Cine Latino to spotlight women; SPCO to perform Bach’s ‘Saint John Passion’

The opening night film on November 8 is “Roma,” from Oscar-winning Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón.
Film Society
The opening night film on November 8 is “Roma,” from Oscar-winning Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón.


Women will be in the spotlight at the 6th annual Cine Latino film festival, which will take place November 8-11 at the Film Society’s St. Anthony Main Theatre Screen No. 3. Of the 13 features and 13 shorts to be presented this year, nine are directed by women. Three features by male directors tell women’s stories.

The opening night film on November 8 is “Roma,” from Oscar-winning Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón (“Gravity”). Centered on a young domestic worker for a family in a middle-class Mexico City neighborhood in the early 1970s, a time of political turmoil, it’s a love letter to the women who raised him. “Roma” won top prize at the 2018 Venice Film Festival and is Mexico’s submission for best foreign-language film to the 2019 Oscars.

Three features have women directors. Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra’s “Birds of Passage,” which chronicles the origins of the Colombian drug trade through the story of an indigenous Wayuu family, is Colombia’s submission to the Oscars. Natalia Cabral and Oriol Estrada’s “Miriam Lies” is a Caribbean coming-of-age tale centered around a fraught quinceañera. “The Chambermaid,” the debut feature from director Lila Avilés, is about a young chambermaid at a luxurious Mexico city hotel who seeks a better life. Lead actress Gabriela Cartol will be attending.

Among the six women-directed shorts is Mariel Sosa’s “Máxima, This Land of Mine,” about an indigenous Andean family who battles a mining company, and Mayra Veliz’s “Far from Home,” in which a Japanese teenager lost in Mexico City gets help from a local boy.

Marcelo Martinessi’s “The Heiresses,” Paraguay’s 2019 Oscars submission, and Arturo Infante’s “The Extraordinary Journey of Celeste Garciá” have women as their subjects. In “The Heiresses,” a lesbian couple’s settled partnership is strained by finances, new freedom and young love. Celeste Garcia’s extraordinary journey is an invitation from aliens to visit their planet.

Other films that caught our eye include Javier Fesser’s “Champions,” Spain’s box-office smash and 2019 Oscars submission that features a cast of actors with intellectual disabilities. Asghar Farhadi’s “Everybody Knows” stars Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem. Aitor Arreg and Jon Garaño’s “Giant,” about a young man who grows to enormous size and the brother who exploits him, won 10 Goya awards, Spain’s Oscars. “Rubén Blades Is Not My Name” is a look at the life and legacy of musician, actor and politician Blades as he begins a new chapter in his life. He ran for president of Panama in 1994 and served as minister of tourism from 2004-09. This film is Panama’s Oscars entry.

All films are shown with English subtitles. New this year: ¡Viva Kid Flicks! This Saturday-morning program of animated, documentary, and live-action films from Mexico is a partnership with the New York International Children’s Film Festival.

Immediately after the festival, five of the films will return for encore presentations. FMI including trailers, times, and tickets.

The picks

Wil Haygood
Wil Haygood
Tonight (Tuesday, Oct. 30) at the Rondo Community Library: Club Book: Wil Haygood. African-American historian Haygood’s 2008 WaPo article “A Butler Well Served by This Election” inspired Lee Daniels’ movie “The Butler.” Haygood has penned biographies of Sammy Davis Jr., Sugar Ray Robinson and Thurgood Marshall. He’s touring with his latest, “Tigerland,” about baseball and basketball teams at a poor, black, segregated high school in Ohio that made national headlines in 1968-69. Can’t make it to the reading? In a few days, you can listen to the podcast. 7 p.m. FMI. Free and open to the public.

Yiyun Lee
MacArthur Foundation
Yiyun Lee
Tonight at the Weisman: Yiyun Lee reading. The 2010 MacArthur Fellow is author of  the short story collection “A Thousand Years of Good Prayers,” two novels, and the memoir “Dear Friend, From My Life I Write to You in Your Life.” This reading is part of the UMN English Writers Series’ splendid Fall 2018 lineup. Free and open to the public. 7 p.m. FMI.

Thursday at Orchestra Hall: Meet a Musician: Charles Lazarus. A member of the Minnesota Orchestra’s brass section, trumpeter Lazarus is usually seated way at the back during concerts. This event, held in the Target Atrium, brings him a lot closer. It includes a buffet dinner and a presentation by Lazarus, with music. Because he’s also a jazz artist, it will include an extra hour with Lazarus and his trio. 6 p.m. happy hour (drink ticket included), 6:30 presentation. Ends at 9 p.m. FMI and tickets ($45). Limited to 125. This event is part of the popular Meet a Musician/ACCENT series from the Friends of the Minnesota Orchestra. Future artists include composer Libby Larsen (March 7), violinist Susie Park (April 4) and clarinetist Timothy Zavadil (June 6).

Friday and Saturday at the Walker: Frederick Wiseman’s “Monrovia, Indiana.” Over a career spanning half a century, documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman has found almost everything interesting. Through his democratic eye, we’ve seen a state hospital for the criminally insane, a Benedictine monastery, a primate research center, a state legislature, a hospital’s ICU, the American Ballet Theatre, the New York Public Library, and – in what has become a sort of Wiseman mini-series – various small towns in America. “Monrovia, Indiana” is his latest immersive look at a place most people wouldn’t think of filming. It’s also a window into today’s rural, mid-American way of life. Wiseman’s films can, um, go on; the longest, “Near Death,” clocks in at 358 minutes. “Monrovia” is a mere 143 minutes. 7 p.m. FMI and tickets ($10/8).

Friday through Sunday: The SPCO: Bach’s “Saint John Passion.” Early music expert and artistic partner Jonathan Cohen leads the SPCO in a rare performance of Bach’s magnificent oratorio, Written for Good Friday in 1724, it describes the events leading up to Christ’s crucifixion. The SPCO will be joined by six vocal soloists and Minnesota choral artists The Singers – more than 70 vocalists in all. Which should be thrilling. Sunday’s concert will stream live starting at 2 p.m. The Friday performance (8 p.m.) is at the Cathedral of Saint Paul. Both Saturday (8 p.m.) and Sunday (2 p.m.) are at the Ordway Concert Hall. Best bet: the Cathedral. FMI and tickets ($12-50; kids and students free).

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