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The past and other catastrophes

Fabio Kühnemuth
Fabio Kühnemuth

The Latin American films at the festival this year not only address the (political) history of their respective countries, but also take a metaphorical and at times surreal approach to the everyday lives of young people today.

The past and other catastrophes

Jayro Bustamante’s horror thriller LA LLORONA from Guatemala, for example, is an ominous reminder of how people can be haunted and even held captive by their own past as well as by a collective past. In this film, an aging general and his family are trapped not only metaphorically, but quite literally. The patriarch, once charged with war crimes, has recently been acquitted, and an angry crowd has laid siege to his home. Everyone’s nerves are on edge, and mysterious incidents keep occurring. This film tells a gripping story of revenge involving both the legend of La Llorona and the context of a real-life military dictatorship.

A further Latin American film in the CineMasters competition also focuses on the political history of a country scarred by military dictatorship: in this case, Uruguay. Based on true events and involving plenty of humorous moments, the tragicomedy MONEYCHANGER by Federico Veiroj is about Humberto Brause, a criminal who aims to make a fortune in money-laundering and currency-trading in 1970s Montevideo. Here, too, the past has left deep wounds.

 

Asi Hablo El Cambista Online 04

MONEYCHANGER

Llorana Online 03

LA LLORONA

 

The story told in Iuli Gerbase’s THE PINK CLOUD is not set in the past, but is rather almost frighteningly prophetic. A pink cloud appears above the rooftops of the city early in the morning. Anyone who goes outside dies within seconds. The world’s population stays indoors, as if imprisoned. Yet Giovana, a protagonist, already feels trapped by society’s expectations: isn’t a woman supposed to find a partner, have children with him, and then stay at home anyway? The lockdown forcing Giovana to share her apartment with Yago, with whom she’s just had a one-night stand, makes this scenario more and more likely. Could she perhaps manage to break out after all? Iuli Gerbase began working on the screenplay for this film back in 2017, thus eerily foreseeing the real pandemic.

Also offering a parable on the lives of millennials is the film THE DOG WHO WOULDN’T BE QUIET. In this stoic and surreal comedy, Argentinian director Ana Katz drily tells the story of Sebastián, a man lacking goals and a direction in life. Living in Buenos Aires with the dog of the title, who just won’t be quiet, the protagonist has the typical problems of a thirtysomething. But here, too, a catastrophe looms that could threaten all of humanity.

 

El Perro Online 05 (1)

THE DOG WHO WOULDN’T BE QUIET

Pink Cloud Online 05

THE PINK CLOUD

 

If you’re looking for something at the last minute, you can pose questions to Iuli Gerbase and Federico Verroj in person at a Filmmakers Live! event. Along with Merawi Gerima and Karen Cinnore, they’ll be talking to curators Julia Weigl and Florian Borchmeyer about their films, which are celebrating their German premiere at FILMFEST MÜNCHEN, at 3 pm at the Amerikahaus.

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