Archive for the ‘Latinbeat’ category

“I wanted to break all the rules” says Wadley director Matias Meyer

September 12, 2008
Marcela Goglio introduces Matias Meyer, director of Wadley, during Latinbeat '08

Marcela Goglio introduces Matias Meyer, director of Wadley, during Latinbeat

Matias Meyer’s Wadley had it’s first screening as a part of Latinbeat ‘O8 last night at the Walter Reade. The film, following the wanderings of one man, has almost no dialogue. It begins on the outskirts of town with a kind of jerky, handheld realism and as the central figure wanders into a long, peyote-fueled desert sojourn, the film shifts in tone, visuals and sound.

“I wanted the film to be hypnotic,” said director Meyer during a Q & A after the screening. “You have to be patient with the film in the first 15-20 minutes and then I take you on a trip through the Mexican desert.”

The shooting of Wadley was a trip in more ways than one. Director Meyer and his small crew drove from Mexico City and spent four days shooting their 60 minute feature in the north central part of the Mexican desert. The consumption of small amounts of peyote figured into the creative process, the director said.

The town of Wadley sprang up around a train station established when the region was a boomtown for miners, the director explained. Now the place is a kind of a ghost town, the perfect point of departure for the main characters hallucinogenic ramblings.

The filmmaker’s collaborative approach to production and post-production produces some stark effects in the film, such as the haunting sound of a buzzing cicada that reoccurs throughout the film, and in striking photographic depictions of the natural landscape.  Meyer explained that he presented his footage to a composer and sound designer and let them run with their inspiration. He credits his training as a photographer with this openness: “When you go out and observe, magical things happen.”

Wadley will screen at the Walter Reade on Sunday, September 14th at 1PM, and Wednesday, September 17th at 5:30 PM, as a part of Latinbeat, a month-long celebration of Latin American filmmaking.


Richard Peña talks Latinbeat with the New York Sun

September 11, 2008

Along with lauded Puerto Rican director Jacobo Morales, The Film Society’s Richard Peña gives the Sun’s Martin Tsai the scoop on Latinbeat ’08, including why Chilean and Argentinean films are generating a lot of buzz during the event this year, the challenges Latinbeat honoree Jacobo Morales has faced in establishing Puerto Rican cinema, and how strong the Latin American presence is in this year’s New York Film Festival.

Innovative newcomers set the tone at Latinbeat ‘08

September 4, 2008

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).