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.
Memories Of Underdevelopment
Memorias del Subdesarrollo
1968, Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, Cuba, 97 min. With Sergio Corrieros, Daisy Granados.
"One of the greatest pictures ever made, and it's screening in a new restoration that you shouldn't miss." - Bilge Ebiri, Village Voice
"A fascinating achievement. Here is a film about alienation that is wise, sad and often funny." - Vincent Canby, The New York Times
Perhaps the greatest of all Cuban films, Alea's masterpiece is also a sterling example of the "Third Cinema" movement, which sought a politically productive alternative to both the elitism of art cinema and the manipulation of Hollywood movies. The first film from post-revolutionary Cuba to be released in the U.S., MEMORIES centers on Sergio (Corrieros), a Europeanized Havana intellectual who is too idealistic (or apathetic) to leave for Miami but too decadent to fit into Castro's new order. Alea's dazzlingly inventive style freely mixes in documentary, still photography, social satire, and erotic fantasy, as his conflicted protagonist observes the city through a telescope, hooks up with a working-class girl (Granados), visits the Hemingway museum, stands trial for rape, attends a writers conference, and finds himself isolated by his country's mobilization during the 1962 missile crisis. Both a critique of revolutionary society and a critique of that critique, MEMORIES OF UNDERDEVELOPMENT demonstrates that artistic subtlety, political commitment, and superior entertainment need not be incompatible. In Spanish with English subtitles. New 4K DCP digital restoration. (MR)
The Desert Bride
La novia del desierto
2017, Cecilia Atán and Valeria Pivato, Argentina, 78 min. With Paulina García, Claudio Rissi.
"A captivating two-hander, as soothing as a desert breeze...The marvelous García is the heart of the movie." - David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter
"Lovely...BRIDE is remarkable for how honestly it earns every tiny tick of pleasure it gives - for it gives many." - Jessica Kiang, The Playlist
The formidable talent of Chilean actress Paulina García (GLORIA, LITTLE MEN) is showcased in THE DESERT BRIDE, a charming and subtle character study in the form of a road movie. Teresa (García) has been working for thirty years as a maid for a Buenos Aires family when their financial straits compel her to take a new position in the distant northwest. The bus breaks down en route, leaving her stranded in a remote town whose status as a pilgrimage site slyly hints at divine intervention. When she realizes she has lost her bag, a gregarious traveling merchant named El Gringo (Rissi) takes her in his camper to search for it. Interspersed flashbacks sketch in Teresa's comfortable but confining past life, while the high desert air and El Gringo's expansive personality stealthily induce her to widen her horizons. First-time filmmakers Atán and Pivato, aided by longtime Pablo Larraín cinematographer Sergio Armstrong, make effective use of the widescreen frame to surround the characters with vast desert vistas that connote both vulnerability and possibility. In Spanish with English subtitles. DCP digital widescreen. (MR)
El Mar La Mar
2017, Joshua Bonnetta and J.P. Sniadecki, USA, 94 min.
"This immersive, sensorially complex movie evokes the terrifying disorientation and loneliness of migration...The result is simultaneously elusive and concrete: abstract cinema that packs a punch." - Ben Kenigsberg, The New York Times
"One of the strongest films yet to emerge from SEL, and, perhaps more interestingly, an inadvertent and unsettlingly topical portrait of the American southwest.." - Jordan Cronk, Sight and Sound
"Through its awe-inspiring 16mm imagery and first-person accounts, EL MAR LA MAR effects a powerful conflation of the mythical and the geopolitical." - Giovanni Marchini Camia, Filmmaker
The Sonoran Desert, site of many a treacherous border crossing from Mexico into the United States, is the subject of this troubling, poetic documentary by filmmaker and Harvard Sensory Ethnography Lab alum J.P. Sniadecki and media artist Joshua Bonnetta. Detailing the experiences of people living and working on both sides of the border, Bonnetta and Sniadecki accompany stories about the hardships of the desert with vast, desolate images of the territory covered and the occasional signs left behind by those who have braved it. Beautifully filmed on 16mm and featuring a dense audio collage of field recordings, radio broadcasts, and voiceover testimonials, EL MAR LA MAR takes an elliptical and unconventional approach to documenting the harsh physical reality of crossing the US border, with results that are alternately stunning, terrifying, and heart-wrenching. In English and Spanish with English subtitles. DCP digital. (CW)