:- Latin beats

For carnival time this

month, try Glasgow rather than Rio, as the 5th Latin

American Film Festival heads north. Trevor Johnston picks out the highlights.

Founded in 1990 by enterprising

independent distributors Metro Pictures. the annual Latin American

Film Festival reaches its fifth year and

its fourth visit to the Glasgow Film Theatre with a typically varied programme assembled by event director Eva Tarr. In a year when

Mexican director Alfonso Arau‘s Like

Hater I’irr (ham/ate has enjoyed

substantial success on the international

atthouse circuit. the eight films screening at the GFT should give

Scottish audiences at fulsome glimpse of an always intriguing film culture that

in many ways is not unlike our own.

Emerging from a literary tradition of great resourcefulness and imagination. struggling against inevitable financial strictures (and the ubiquitous box office dominance of US studio product). the

current selection of titles shows the effort going on to produce work that deals with the shifting values now

affecting an entire continent. as the old

dogmas slip away and a welter of

From the director 0

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Nat/ting To Lose (Tue 13 Sept). The Third Bank Of The River's sense of direct engagement in social problems. an unabashed cinema of conscience. can also be seen in la Fro/item (Tue 6 Sept). a first feature from Ricardo Larrain Pinedo whose story of an activist maths teacher‘s arrest and rural ‘relocation‘ by the military authorities attracted the largest cinema audienced in Chile for the past 25 years.

[n the rest of the programme. The Mystery (2/ The Scarlet lz'yes ('l‘hut's 8 Sept) is Venezuelan Alfredo J. Anzola's testament to his newsreel cameraman father, who recorded all the significant events in his country's history and left behind an immense and fascinating personal archive 7— so fascinating. In fact. that the film outgrossed Jurassii- H Park at the home box office. Mexican cinema. on the other hand. is Cronos represented by illimslava (Mon 5 Sept). the glossy biopic of ill-fated 50s screen siren Miroslava Stein; by BBC- trained Guita Schyfter's like A Bride (Thurs 15 Sept) a chronicle about independent women in the immigrant Jewish community. and by ('rmms (Wed 14 Sept). Guillermo del Toro's revelatory spin on the vampire picture. Tender. sombre. and ultimately moving, this revisionist genre offering certainly rings the changes in its story about a mysterious alchemist's device which grants immortality at the price of an unquenchable thirst for blood. It might just be the best film in the festival. (Trevor Johnston)

The twin Amerieari Film Festival I'llllS at the Glasgow l’ilm Theatre until Thursday I 5.

reputation among the most distinguished of all Latin American filmmakers. the piece may have

moments that seem obvious or laboured ; to European audiences but it surely

stands as a landmark movie within the context of Cuban cinema.

Another director who‘s been with us since the late ()()s is the Brazilian Cinema Novo stalwart Nelson Pereira dos Santos, whose latest offering The Third Bank (2/ The River (Thurs 8 Sept)

blends fantasy and harsh realism in its

- story of a miracle-working Brasilia slum kid kidnapped by gangsters. llis

; film shares a lightness of touch when dealing with serious issues something also apparent in Alberto Lecchi's

Argentinian insurance scam caper

- bewildering new moral choices take

their place.

Winner of prizes at the Havana and Berlin film festivals. .S'trau-herry and Chara/ate (Wed 7 Sept) certainly falls into that category. a provocative comedy dealing with the unlikely friendship between macho student David. a fervent believer in the imprimatur of the communist regime. and the anti-authoritarian Diego. a flamboyant homosexual who leaves his new associate aghast at first before the pair grow increasingly fond of one another. (To—directed by Juan Carlos

Tabio and the respected Thomas

Guitierrez Alea, whose reflective 1968

i portrait Menmries (if

Underdevelapment established at


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The List 26 August—8 September 1994 65