With Hot Docs beginning this week, it seems fitting to share part two of my Top Picks at this year’s festival. This second part highlights documentaries from Latin America, which I believe expose its culture, its struggles, its hopes, but also its talents.
NICOLA COSTANTINO: THE ARTEFACTA
Dir. Natalie Cristiani, Argentina
Saturday, April 25, 7:00pm ROM Theatre
Sunday, April 26, 3:30pm Scotiabank Theatre
Friday, May 1, 6:00pm TIFF Bell Lightbox
This artistically crafted portrait of Nicola Costantino, one of Latin America’s most controversial and admired visual artists, audiences become submersed in her work as she prepares to represent Argentina in the Venice Biennale 2013.
The film takes us deep into Costantino’s creative mind. Through her works, snippets of her daily life, and narration, we see how her art and everyday life are one and the same. The visuals and narration help us understand her processes, her creativity, and also how her upbringing has shaped her work. Art installations can be complex to understand at times. This film makes Costantino’s work accessible and also gives it deeper meaning.
PORTRAITS OF A SEARCH / RETRATOS DE UNA BÚSQUEDA
Program: World Showcase
Dir. Alicia Calderón, Mexico
Saturday, April 25, 9:45pm Scotiabank Theatre
Monday, April 27, 4:00 pm TIFF Bell Lightbox
Sunday, May 3, 6:30pm Scotiabank Theatre
As the Mexican drug wars rage on, thousands of mothers ceaselessly search for their children who have disappeared in the senseless conflict. Choosing different paths, three strong mothers confront the uncertainty of their inquiries to the authorities.
At times disheartening and furtrating, at other times powerful and inspiring, these women’s stories and that of their missing loved ones, shed light on the abuses of power by the local government and police authorities. These very personal stories highlight the need for change. Their hope and perserverence are a reminder that the fight must go on… the fight against impunity and corruption… the fight against the officials’ silence. The disappeared deserve to have their voices heard, too. A thought-provoking film indeed.
DAUGHTER OF THE LAKE / HIJA DE LA LAGUNA
Program: International Spectrum
Dir. Ernesto Cabellos Damián, Peru
Tuesday, April 28, 8:45pm Scotiabank Theatre
Thursday, April 30, 6:15pm TIFF Bell Lightbox
Saturday, May 2, 4:30pm Scotiabank Theatre
When a mining corporation threatens the waters that she holds sacred, Nelida, a young indigenous Andean woman who speaks with the spirits of the lake, summons all her powers to come to their defense.
Indigenous people the world over have a deep belief in their connection to the land, water, nature. Nelida’s people in Peru do so as well. In an all-too common story of exploitation of natural resources, someone has to speak against the mining corporations who promise economic development with support from local governments. Nelida speaks with and for the spirits of the lake. But nature also speaks for itself, as the cameras show us its vast splendour; the sounds, its elloquence. This film aims to gives us perspective as to why nature is so sacred for the locals, how mining affects many around the globe, and makes us think about the natural world as an entity which deserves respect.
Lastly, I encourage you to attend Hot Docs’ Outstanding Achievement Award Retrospective honouring the influential work of Chilean documentary filmmaker Patricio Guzmán. Hot Docs director of programming Charlotte Cook describes Guzmán as “a filmmaker who expertly combines powerful political messages and highly beautiful craft”. I could not agree with her more.
He has worked on over 20 films, which are regularly selected and awarded prizes at international festivals, throughout a career spanning more than 40 years. For those not familiar with Guzmán’s works, this is a chance to catch his internationally renowned films, including The Battle of Chile; The Pinochet Case; Chile, Obstinate Memory; Nostalgia For The Light and others.
For full Hot Docs listings, schedule, and box office information, please visit hotdocs.ca. Be sure to plan ahead as many of these and other screenings are sure to sell out. Happy Hot Doc’g!