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Nora’s Will-Movie Review 09/16/2012

Posted by Films to consider in Argentinian Film Critics Association Awards, Ariel Awards, Biarritz International Festival of Latin Cinema, Dark Comedy, Light Drama, Mariana Chenillo, Mexican/Spanish language film, Miami Film Festival, Moscow International Film Festival, Movies.
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Nora’s Will (Mexican/Spanish) 2008
Cinco dias sin Nora

Directed by Mariana Chenillo
Starring Fernando Luján, Ari Brickman, Silvia Mariscal, and Angelina Peláez

Among other awards and nominations:
NOMINATED, Silver Condor-Best Foreign Film, Spanish language, Argentinian Film Critics Association Awards
WINNER, Golden Ariel (Chenillo); Silver Ariel-Best Actor (Luján); Best Screenplay; Best Supporting Actress (Peláez), Ariel Awards, Mexico
WINNER, AFCAE Award-Best Film (Chenillo), Biarritz International Festival of Latin Cinema
WINNER, Audience Award, Miami Film Festival
WINNER, Silver St. George-Best Director; NOMINATED, Golden St. George (Chenillo), Moscow International Film Festival

An entertaining family drama/comedy with slightly dark elements, as the story is set around the suicide and subsequent burial of Nora (Mariscal), ex-wife of the irreverent Jose (Luján).

Nora has controlled her Jewish family’s life for many years, through her ongoing mental illness and several failed suicide attempts. Now, her successful attempt leaves behind a religious dilemma surrounding her burial that her ex-husband and family must resolve.

92 min. Not rated.


Amar a Morir-Movie Review *** 12/24/2011

Posted by Films to consider in Drama, Imagen Foundation Awards, Mexican/Spanish language film, Movies, Romance, Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Thriller.
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Amar a Morir (Mexican/Spanish) 2009 ***
Love Til Death

NOMINATED, Best Director-Film (Lebrija), Imagen Foundation Awards
WINNER, Best Spanish Language Film (Lebrija), Santa Barbara International Film Festival

Directed by Fernando Lebrija
Starring José María de Tavira, Martina García, and Alberto Estrella

The young Alejandro (de Tavira) wants no part of the life his powerful businessman father has planned for him. He leaves Mexico City and ends up in the tiny seaside town of Ocelotitl. There he meets the beautiful Rosa (García) and falls in love.

For two entertaining hours, the film alternates between the budding romance of the charismatic couple and exciting action scenes as they try to escape the vicious clutches of The Tiger (Estrella), a wealthy man who controls the lives of the town’s citizens.

Highly recommended.

120 min. Rated R (violence and adult themes).


Alamar-Movie Review *** 11/25/2011

Posted by Films to consider in Cartagena Film Festival, Film Movement, FIPRESCI Award, Highly recommended, Mexican/Spanish language film, Movies, Rotterdam International Film Festival, Toulouse Latin America Film Festival.
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Alamar (Mexico) 2009 ***
To the Sea

WINNER, Grand Jury Prize, Ibero-American Competition (González-Rubio), Miami Film Festival
WINNER, Feature Film Competition Award; Audience Award, Morelia International Film Festival
WINNER, Tiger Award (González-Rubio), Rotterdam International Film Festival
WINNER, FIPRESCI Prize (González-Rubio), Toulouse Latin America Film Festival
NOMINATED, Best First Work (González-Rubio); Best New Actor (Natan Palombini); Best Sound, Silver Ariel Awards, Mexico
NOMINATED, Golden India Catalina, Best Film, Cartegena Film Festival

From Film Movement

Directed by Pedro González-Rubio
Starring Jorge Machado, Natan Machado Palombini, Nestor Marin Matraca, and Roberta Palombini

This is one of the loveliest and most touching films I’ve seen in a while. Five-year-old Natan (Palombini) leaves his Italian mother to visit with his father Jorge (Machado) in Mexico. They travel by sea to the Chinchorro Reef off the Mexican coast where Jorge helps Natan become familiar with his Mayan heritage. Jorge’s father is a fisherman and the growing bond between the three generations is beautiful to see.

And the reefs, it goes without saying, are absolutely stunning. For more information about this protected area, click here.

Highly recommended.

73 min. Not rated. Suitable for older children.

Also highly recommended is the short film, No Corras Tantos (Take it Easy) that is on the same DVD. It is a five minute animation that uses sand as the medium. The music and lyrics are exceptional as well. I watched it once for the animation alone and the second time to read the lyrics (it was too hard to do both the first time around).


The Violin-Movie Review *** 04/10/2011

Posted by Films to consider in Black & white, Drama, Mexican/Spanish language film, Movies, Spanish language film.
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The Violin (Mexican/Spanish) 2005
El violin

Winner, Un Certain Regard, Best Actor (Tavira), Cannes Film Festival
Winner, Best Ibero-American Film, Miami International Film Festival
Winner, Horizon Award, Special Mention, San Sebastian International Film Festival
Winner, Skyy Prize, Audience Award, San Francisco Film Festival
Official Selection, Toronto International Film Festival

From Film Movement; directed by Francisco Vargas

Starring Angel Tavira, Gerardo Taracena, Mario Garibaldi, Dagoberto Gama, and Fermin Martinez

An amazing film, beautifully filmed in black and white, about a farm family involved in the guerilla movement against their oppressive government. Don Plutarco (Tavira) is the grandfather of the family, who suffered torture and maiming but still continues to play traditional music. He teaches his son Genaro (Taracena) and grandson Lucio (Garibaldi) to do the same. When their village is overrun by soldiers, Plutarco takes it upon himself to save the stash of ammunition hidden on his farm.

The late Don Angel Tavira himself came from a long line of musicians and taught others to play traditional tunes. Maimed at a young age, he played the violin with the bow tied to the stump of his right arm. He was not trained as an actor before his performance in The Violin and won the award for best actor at Cannes. Read more about him here.

98 min. Unrated. Violence and adult themes.