We had the opportunity to attend our very first Tribeca Festival this month! We had a great time enjoying films virtually from our homes. Here’s to hoping the next one can be in person!
There was an amazing slate of films starring or created by Latin American storytellers. Below are some of our favorites!
Miss Panama dir by David Felix Sutcliffe Lamar Bailey Karamañites Pascale Boucicaut (2021)
The short film, Miss Panama is an important and informative look into the ways Anti Black racism has and continues to afflict folks in Latin America. This short film focuses on Gloria Karamañites, years after her 1980 Miss Panama win, as narrated through the eyes of her daughter. We get to hear her first hand testimony on the way she was treated by contest officials and the public at the time of her win.
El Perfecto David dir. By Felipe Gómez Aparicio (2021)
David is a teenage bodybuilder working himself to almost obsessive high. His mother, Juana, pressures him to continue, controlling most aspects of his life. Their relationship is oedipal, but David is showing some cracks of teenage rebellion. While utterly twisted, the pacing of this film felt too slow for the story that was happening. The build up to the final act meandered in a way that loosened the tension that had built up in the first two acts. As a viewer, we never really get any answers to the small threads the film was building. In a way it felt as if the ending of the film should have been the start of it. Still, the relationship between the two leads is captivatingly distorted to watch play out on screen.
Tigre Gente dir by Elizabeth Unger (2021)
In Tigre Gente, the viewer dives into a world of the international illegal jaguar trade. In China, jaguar has become in demand as part of traditional medicine and Bolivia in particular has been struck by the trade. This documentary takes place in the Madidi National Park, located in the jungles of the upper Amazon rainforest in Bolivia. It follows Marcos Uzquiano, director of the Madidi National Park and other park rangers and they fight back against the illicit blackmarket and try to uncover the deep roots of it in Bolivia. The documentary feels like it’s part action thriller, part investigative report. One of the highlights in Tigre Gente is the park rangers themselves. You can feel their commitment and love toward their job and the animals within the park jump from the screen.
The Last Out dir. by Michael Gassert, Sami Khan (2020)
Three young men from Cuba take the journey of their life by leaving for Central America in pursuit of a dream. Our protagonists are baseball players and risk it all for the chance to be selected into the major leagues. The dreams they have are bigger than life. Through the documentary we learn about just hoe much is on stake for them, much more than the sport itself.
Stateless dir. by Michèle Stephenson (2021)
A compelling, damning look at the issues between Haiti and Dominican Republic. Stateless digs into the racism and anti Blackness that has corrupted the government and society. The folks that we follow in the documentary are enigmatic and their stories are heartbreaking. The specificity in which we are pulled into the problems between both countries through the individual stories feels precise and genuine.
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