Spotlight on Latin American Filmmakers



SFIFF57's World Cinema Spotlight is on New Voices in Latin American Cinema. Hailing from Argentina, Mexico, Uruguay, Venezuela, and Costa Rica (a SFIFF first!), these films pit the personal against the political. They show the human side of cockfighting, measure the economic and personal repercussions of a 10-year-old’s desire to straighten his hair, and explore the tension between a young man’s revolutionary ideals and the interests of his family business. Here’s a peek at the great films coming to this year’s festival from south of the border.

All About the Feathers - Neto Villalobos, Costa Rica
Director expected to attend

Neto Villalobos’s debut feature All About the Feathers details the unconventional relationship between an impoverished security guard and the newly acquired fighting cock that he struggles to care for. Anchored by the stellar performances of a mostly non-professional cast, this quixotic Costa Rican comedy is both slyly absurdist and quietly observational.

The Amazing Catfish – Claudia Sainte-Luce, Mexico

Set in Guadalajara, The Amazing Catfish follows the quiet transformation of a solitary young woman informally adopted and absorbed into a rambunctious matriarchy in a state of crisis. Filmed by Claire Denis’ long-time cinematographer, Agnès Godard, Claudia Sainte-Luce’s debut feature, based loosely on events from her own life, blends a wry and moving naturalism with moments of inspired comedy. 

Bad Hair – Mariana Rondón, Venezuela/Peru
Director expected to attend 

A 10-year-old boy's desire to straighten his kinky hair causes outsized conflict with his unemployed, harassed single mother in Mariana Rondon's Caracas-set drama. Unexpected issues related to Venezuela’s volatile economic situation and the young boy’s incipient homosexuality form the core of this finely acted, deceptively small-scaled story. 

History of Fear – Benjamin Naishtat, Argentina/France
Director expected to attend 

Are strange occurrences in an affluent Buenos Aires suburb evidence that the skittish residents are actually being targeted? Paranoia runs rampant in this accomplished first feature, instilling a disorienting sense of dread in the viewer. The filmmaker foregoes ready explanations in favor of foreboding suggestions in a film that is sprawling both in scope and implications but precise and exacting in its execution. 

The Militant – Manolo Nieto, Uruguay

A student leader fighting against the bosses of striking packinghouse workers in 2002 Uruguay experiences a coming-of-age crisis when he inherits his father’s ranch. The radical becomes the boss and finds himself responsible for paying months of back wages to the gauchos stiffed by his dad.