It’s not just new films that you’ll witness at this year’s Colombian Film Festival in NY, but the evolution of a new genre. For it’s second edition, the festival is giving residents of the tri-state area the unique opportunity to view films that you will likely not see via traditional means of distribution and, moreover, films that represent a body of work that is being referred to as “post-conflict Colombian cinema.” This canon is so new, according to festival co-founder and president, Adriana Aristizábal, that you’ll find very little coverage on the web-- you’ll just have to experience it for yourself.
What is post-conflict Colombian cinema? “Film content in Colombia has a reached catharsis,” Aristizábal explains. This evolution began to take place in 2003 when the Colombian government began to financially support film projects. The country also made itself very friendly to outside productions and co-productions. However, the cornerstone of this movement has been how Colombians have used the medium to purge themselves of the stories and memories created by 60 years of war and violence, some vestiges of which are still felt today. Through fiction, these seemingly innocuous stories have profound implications and messages of peace. Post-conflict Colombian cinema leads the way in creating a new culture but one that decidedly adopts the brutality of the past, “It is part of our history,” Aristizábal asserts, “By creating a space for these stories, we’re also creating an opportunity for others to tell their own.”
Though the festival features a great variety of films, from horror to broad comedy, I’ve listed the ones that most strongly represent Colombia’s awakening and forging of an impressionistic film aesthetic… and that you shouldn’t miss.
JARDIN DE AMAPOLAS (FIELD OF AMAPOLAS)
Thursday, 3/27, 9pm
Saturday, 3/29, 5:10pm
This is a US premiere. It is also a film yet to be released in Colombia. If you are not familiar with the conflict, the many confusing factions and how each contributed to the war, this story will shed some light via a strong narrative, told through the eyes of children.
TIERRA EN LA LENGUA (DUST ON THE TONGUE)
Sunday, 3/30, 9:40pm
This film took home the grand prize at the Cartagena International Film Festival last week. Silvio is 83, lived through La Violencia and is haunted by it. He asks his grandchildren to kill him before old age does.
Wednesday, 3/26, 8:20pm
Sunday, 3/30, 9:10pm
Mateo is a teenage extortionist, who is forced to take theater classes in order to stay in school. Maria Gamboa’s film cleverly presents how art’s seeming frivolity can have a deep impact in a poor community who struggles to survive by any means necessary.
EL FARO (THE LIGHTHOUSE)
Wednesday, 3/26, 6pm
Saturday, 3/29, 1:15pm
You will be wowed by Colombia’s rising star, Karent Hinestroza, for a performance that was just awarded “Best Of” at the Cartagena International Film Festival. Lauded Colombian filmmaker, Luis Fernando “Pacho” Bottía, directs. The solitary existence of a lighthouse keeper is disrupted when a couple is shipwrecked on his island.
CRONICA DEL FIN DEL MUNDO (CHRONICLES OF THE END OF THE WORLD)
Thursday, 3/27, 4:10pm
Saturday, 3/29, 1pm
This is a US premiere. Pablo hasn’t left his house since a terrorist bomb killed his wife. As the end of the world looms before him, he decides to tell-off all the people in his past over the phone… until he calls the wrong man.
LAS TETAS DE MI MADRE (MY MOTHER’S TITS)
Sunday, 3/30, 6:55pm
This is a world premiere. Ten year-old Martin asks to use the bathroom at a brothel. While there, he sneaks into a peeping booth only to find his mother dancing on the other side of the glass.
There are strong offerings in the documentary category as well, all of which provide deep access into people and places rarely captured on film, and well worth the $14 admission. There are four: Requiem NN, Looking for…, The Accordion’s Voyage and The Eternal Night of the 12 Moons.
The festival runs from March 25th- March 30th, at Tribeca Cinemas.
For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the festival’s website: http://www.colfilmny.com/
Mary Angelica Molina is a writer and filmmaker. She is credited as editor & co-director of THE STATE OF ARIZONA (ITVS, Jan. 2014) about Arizona’s controversial “Papers, please” law. She was handpicked by the Sundance Institute to participate in their inaugural Screenwriter’s Intensive in February of 2013 with her feature script DOLORES. She was also awarded a Seed Grant by the Latino Film Fund earlier this year for the same script. In June 2013, she was a fellow at NALIP’s Producer’s Academy. Molina was born in Barranquilla, Colombia but currently lives in Brooklyn. Twitter @maryangelrox