jump to navigation

Crónicas-DVD Review 02/24/2012

Posted by Films to consider in Based on true events, Cartagena Film Festival, Guadalajara Mexican Film Festival, Sebastián Cordero, South American/Spanish language film, Sundance Film Festival, Suspense, Thriller.
Tags: ,
1 comment so far

Crónicas (South American/Spanish/English) 2004
Inspired by true events

Written and directed by Sebastián Cordero
Starring John Leguizamo, Damián Alcazár, Leonor Watling, and José Mariá Yazpik

Among other awards and nominations:
WINNER, Silver Ariel Award, Best Actor (Alcazár); NOMINATED, Silver Ariel, Best Direction; Best Editing; Best Screenplay; Best Sound, Ariel Awards, Mexico
WINNER, Golden India Catalina, Best Actor (Alcazár); NOMINATED, Best Film (Cordero), Cartagena Film Festival
WINNER, Mayahuel Award, Best Actor (Alcazár); Best Film and Best Screenplay (Cordero), Guadalajara Mexican Film Festival
NOMINATED, Grand Jury Prize, World Cinema-Dramatic (Cordero), Sundance Film Festival

Popular television journalist Manolo Bonilla (Leguizamo) brings his producer (Watling) and cameraman (Yazpik) from Miami to Ecuador in search of a sensationalistic story about the child serial killer and rapist known as “The Monster of Babahoyo.” In a small town, the news team gets caught up in the aftermath of an accidental death of a child and the consequent attempted lynching of Vinicio (Alcazár), the man who caused it.

By only showing hints of what “The Monster” has done, the director keeps the horror level tolerable and the suspense level high. The several scenes between the single-minded, ambitious Manolo and the manipulative, emotional Vinicio escalate and lead to a horrible and unexpected ending. Although Alcazár seems to have won the most honors (see above), the talented Leguizamo also deserves mention. Apparently this was the first film in which he spoke Spanish dialogue, something he did not feel comfortable doing. It didn’t show.

108 min. Rated R for violence, sexuality and language.

For more info:


The Wind Journeys-DVD Review *** 02/17/2012

Posted by Films to consider in Bogota Film Festival, Cannes Film Festival, Cartagena Film Festival, Emotional Drama, Film Movement, Movies, Santa Barbara International Film Festival, South American/Spanish language film.
add a comment

The Wind Journeys (South American/Spanish) 2009 ***
Los viajes del viento

WINNER, Golden Precolombian Circle, Best Colombian Film; Best Director (Guerra), Bogota Film Festival
WINNER, Award of the City of Rome (Guerra), Cannes Film Festival
WINNER, Colombian Cinema Award, Best Director (Guerra); Best Film; WINNER, Golden India Catalina, Best Colombian Film, Cartagena Film Festival
WINNER, Best Spanish Language Film, Santa Barbara International Film Festival

From Film Movement
Written and directed by Ciro Guerra
Starring Marciano Martinez

Ignacio (Martinez) feels cursed to spend his life as a wandering troubadour because he thinks that the accordion he plays is controlled by the devil. When he makes a last journey to return the instrument to his elderly teacher, he is followed by Fermin, a young man who envies the life Ignacio leads. The pair must travel a great distance, through beautifully sweeping and varying landscapes. Their stops at villages along the way provide opportunities for music and glimpses into other traditions of the region.

Ignacio is played by Marciano Martinez, composer of hit songs in the vallenato tradition. Vallenato is “born of the valley” folk music from the Caribbean region of Colombia. The spirited and emotional music originated as a means for farmers to deliver the news of the valley in song form.

Highly recommended.

Here’s a taste of Martinez’s music.

117 min. Not rated.

For more info about the film:
The Wind Journeys

The Motorcycle Diaries-DVD Review 07/22/2010

Posted by Films to consider in Based on true story, Biographical, Light Drama, Movies, South American/Spanish language film, Spanish language film.
1 comment so far

The Motorcycle Diaries (South American/Spanish) 2004

Directed by Walter Salles
Starring Gael García Bernal and Rodrigo de la Serna

In the early 1950s, an unlikely pair of friends leave Buenos Aires for a trip across the South American continent on a rickety old bike, “two lives running parallel for a while.” One is easygoing Alberto Granado, a biochemist whose only goal is to finish the journey on his 30th birthday. The second is the studious Ernesto (“Che”) Guevera, an asthmatic med student with a special interest in leprosy research. Their itinerary will take them from Buenos Aires to the Guajira Peninsula in Venezuela, with a stop at the San Pablo leper colony in the Peruvian Amazon.

With a backdrop of spectacular scenery, the film follows the pair’s many mishaps and adventures, some serious and some amusing, and portrays Guevara’s growing awareness of the plight of the poor on the South American continent, which contributed to his later political choices. Based on the true story, and including entries from Guevara’s diaries. Be sure to watch the Special Features, which includes photos and an interview with Granado.

126 min. Rated R.

For more information:
The Motorcycle Diaries (Widescreen Edition)