Fancy spending some time in Latin America? Don't we all. It's not quite the same as a holiday but, thanks to the brand new Cine Latino Film Festival,getting immersed in the sights, sounds and stories of everywhere from Mexico to Puerto Rico is as easy as heading to the movies.
Throughout August, the latest addition to Palace Cinemas' ever-growing festival calendar brings the best films from the region to Australian screens, celebrating not just excellence but variety. Come for cinematic poetry from master filmmakers and stay for Peruvian horror efforts — they're just a few of our five must-see pics of the festival.
Plus, if you scroll down to the bottom, you can go in the draw to win a double pass to see one of them.
Curbing one's excitement for Pablo Larraín's latest feature is close to impossible. The Chilean filmmaker hasn't even reached the age of 40 yet, and he already has a number of features under his belt that any writer/director would be envious of. After wowing the Aussie festival circuit with his first collaboration with Gael Garcia Bernal in 2012's political drama No, Larraín tasks the charismatic actor with once again exploring the difficulties of restrictive societies — this time through an examination of the life the poet that gives the movie its name. That Neruda has been called gripping won't surprise anyone, in yet another stellar work from a director on the rise.
When it comes to Endless Poetry, knowing that it is directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky should be more than enough motivation to send you rushing towards your nearest Palace Cinema. After breaking a 23-year directing drought with 2013's The Dance of Reality, the 87-year-old filmmaker behind such brazen, mind-bending cult classics as El Topo and The Holy Mountain offers up another cinematic memoir. In the second of a planned five-feature series, he moves from his youth to the formative experiences of his 20s, chronicling his efforts to become a poet against the wishes of his family.
If sitting in a darkened room, staring at a big screen and getting scared is your idea of a good time at the movies, then The Womb should be your type of film. If the fact that it is being billed as Peru's first bona fide horror flick doesn't get your pulse racing, then perhaps its unsettling tale of several layers of motherhood struggles will. Sure, you've probably seen plenty of frightening fare about being a parent lately, but there's a reason filmmakers keep returning to this tried and tested topic.
You can never have too many offbeat comedies, right? Finding amusement in the quirks of everyday life is always going to strike a chord, with How to Win Enemies the latest Argentinian effort to give it a shot. Focusing on a young lawyer with a fondness for detective stories, it's a love story, a family drama and a mystery all in one. Yes, the sleuthing angle has seen Gabriel Lichtmann's film compared to TV's Bored to Death — so if you're a fan of that show, it can only be a good thing.
Combine a skater film, a crime drama and a queer love story all into one, and the result is I Promise You Everything. Weaving through the streets of modern-day Mexico City, the feature tells the tale of Miguel and Johnny, their stumbling upon a get-rich-quick scheme supplying blood to drug traffickers, and the tumultuous results. If it sounds a little like the early work of Oscar-winning director Alejandro González Iñárritu, that's not a bad thing. One review has even mentioned the film in the same breath as The Godfather — and while they're awfully big shoes to fill, discovering how it tries to achieve that feat should be intriguing at the very least.
The Cine Latino Film Festival screens at Sydney's Palace Norton Street and Verona from August 9 to 24, Brisbane's Palace Centro and Barracks from August 11 to 24, and Melbourne's Palace Como and Westgarth from August 17 to 31. For more information, visit the festival website.