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Cine Latino film festival focus is on cinema with a conscience

film still
Courtesy of the MSP Film Society
Part of Cine Latino, “The Footballest” (Spain), a fresh, funny adaptation of the popular children’s book series.

Spain and Brazil, Colombia and Chile, Mexico and Ecuador, Puerto Rico and the U.S.A. will all be represented in the 7th Annual Cine Latino film festival, a program of the MSP Film Society. The region’s only showcase of Latin American and Iberian films will open Friday, Nov. 1, at the St. Anthony Main Theatre, with two free screenings at the Weisman and Metro State.

Twenty-six features and shorts will be shown over seven nights and two afternoons. Many are already award winners – in Cannes, Berlin, Seattle, San Sebastian and elsewhere. All will be Minnesota premieres.

Earlier this year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded a $15,000 FilmWatch grant to the MSP Film Society for this year’s Cine Latino program.

Not all the films are serious, but this year’s festival has a focus: cinema with a conscience. Social, political and environmental justice and activism are themes. Hebe Tabachnik, Cine Latino’s artistic director, describes the lineup as “a new generation of insightful and uncompromised storytellers … diving headlong into their respective nations’ histories and the pressing realities of our current moment.”


The official opening night film on Friday will be two episodes from the acclaimed series “Lives With Flavor: Encounters With Mexican Gastronomy” (Mexico). One is about chef Carlos Gaytan, the first Latin American to be awarded a Michelin star, and the other about Monica Patiño, the giant of modern Mexican cuisine. Director/producer Ruth Zachs Babani will attend. Tickets include the opening night reception with food by Popol Vuh, a 2019 James Beard Award semifinalist that also made Bon Appetit’s “Best New Restaurants 2019” shortlist.

Other opening night films will be “Litigante” (Colombia, France), about a high-powered female attorney in Bogotá whose life is thrown into disarray, and “The Prado Museum: A Collection of Wonders” (Spain), a documentary hosted by Jeremy Irons. (On Sunday BTW, Bogotá elected its first-ever woman mayor.)

There will be two closing night films (Thursday, Nov. 7). “The Children of Maria” (Puerto Rico) is a lively and hopeful documentary about children and teens rebuilding their families and their nation after Hurricane Maria. In sharp contrast, “Marighella” (Brazil) is a portrait of leftist revolutionary Carlos Marighella (Seu Jorge). The directorial debut of actor Wagner Moura (Pablo Escobar in the Netflix series “Narcos”), it began as a period piece, then took on new urgency with the election of ultra-conservative Jair Bolsonaro. The film has been censored in Brazil and its Nov. 1 premiere has been canceled. This could be Cine Latin’s hottest film, so you might want to buy your tickets now.

In between: The award-winning “Another Day of Life” (Spain), based on Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski’s book about Angola’s civil war, directed by Raúl de la Fuente and told in a mix of animation and live action. The award-winning “Carmen and Lola” (Spain), about a bride-to-be and a street artist who risk safety, status and their future with a secret first love. “The Cordillera of Dreams” (Chile), Best Documentary winner at Cannes in 2019. “The Footballest” (Spain), a fresh, funny adaptation of the popular children’s book series. “Your Turn” (Brazil), winner of the Amnesty International Film Prize and Peace Film Award at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2019, with film subject Marcela Jesus attending. (“Your Turn” will be preceded by a Brazilian Reception.)

film still
Courtesy of the MSP Film Society
“Marighella” (Brazil) is a portrait of leftist revolutionary Carlos Marighella (Seu Jorge).
And, of course, many more. All films you’re not likely to see anywhere else, all eye-opening and potentially perspective-shifting. Passes and packs are available if you want to see several.

Browse everything, watch trailers, read descriptions, check times and buy tickets ($12/8/6) at the festival website.

What about those free screenings? The first, “The Last Zapatistas, Forgotten Heroes” (Mexico) will be at the Weisman at 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2, as part of a free Días de los Mertos event, with director Francesco Tabaoda Tabone attending. The second, “The Footballest” (Spain), will show at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 4, at Metro State University’s Film Space (in the Founders Hall Auditorium, St. Paul Campus, 700 East Seventh St.).

The picks

Tonight (Tuesday, Oct. 29), you can choose among three wildly different bookish things. All are free, no registration required.

  • 7 p.m. at Moon Palace Books (but arrive extra early): Release party for Prince’s book “The Beautiful Ones.” Includes a panel discussion featuring people who grew up with Prince and played music with him in the early years (Margaret Cox, Jellybean Johnson, Joey Wilburn and a mystery guest), hosted by the Current’s Andrea Swensson, author of “Got to Be Something Here: The Rise of the Minneapolis Sound.” FMI.
  • 7 p.m. at Magers & Quinn: Harmon Leon presents “Tribespotting: Undercover Cult(ure) Stories.” In his new book, infiltration journalist and author Leon visits a gathering of assault weapons fanatics, a group of freegans digging through trash, a clan of white supremacists who recruit at Applebee’s and more – all convenings of like-minded people, therefore tribes. The illustrations are by African-American cartoonist, rapper, and multimedia artist Keith Knight. His “The Knight Life” strip formerly ran in the Star Tribune and we’re still mad it’s gone. FMI.
  • 7 p.m. at Lind Hall at the University of Minnesota: Paul Murray reading. Part of the UMN English Writers series. Dublin-based writer Murray’s latest, “The Mark and the Void,” won the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction. He is also the author of the internationally acclaimed comic novel “Skippy Dies.” 207 Church St. SE, room 207A. FMI.

photo of bundt pans
Courtesy of Norway House
Nordic Ware: The Art & Science of the Bundt
Now at Norway House: Nordic Ware: The Art & Science of the Bundt. The oddly shaped but endearing Bundt pan is Minneapolis-based Nordic Ware’s main claim to fame. Learn the history, see a bunch of Bundts, read stories by real people about their favorite Bundt moments, and consider getting a pan for your own kitchen (if you don’t already have one). But hurry! This show closes Nov. 3. Honestly, we thought we’d written about it earlier. Tuesdays-Sundays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission $5, members and children 12 and under free. FMI. P.S. There’s a play area in the exhibit for younger visitors, so go ahead and bring the kids.

Now at the James J. Hill House: Wayward Theatre Company: “Macbeth.” We know from experience that the Hill House is a great place for a play or an opera. It’s a completely different feeling from a theater. And we’re hearing great things about Wayward’s “Macbeth,” which uses four stories of the historic St. Paul mansion. Tim McVean sets Shakespeare’s greatest tragedy in the 1940s and directs a surprisingly large cast that includes Michael Kelley as Macbeth and Sarah Nargang as Lady Macbeth. There are two start times for each performance; both end together. FMI and tickets ($35). Closes Nov. 17. Many of the remaining shows are sold out. Monday performances are pay-what-you-can. Those tickets will be sold at the door only. Here’s the trailer.

Wednesday and Thursday at Crooners: Halloween with Davina and the Vagabonds. You can’t go wrong with Davina and her band on an ordinary night, when it’s not Halloween. It’s likely they’ll bring something special to the party for their two-night spooktacular at the Fridley supper club. The bluesy, jazzy, soulful Davina recently released her first album on Red House, then made a live recording with the Hot Club of Cow Town earlier this month at the Dakota. She’s on fire – but she’s always been on fire. Either night will be a good time. 7 p.m. Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. Thursday. FMI and tickets ($25-35).

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