PANORAMA LATINX is an initiative of the Gene Siskel Film Center dedicated to year-round Latin American film programming. We engage the dynamic Latinx community of greater Chicago through showcasing the work of emerging and established Latinx filmmakers, educational screenings, and community partnerships.
2018, Lila Avilés, Mexico, 102 min.
With Gabriela Cartol, Teresa Sánchez
"Strangely serene, even sublime...the moments of beauty, tenderness and freedom that punctuate the drudgery provide flickers of humanity that feel almost miraculous."—A.O. Scott, The New York Times
"A fascinating observational drama...nuanced and natural, it has a quiet and modest power as it comments on the ironies of contemporary cities like Mexico City and their growing economic divide."—John Fink, The Film Stage
A film about a quietly persevering maid embedded in the class structure of Mexico City calls up inevitable comparisons to ROMA, but Lina Avilés's debut film is closer in spirit to Ken Loach or even Chantal Akerman (JEANNE DIELMAN…) than to Alfonso Cuarón. Subtler, less spectacular, more politically incisive than ROMA, THE CHAMBERMAID centers on Eve, a 24-year-old employee whose domain is the 21st floor of a luxury hotel. Patiently, concisely, absorbingly, the film immerses us in her daily routine, as she caters to the whims of guests, interacts with supportive co-workers, and is strung along by her supervisors. Never leaving the hotel, we learn of her outside life (she has a four-year-old son who is usually asleep by the time she gets home), her aspirations (she is taking a union-sponsored GED class), and her occasional transgressive impulses (she gets turned on by a voyeuristic window-washer). Dangled in front of her are the enticements of a spiffy red dress left unclaimed in the Lost & Found, and a promised promotion to the newly opened, ultra-luxurious 42nd floor. As tension and frustration build, Eve edges closer to a resolution that might bring disaster or liberation. In Spanish with English subtitles. DCP digital widescreen. (MR)
2018, Carlos Reygadas, Mexico/France/Germany, 177 min.
With Natalia López, Phil Burgers, Carlos Reygadas
“One of the year’s most thought-provoking and spellbinding releases…profound in intention and poetically grand in scope.”—Carlos Aguilar, The Wrap
“Rare spiritual drama…beguiling, awe-inspiring.”—Simon Abrams, Roger Ebert.com
Eroticism, lust, and jealousy make for a volatile mix in this raw, visually all-encompassing chronicle of a disintegrating marriage. In emotionally risky, close-to-the-bone casting, director Reygadas (POST TENEBRAS LUX, BATTLE IN HEAVEN) plays Juan, a poet and prosperous bull-rancher in central Mexico, while his real-life wife López plays Juan’s filmmaker wife Esther. Their casually open relationship reaches a crisis when Esther atypically hides her new affair with Phil (Burgers), a genial American ranch hand. The film’s powerful imagery from nature grounds the story in the most elemental animal-world struggle for dominance, survival, and procreation, and yet paradoxically serves to launch it into a metaphysical realm where the mystery of human life with all its raging desires takes on a supernatural dimension. Cinematography by Diego García (NEON BULL, CEMETERY OF SPLENDOUR). In Spanish with English subtitles. DCP digital widescreen. (BS)
2018, Benjamin Naishtat, Argentina, 109 min.
With Darío Grandinetti, Alfredo Castro
“Subtle, twisting, state-of-the-nation drama works effectively as a noir-like thriller, and as an exploration of a country that has lost its moral compass.”—Allan Hunter, Screen Daily
“Delightfully multi-layered and complex…a film that satisfies on every level and bears repeated viewings.”—Bradley Gibson, Film Threat
An abandoned house, a shady real estate deal, a brief but nasty altercation over a restaurant reservation. These are the factors that coalesce in a backwater town made for noir, drawing self-important suburban lawyer Claudio (Grandinetti, of TALK TO HER and WILD TALES) deep into a murky murder mystery set in 1970s Argentina, against the background of the country’s post-Perón “dirty war.” Claudio’s respectable façade as big man in town is challenged when the sudden disappearance of an obnoxious stranger touches off an investigation by eccentric TV private eye Sinclair (Castro of MUSEO), who demonstrates an alarmingly cunning ability to connect the dots. Director Naishat (HISTORY OF FEAR, THE MOVEMENT) shuffles the plotlines in a cryptic sleight of hand that resonates ominously: people, things, and motives have a way of disappearing without a trace. In Spanish with English subtitles. DCP digital. (BS)