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.
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)
2017, Lucrecia Martel, Argentina/Brazil/Spain, 115 min. With Daniel Giménez Cacho, Lola Dueñas.
"Defiant…spins the viewer out of the theater in wonder. It won't be forgotten." - Fionnuala Halligan, Screen Daily
"Perplexing and intoxicating in equal measure…exquisite, inventive command of sound and image." - Guy Lodge, Variety
In this long-awaited fourth feature, her first film in nine years, contemporary master Martel weaves a haunting and enigmatic tale adapted from the novel by Antonio Di Benedetto, set in the 18th Century on the Asunción coast of South America. A prideful man in a tricorn hat and brocade coat looks out to sea, longing for his deliverance from his backwater post in a ragged rural colony of the Spanish crown. Many circles of hell await Zama (Giménez Cacho) in Martel's rendering of a story that gains acute physicality through her evocative and unorthodox framing and startling use of layered sound. As this preening functionary futilely petitions his superiors for the transfer to the capitol, a more revealing look into the soul of a man who is the eager pawn of a system of dominance and the cruelest of subservience plays out. In its final section, the film opens up to the hallucinatory-seeming vision of vast grasslands, where Zama attempts to prove his worth by pursuit of a wanted criminal. Co-presented with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago's Department of Film, Video, New Media, and Animation. In Spanish with English subtitles. DCP digital. (BS)
Photographs from Lucrecia Martel's appearance at the Gene Siskel Film Center in April 2018.
A Fantastic Woman
Una mujer fantástica
2017, Sebastián Lelio, Chile, 104 min. With Daniela Vega, Francisco Reyes.
"It's a fantastic movie. Daniela Vega, the star, is fantastic in it...Psychologically astute and socially aware as the film is, it is also infused with mystery and melodrama, with bright colors and emotional shadows." - A.O. Scott, The New York Times
"Shocking and enraging, funny and surreal, rapturous and restorative, this is a film of startling intensity and sinuous mood shifts wrapped in a rock-solid coherence of vision." - David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter
Like Lelio's previous hit GLORIA, this Oscar-winner for Best Foreign Language Film is a big-hearted story centered on a remarkable woman who finds strength as she fights to assert her dignity and self-worth. Marina (trans actress Vega in a groundbreaking performance) is a waitress and aspiring singer in a loving relationship with a wealthy older man (Reyes). That all changes when her lover suddenly dies, and she finds that her sexual identity now exposes her as an object of suspicion and contempt, disrespected by doctors, investigated by the police, and despised by her late lover's family, who seek to strip her of her possessions and bar her from the funeral. Marina bears these indignities with increasingly strained fortitude and restraint, before embarking on an uphill battle to reclaim her place in the world. Director Lelio and cinematographer Benjamín Echazarreta enhance Marina's journey with richly colored widescreen compositions, Hitchcockian suspense elements, a multitude of mirrors, and surreal reveries that evoke Buster Keaton and Pedro Almodóvar. In Spanish with English subtitles. DCP digital widescreen. (MR)