Havana Film Festival Entries

Irina Echarry

Por tu culpa (It was your fault).

HAVANA TIMES, Nov. 19 — The 32nd edition of the International Festival of New Latin American Cinema will be held in Havana from December 2-12 this year.  As in each of these events, the countries with the most works competing are Argentina and Brazil, although on this occasion Mexico’s presence will be hard to miss with its four feature films, five shorts and four debuting works.

Also possible to see will be award-winners from other international competitions and recent productions such as Las buenas hierbas, by Mexican director Maria Novaro.  In a poetic manner, this film approaches the daunting issue of Alzheimer’s and the right to choose how to spend one’s last few days of life.

Through a close mother-daughter relationship, the director penetrates into the deep pain caused from gradually losing a loved one, someone who also represents wisdom, respect for the cycle of nature and love for one’s own culture through the grasses, flowers and plants of Mexico.  The three female performers won Best Actress awards at this year’s International Festival of Cinema in Rome.

Los labios is a Argentinean fiction film that narrates the story of three women who come to a forgotten place in a province where they cure, conduct research, treat and help out in a hospital in ruins.  At Cannes, this film also won an important award this year for a performance by a female actor.

Also from Argentina will come to us Carancho, a movie by Pablo Trapero (the director of Leonera).  It is police film that narrates the encounter between a doctor with a drug problem and a lawyer who’s dedicated to the lawsuits of accident victims.  Selected in Argentina to represents that country in the 2011 Oscar awards, it has been a box office hit.


As for Sueños robados and 5 x Favelaahora por nosotros, while this latter one is competing as a debut film, they are both entries from Brazil.  Three teenagers try to improve their lives despite living in conditions of marginalization, being subjected to illnesses and having to face an atmosphere of personal frustration.  The other film is divided into five shorts dedicated to life in the favelas.  Though some critics may say these are not great works of the Brazilian cinema, they are indeed honest testimonies of the present time.

And, as we live in moments in which violence and the cinema are prevalent, to a great degree it is a reflections of that reality since that issue is in more than one film.  Two movies, a Mexican one and another Argentinean one, come to tell us the story and make us reflect through the receptive existence of children.

De la infancia, by Mexican director Carlos Carrra (El crimen del padre Amaro, La mujer de Benjamín), attempts to depict how the world is seen by children; how with their innocence they avoid or face violent situations.

While Por tu culpa, by Argentinean Anahi Berneri, stands out for exposing the issue of machismo, tracing a society that makes women invisible.  So that the public will choose to watch it, a synopsis, might be the following: a mother with two children, an absent father, and an accident occurs… Julieta is accused of mistreating her children as a result of that domestic accident.

It will be necessary to see the reaction to this disturbing film by the Cuban audience, a macho audience, but one that sometimes is talked to about gender equality.

This 32nd edition of the film festival promises to take diverse looks at recurring issues, as if not to lose sight of them.

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