Festival showcases progressive films from Latin America

August 26, 2017
'Bad Influence' tackles the issues and struggles of the Indigenous Chilean Mapuche people.

Sydney Latin American Film Festival
September 7 to 11
Dendy Opera Quay

The Sydney Latin American Film Festival (SLAFF) is on again for the 12th year running. Featuring a specially curated program of captivating contemporary Latin American cinema, the festival has several films that progressive filmgoers won’t want to miss.

From stories of human resilience, to political turmoil and redemption, this year’s program focuses on diversity and representation, providing engaging insight into the vast cross-section of Latin American cultures.

An important feature of this year’s program is that 50% of the films feature female directors, festival programmer Lidia Luna said.

“[The festival] showcases who we are as a whole continent, with representation from Central and South America, and a special Caribbean spotlight,” she added. “The program highlights the wonderful kaleidoscope that is the Latin world, bringing films from Cuba, Argentina, Mexico, Chile, Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic to Sydney.”

The festival opens with the Australian premiere of On the Roof, an inspirational film that follows three young dreamers who share their aspirations together on Havana’s rooftops. It is followed by an Opening Night Fiesta with Armandito and Trovason bringing their exuberant blend of Cuban rhythms to the intimate space of The Basement.

Two not-to-be-missed films in this year’s festival are Adriana’ Pact, Lissette Orozco’s extremely personal documentary on her aunt Adriana Rivas and her involvement with the terrifying secret police of the Chilean Pinochet military dictatorship, and El Amparo, which follows two fishermen who must fight for their innocence after returning home from a trip in which 14 men were killed by Venezuelan military gunfire (See below this article for more details).

Some films that may be of interest to Green Left Weekly readers include:

  • Bad Influence, the debut feature film from Claudia Huaiquimilla, which tackles the issues and struggles of the Indigenous Chilean Mapuche people;
  • Koblic, the blood-pumping story of an Argentine Navy pilot who must make an agonising decision upon discovering his aircraft will be used to execute political prisoners by the military dictatorship; and
  • When the Guns Go Silent, a gripping documentary following the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the world’s oldest guerrilla army, as they negotiate peace with the Colombian government.

Closing the festival is Bad Lucky Goat, the hilarious story of two incompatible siblings who accidentally kill a bearded goat with their father’s truck. Set against the lush green backdrop of the Colombian Caribbean, the squabbling duo must embark on a journey around the island, visiting rastafari drum makers, pawn shops and witch doctors, as they search for a way to hide the accident.

Those who are unable to make it to Circular Quay will have a second opportunity to watch On the Roof and Koblic when they are screened again at the Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre on September 24.

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