Latin American Film Festival
Each year, Utrecht based LAFF introduces and presents the work of (new) filmmakers from and dealing with Latin America. Of course, there is no such thing as a single Latin American film culture; Latin America is home to a rich and highly diverse range of film cultures. Latin America is also a continent in flux: following the fall of many dictatorial regimes in the 1980s and the ensuing wave of democratisation, there are now progressive regimes in place in many Latin American countries. This has resulted in a blossoming of film culture – often still looking back to the periods of dictatorship and examining problems such as poverty, violence and drugs – but also new, more universal themes. For example this year’s routes through the program focus on: Colombia, music culture and films made by Latinos in the Netherlands.
Let us have a closer look at the program:
Colombia for many years was a synonym for drug related violence, for a drug fuelled civil war and home for some of the USA most grandiose droppings of Agent Orange. Last years’ developments were more positive, highlighting the role of Bogota mayor extra ordinaire Mockus. Now a new mayor took office, former guerillo Gustavo Petro.
Dealing with that same heritage of violence and politics is the movie Pequenas Voces, an animation based on the views and drawings of children. See trailer here. The theme of reconciliation with the violent past also characterizes movies as El Lugar mas Pequeno [El Salvador] and el Mocito [Chile]. For that latter one a beautiful trailer is on view here whereas a second movie on Chile’s past is clickable here.
Now to music. Colombia’s cumbias are the main ingredient for a completely new musical genre ‘nu cumbias’. Buenos Aires based label ZZK Records is the nod in this global popular genre. But the more Western audiences get familiar with these sounds, the more those audiences dive into Latin musical history. Who wouldn’t be touched by a song by Zelia Barbosa on the funeral of a worker? One of the other great singers of Latin America is Violeta Parra. A quote from the LAFF website: “What Edith Piaf means to France, Violeta Parra means to Chile. A folk singer and pop icon, who’s songs articulate the soul of the country. The eighth LAFF opens with a movie about the incredible life of this special woman, on a journey through Chile, focusing on her music, memories, hope and love.” Amen.