Latinos have been a driving force in the film industry for decades from José Ferrer being the first Latino Academy Award winner in 1950 to Alfonso Cuarón being the first to win Best Director in 2013 to Alejandro González Iñárritu recently winning both for Best Director and Best Picture. If you want to see tomorrow’s Oscar winners today then don’t miss out on the Chicago Latino Film Festival.
With over 120 films from across Latin America, the United States, Spain, and Portugal, the 31st Chicago Latino Film Festival has films for every type of film lover in every genre. The Latino film community has grown so much that over half of the films being shown at the festival were made by first time filmmakers. Here are some must-see films at this years festival.
The Festival is kicking with a true epic tale that lies in the heart of all Latin America with “The Liberator/Libertador.” The film covers the military and political fights of Simon Bolívar, the leader of the 19th century Latin American Wars of Independence. Though born into aristocracy Bolívar considered himself a man of the people and instead of conquering the lands that he fought through he liberated Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia from Spain.
“Casa Grande” by Fellipe Barbosa is a perfect example of a first-time feature filmmaker hitting it out of the park. The Audience Award winner of last year’s Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival portrays a semi-autobiographical story of a privileged Brazilian teenager realizing and trying to come to terms with his family’s financial struggles. Part coming-of-age tale and part social commentary on Brazil’s class divide “Casa Grande” is a must-see for all.
In his “His Wedding Dress/Vestido de Novia” there are two intense struggles going on in Cuba: the people are rioting for freedom and fleeing the island in rafts, and Elena Rosa and Ernesto’s marriage is falling apart after he finds out about her transition to becoming a male. A film that confronts the Cuban regime’s homophobia head on, “His Wedding Dress/Vestido de Novia” is eye-opening cinema.
Of course, a latino film festival without music would be criminal, and there is plenty of music and laughs in “Ciudad Delirio.” Javier escapes his boring life in Spain for Cali, Colombia where he gains the interest of Angie a dancer in Colombia’s prestigious Delirio dance company. With plenty of songs, dancers, choreography, and charisma “Ciudad Delirio” is a good time.
The 31st Chicago Latino Film Festival takes place April 9 – 23 at AMC River East 21 located at 322 E. Illinois St. All films will be presented in their original language with English subtitles. For tickets and more information visit chicagolatinofilmfestival.org.