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.
Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles
Buñuel en el laberinto de las tortugas
2018, Salvador Simó, Spain, 80 min
"Compelling and frequently surprising...it was a brilliant choice on the part of director Salvador Simó to use such an expressionistic medium [i.e., animation] to examine how surrealist filmmaker Luis Buñuel bent reality to his own ends."—Peter Debruge, Variety
"A captivating labor of love...BUÑUEL is above all a good story elegantly told."—Jonathan Holland, Hollywood Reporter
Based on a graphic novel by Fermin Solis, this unique animated feature focuses on a turning point in the career of the great Spanish-born director Luis Buñuel. With his career at a standstill due to the notoriety of his early surrealist classics, Buñuel sets out in 1932 with three of his leftist/anarchist friends to make LAS HURDES, a bracingly confrontational documentary set in an extremely backward and impoverished region of Spain. Using a style of 2-D animation that emphasizes facial expression over fluidity of movement, director Simó draws a complex portrait of Buñuel—haunted by nightmares and childhood memories of his disapproving father, capable of bizarre and callous behavior, but also finding the compassion and humanity that will fuel his growth as an artist. In Spanish and French with English subtitles. DCP digital widescreen. (MR)
2018, Iván Osnovikoff and Bettina Perut, Chile, 78 min.
"A blissful documentary portrait…captures moments of vitality, beauty, and hilarity."—Charlie Watson, Slant
"This is as close to being a dog as you are likely to ever get."—Carlos deVillalvilla, Cinema365
The filmmakers set out to make a documentary about the teenagers who inhabit Parque de los Reyes ("Park of the Kings"), a skate park in Santiago, Chile. After several months of shooting, they found the focus of their film shifting to Chola and Fútbol, two inseparable stray dogs who reign over this urban oasis. The teenagers remain in the form of overheard conversations—fraught with anxieties over parents, puberty, and drugs—that counterpoint the Zen-like serenity of the two charismatic stars. Without cuteness or anthropomorphism, through carefully edited rhythms and sensitive, sensuous cinematography, LOS REYES brings the viewer into an authentically transhuman perspective, where tennis balls, raindrops, and insects loom large, while the broad cycles of mortality and the seasons work steadily in the background. In Spanish with English subtitles. DCP digital. (MR)
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)