaven", and a office of the directors in the service of communicating critical messages to their societies. What is at stake in these films are the ideas, wrapped in a steady hand and a well crafted narrative technique. It is a film industry whose complexity lies in the target audience you are addressing rather than seeking new artistic paths. In "No" and "White Elephant" is about to move societies that still live in fear after military dictatorships. The first attempts to explain the fall of the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet and spur young people left in the way you communicate your ideas. In "White Elephant" is for progressive ideas retrieve the field of helping the poor by the church. To value their work and denounce the complicity of the church hierarchy with professional politics. In "Things as they are" reporting is autism affluent youth about social problems. This movie does put into play especially as something less conventional narrative, acting based on working interest in the character of its protagonist with the plot unfolds at the end to find a way out of the contradictions of ethical character. "Violet went to heaven" complaint other conditions, which gives passion to art. It's an unusual job as a biopic and a successful union of music, performance and history. Finally "After Lucia" shows a great understanding of the relationships between the young upper class, has a high level of detail in bullying situations and turn away from their conclusions in a false moral lesson conveys the importance of those facts.

Remain for the final two major works which are worth stopping. The Spanish-Mexican "Here and there" (Antonio Mendez Esparza) rightly insisted on the texture of the human drama of immigration to USA. All the circumstances of the trip forced to escape poverty, the provisional nature of success and failure, of helplessness and lack of protection of migrants, are highlighted in this movie. A great truth, a realistic picture, the preciousness uncompromising aesthetic, and a look of order and no contention to become a partial approach to privacy and privileged history. This far from another Mexican film in competition "Post tenebras lux" (Carlos Reygadas) which caused great excitement at the festival and it is a work in the shadow of "The Tree of Life" (Terrence Malick) that mimics the stylistic defects on this and dilutes the stamp of veracity Reygadas's film in a story artificial intermittently. In a context of a sample such as Havana as genuine works, and attached to reality, this lack of roots Reygadas not touched the least. It did the Uruguayan "Delay" (Rodrigo Pla) that apart from the value of being a minoritised cinematography, is a film that built a complete account of a family situation in a social model in which people are not the first and individuals reach the limits of their obligations. Technically conventional, but very moral fiber and nuanced (moving away from the snobby pose other minor works) his narrative pulse and interest in history was also the subject of debate within our FIPRESCI jury.