Film News: 31st Chicago Latino Film Festival Opens on April 9, 2015 With ‘The Liberator’

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CHICAGO – The 31st edition of the Chicago Latino Film Festival Kicks Off on Thursday, April 9, 2015, with the Venezuelan/Spanish film “The Liberator” (“Libertador”). All films are at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago.

This year’s festival promises another huge array of films originating from Latino countries all over the world, and runs from April 9th through the 23rd. The kick-off film “The Liberator” will be followed by a reception at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Chicago. For details and to purchase tickets click here.

Chicago Latino Film Festival
’The Liberator’ is the Opening Night Film at the 31st Chicago Latino Film Festival
Photo credit: Chicago Latino Film Festival

The Opening Night Capsule and the highlights of Week One are as follows…

StarOPENING NIGHT: “The Liberator”

Selected by Venezuela as their official entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the recent Academy Awards, “The Liberator” is a biography film of Simon Bolivar, the influential 19th Century military leader who led Venezuela, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia to independence from the Spanish empire, fundamentally establishing the political landscape of South America all the way to now. Portrayed by Edgar Ramirez (“Carlos”), and directed by Alberto Arvelo, the film recreates Bolivar’s key military campaigns, and the political upheaval of bringing to life his vision of a unified Latin American continent. Just the film will screen again at 7pm on Friday, April 10th.

Star”Cicada Moon”

Friday, April 10th, 9:30pm

In this Tarantino-like crime film, a young American entrepreneur arrives in Asuncion – the capital of Paraguay – to strike a deal with a crime lord over some lands he wants to use to grow marijuana. At the same time, a man inside the crime lord’s domain is planning a coup of his own. This is director Jorge Diaz de Bedoya’s darkly funny and gritty debut, and another addition to Paraguay’s emerging film industry. Also screening at 7pm on Tuesday, April 14th.


Saturday, April 11th, 6:15pm

Director Carlos Bolado – whose “Tlatelolco, Summer of ’68,” won the Audience Choice Award at the 29th Chicago Latino Film Festival – explores another dark chapter in the history of Latin America. Operation Condor was the CIA-sponsored plan that led to the disappearance of thousands of opponents to South America’s military dictatorships in the 1970s and ‘80s. Bolivian General Jose Mendieta (Damian Alcazar) suffers a debilitating stroke and, haunted by his role in the operation, confesses all to his son Pablo. The film takes an unblinking look at the horrors of this brutal repression. Also screening at 5:45pm on Sunday, April 12th.

Star”One for the Road”

Saturday, April 11th, 6:45pm

In spite of their families’ objections, three eighty-year-old men embark on a road trip in order to fulfill the dying wish of a lifelong friend – to donate the draft of a song written on a napkin by legendary composer Jose Alfredo Jimenez, to the museum bearing his name. The trip brings the men a renewed sense of purpose and possibility in their golden years, and is beautifully acted by Jose Carlos Ruiz, Eduardo Manzano and Luis Bayardo. This gentle and very funny film is a celebration of friendship and Jimenez’s legacy. Also screening at 8:30pm on Sunday, April 12th.

Star”Maracanazo: The Football Legend”

Sunday, April 12th, 3:15pm

Uruguay’s surprising victory over Brazil in the 1950 World Cup final, held at Rio’s Maracaná stadium, is the stuff of legends. “Maracanazo: The Football Legend” is the true story that led to that victory. Using carefully restored news footage and interviews with the surviving players, the documentary takes you to a time before soccer became big business. It provides social and political context to this ultimate match while telling the story of men who became heroes overnight and of those who saw victory snatched away from them. Also screening at 2:15pm on Saturday, April 18th.

Star”42,195 Meters: Beyond the Goal”

Sunday, April 12th, 3:30pm

“42,195 Meters: Beyond the Goal” follows five Costa Rican runners from different walks of life, as they train to run in the 2013 Bank of America Chicago Marathon. For some, it was an opportunity to beat their own personal records. For others, it would be their first marathon ever, the ultimate goal in a new path to lead a healthy life. This truly inspiring documentary depicts the progress and challenges each runner faced, and their elation when they finally reached the finish line. Also screening at 9pm on Tuesday, April 14th.

Star”The Womb”

Monday, April 13th, 6:30pm

Beautiful 45-year-old widow Silvia (Vanessa Saba) is obsessed with having a child, and finds the attractive-but-naive Mercedes (Mayella Lloclla) as the perfect candidate to bear it. The older woman offers Mercedes a job and a room in her house, and then manipulates her into seducing a young man named Jaime (Manual Gold). The couple soon fall in love and Mercedes becomes pregnant, but Silvia will do anything in her power to keep the child, even if it means leaving a couple of bodies behind. Also screening at 8:45pm on Wednesday, April 15th.

The 31st Chicago Latino Film Festival opens April 9th, 2015, and runs through April 23rd. All films at the AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois, Chicago. Click here for day-by-day schedules and to purchase tickets. senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Writer, Editorial Coordinator

© 2015 Patrick McDonald,

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