New in 2018: GRLAFF for Kids

New in 2018: GRLAFF for Kids

On Saturday, April 7, for the first time the Grand Rapids Latin American Film Festival will offer special programming for kids and their families. At 1:30 pm there will be live puppet shows in Spanish, followed by a screening of Anina, an animated film from Uruguay, at 2 pm, followed by a another puppet show, “The Fabulous Johnny Frog,” in English at 4 pm.

Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Location: Wealthy Street Theatre Micro-Cinema.

Filmmakers from Colombia and Venezuela headed to Grand Rapids to participate in 8th GRLAFF

Filmmakers from Colombia and Venezuela headed to Grand Rapids to participate in 8th GRLAFF

This spring, Colombian director Catalina Mesa will be coming to Grand Rapids to discuss her documentary, Jericó: El Infinito Vuelo de los Días (Jericó: The Infinite Flight of Days), on Friday, April 6 after the film is screened at 8 pm at Wealthy Theatre. The documentary weaves together the everyday encounters and conversations of women of different ages and backgrounds living in a small Colombian town called Jericó, revealing their wisdom, personal tragedies, and comedic take on life.

Another guest director at the festival will be Gustavo Rondón, from Venezuela, who will be sharing his perspective after the showing of his first feature film, La Familia (The Family), on Saturday, April 7 at 8 pm. The film is about Andrés and his son Pedro who live in the outskirts of Caracas but who hardly see each other, until one day Pedro gets into serious trouble and father and son must flee their home in a journey that brings them closer in ways they could not have imagined. Rondón will also be speaking about another Venezuelan film that he edited, El Amparo, after that film’s screening on Saturday, April 7 at 5 pm.

A number of other films will also be followed by panel discussions with special guests. See the festival schedule for details.

Winner of 2018 Festival Poster Design Contest Announced

Winner of 2018 Festival Poster Design Contest Announced

GRLAFF is proud to announce the winner of the 2018 Festival poster design contest. Kendall College of Art and Design (KCAD) student Tylan Davis is the winner!

The contest was open to all KCAD students and design teams. Entries were required to demonstrate a link to the GRLAFF mission: to foster a nuanced understanding of Latin American and Latino experiences through the art of film, to provide opportunities for constructive dialogue across cultures, and to enrich the social fabric of our community.

Tylan wrote this statement about his artwork: “For this design, I wanted to create a symbol that was both inviting and dynamic. I created this artwork to resemble three things: a spinning dress, a sun, and a flower. The color scheme was chosen to represent the warmth of the region, and the dust on the background was used to add an old-film feel to it.”

Congratulations to Tylan, and thank you to all the students that participated the contest.

Review: Las Elegidas (The Chosen Ones)

Review: Las Elegidas (The Chosen Ones)

As the film opens with a love scene between two extremely young Mexican teenagers, one begins to wonder what the rest of the film is going to consist of, if the film description has not been read. I suggest reading this summary, or another before going and watching Las Elegidas, as it is a very powerful and emotional film. The setting is Mexico, in a couple different towns and locations, and is centered around one family, which operates a whore house. The film follows the personal and public conflict of a teenage boy Ulises, as he struggles with the decisions he is being forced to make. Does he join the family business as his brother did before him and please his family, or follow his heart, and the young girls that have stolen it. Alongside this storyline, the women who are endangered, and essentially removed from society are a focal point of the film, as it tries to show the horrors of human sex trafficking.

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Reseña: El abrazo de la serpiente

Reseña: El abrazo de la serpiente

Sorry, this entry is only available in European Spanish. For the sake of viewer convenience, the content is shown below in the alternative language. You may click the link to switch the active language.

El maltrato a los indígenas latinoamericanos es un tema que no deja de generar multitud de debates alrededor del mundo.  El Abrazo de la Serpiente es una película que se basa en los diarios de la vida real de dos exploradores; Theodor Koch-Grünberg, alemán, y Richard Evans Schultes, estadounidense. Es una película que utiliza una mezcla de idiomas: español, portugués, latín y lenguas indígenas amazónicas, además de estar filmada en el inmenso territorio amazónico. Es una película que generó mucha atención, dado que fue considerada finalista para los famosos premios Oscar.

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Reseña: Ixcanul

Reseña: Ixcanul

Sorry, this entry is only available in European Spanish. For the sake of viewer convenience, the content is shown below in the alternative language. You may click the link to switch the active language.

Ixcanul es una película sobre una indígena María que tiene 17 años. Su familia vive cerca de un volcán activo en Guatemala y trabaja en una finca cafetalera. Aunque sus padres quieren que se case con el supervisor de la plantación, Ignacio, María quiere ir a los Estados Unidos con un chico llamado Pepe del que está enamorada. María se queda embarazada con la hija de Pepe y su madre trata de abortarla, pero sin éxito. En un intento de salvar la cosecha, María trata de asustar a las serpientes que han plagado la finca. Es mordida por una serpiente y llevada a un hospital en la ciudad. Cuando despierta, la doctora le dice que el bebé ha muerto y que María necesita firmar el papeleo para recibir dinero para un funeral. Ignacio actúa como traductor. Un año después, María desentierra el ataúd y descubre que nunca ha habido un cuerpo de bebé en él. Se puede asumir que el hospital tomó y vendió al bebé (tal vez con la ayuda de Ignacio) pero María nunca se enteró de la verdad por no hablar español. Es una película muy poderosa que muestra la vida de los indígenas en Guatemala.

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Reseña: Silencio en la Tierra de los Sueños

Reseña: Silencio en la Tierra de los Sueños

Sorry, this entry is only available in European Spanish. For the sake of viewer convenience, the content is shown below in the alternative language. You may click the link to switch the active language.

El 1 de abril de 2017, fui al Wealthy Theatre para ver la película, Silencio en la Tierra de los Sueños. La acción de la película es muy singular. La obra sigue la rutina diaria de una mujer vieja quien vive sola. Hay un perro que la visita, pero el animal es un perro de la calle. A través de la película, la audiencia experimenta el ritmo despacio y tranquilo de la vieja mujer. Ella limpia, come, duerme, da comida a los perros, y cose. Además, tiene unos sueños interesantes Sueña con el mar y sus sueños incluyen al perro de la calle, así como a muchas aves. Otro aspecto interesante de la película es que la mujer observa por la noche a tres guitarristas, quienes tocan música bonita y coquetean con unas mujeres. Eventualmente, la vieja mujer tose mucho y muere. Su espíritu sale de su cuerpo y la película termina mostrando al mar.

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Review: Infancia Clandestina (Clandestine Childhood)

Review: Infancia Clandestina (Clandestine Childhood)

This film examines a year in the life of 11 year old Juan, who recently returned to Argentina from Cuba under the alias of Ernesto with his parents, both political criminals and supporters of Juan Peron. As Juan moves through the motions of a preteen on the cusp of puberty, his parents are preparing for war. Bunkered in a safe house with his mother, father, uncle, and baby sister, he lives two lives: one of a patriotic school boy navigating his first love, and one of fervent rebellion, taking place as he watches his family collaborate with others in order to bring justice and freedom back to their people. Juan/Ernesto lives with a strange combination of love and hatred. His strong relationships with family members and a budding romance with his classmate Maria are the central point of the plot, but subtle dialogue from other sources and eavesdropped information from his parents show the anger and malice of those living outside of his family’s’ stronghold. Using a combination of graphic art, dream sequences, and half heard conversations, this film portrays an unsettling mix of violence and love through a child’s eyes.

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