Innovative newcomers set the tone at Latinbeat ‘08

Lines of dialogue in the shimmering, hallucinatory Wadley: 0

Number of hours Rodrigo Marín spent shooting his debut feature The Girls: 24

Number of stories woven into two uninterrupted, 40 minute takes in Still Orangutans: 6

For film lovers who appreciate innovative technique and independent spirit, this year’s Latinbeat series at the Film Society of Lincoln Center showcases the some of the most exciting young filmmakers behind the lens today anywhere in the world.

In recent years, Latin American filmmakers have been grabbing the spotlight with their audacious visions, in films like Alejandro González Iñárritu’s gripping Amores Perros (a NYFF selection in 2000), Alfonso Cuarón’s tender Y Tu Mama Tambien (NYFF 2001), and Brazil’s kinetic City of God.

With its strong focus on young, debut filmmakers, Latinbeat ’08 offers cinephiles the chance to discover the blockbuster indie talent of next year. And with 28 films from ten countries in one month-long event, Latinbeat is not characterized by a single type of film but rather a vibrant diversity:

  • Comedies: The comedies in this year’s line up run the gamut from wacky romps like Chile Puede, in which the hapless solo member of Chile’s aeronautics program is stranded in space, to affectionate social satires like The Pope’s Toilet, which follows rakish smugglers as they try to capitalize on the Pontiff’s visit to Brazil. Merrily blending plot lines, time sequences and even genres, Scrambled Beer is a fun black comedy that tracks scrappy Vladimir through a truly earth-shattering bender.
  • Hard-hitting investigations: Kill them All is a docu-drama that takes a searing looking inside Operation Condor and the legacy of human rights abuses in Uruguay and elsewhere in Latin America, while Man of Two Havanas is documentarian Vivien Lesnick Weisman’s portrait of her father Max Lesnick, a polarizing figure in the Cuban exile community.
  • Gripping capers: Part thriller and a whole lot of action film, with sparks of very black humor, Dog Eat Dog follows two hitmen in Cali, Colombia and makes a nod to Tarantino in its form and style. Documentary The Old Thieves examines a generation of real-life thieves who were famous in 1960s Mexico for their exploits and the wild success they enjoyed in the process.

Sample the range: A series pass is an excellent way to sample the diverse offerings of Latinbeat ’08: it admits one person to five titles in the Latinbeat 2008 series. $40 public/$30 Film Society member. Available only at the Walter Reade Theater box office (cash only transactions).

Explore posts in the same categories: cheatsheet, latin american cinema, Latinbeat, on @ the walter reade, what's on

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