31st International Festival of New Latin American Cinema, Havana

Cuba, December 3 - December 13 2009

The jury

Julie Rigg (Australia), Natalia Graciela Ames (Peru), Fernando Salvà Grimalt (Spain), Furio Fossati (Italy), Dean Luis Reyes (Cuba)

The 31st edition of the Festival de Nuevo Cine Latinamericano December 3 to 13, screened around 350 films, with 105 in competition, 20 for the Premio Coral for fiction. Audiences were, as usual, exuberant, standards were mixed. Che : Un Hombre Nuevo, from Tristan Bauer of Argentina, 12 years in the making, was given a special invitation only premiere out of competition. In black and white, with some new archival clips from his family, and diary material discovered in Bolivia, it may be taken as an authorised version. Two Cuban films were represented in competition: both broad comedies Audiences were exuberant, standards were mixed. But there were some gems The official jury awarded the Premio Coral to Claudia Llosa’s The Milk of Sorrow (Peru) second to La Nana by Sebastian Silva of Chile, both films already recognised elsewhere. Their third prize went to Viajo Porque Necesito, Volvo Porque Ti Amo (Brazil) written and directed by Marcelo Gomes and Karim Ainouz, and this was also the choice of the FIPRESCI jury. Very different in tone from Madame Sata (2002) on which the pair also collaborated, this is a fictional love story, in the form of a travel diary, by a geologist travelling in northeast Brazil. Using subjective camera and minimal, poetic narration , the film is formally satisfying, complex in the ideas it raises and surprisingly engaging emotionally. Apparent simplicity is the hardest thing to achieve. FIPRESCI jurors also liked Hiroshima by Pablo Stoll, (Uruguay) which plays a radical game with screen language and challenges recent representations of youth in Latin American cinema. So we gave it a special mention. (Julie Rigg)

International Festival of New Latin American Cinema, Havana: