Celebrating Latin American culture through cinema

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THE 15th Latin American Film Festival is an annual event aimed at showcasing its nations’ rich and diverse culture via contemporary cinema.

Organised by the Embassies of the Latin American and Caribbean Group in Malaysia, the festival will feature 10 specially selected movies from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

This year, in collaboration with the National Film Development Corporation (Finas), a local movie is invited to join the line-up for the first time — none other than Malaysia’s entry for the 89th Academy Awards, Redha.

Finas deputy director-general Khalidah Mohd Darus thanked the embassies for efforts in showcasing contemporary Latin American movies to Malaysians.

“This signifies the importance of our diplomatic ties and strategic collaborations through the movie world,” she said.

“This festival will help open doors for international co-production between Latin American and Malaysian filmmakers.”

Mexican Ambassador to Malaysia Carlos Felix Corona said: “We are honoured to have Malaysia as our guest country at this event.

“We believe the film Redha and its theme of autism will enhance the richness of the festival and reflect the close cultural cooperation between Malaysia and Latin America.”

Brazilian Ambassador to Malaysia Carols Martins Ceglia felt the people of the two nations could improve their understanding of each other’s country and culture.

In picking this year’s movie for the festival, Ceglia chose A Estrada 47 (The Lost Patrol) which highlights Brazil’s role in World War II.

He said Brazil was one of the only Latin American countries to send troops to Europe.

With regards to Colombia’s entry, El Abrazo De La Serpiente (Embrace of the Serpent), ambassador Victor H Echeverri J said: “It is uniquely recorded in black and white format and it is an Oscar-nominated movie for Best Foreign Language Film this year.

“It is an interesting action-drama film that depicts the lives of the indigenous people of the Amazon, as a German explorer goes in search of a magic plant.”

He believed there are similarities between these indigenous people and those in East Malaysia.

Ambassador of Ecuador, Laura Raquel Donoso Gonzalez said: “The director of Prometeo Deportado (Deporting Prometeo) was travelling to an unnamed country in Europe when he was detained and eventually deported”.

The drama-comedy-tragedy depicts his experience and how other Ecuadorians have travelled with dreams and aspirations, which can suddenly come to a halt in a foreign airport.

Ceglia hoped this festival will help close gaps and tend bridges between the cultures while Echeverri hoped Malaysians will learn more about South America and discover common elements.