From the country that boasts over 600 beauty pageants each year comes 3 Beauties, a scathing satire of Venezuela’s fixation with beauty and its relation to social status. Perla is the single mother of two competitive daughters, products of her own unfulfilled childhood obsession to become a beauty queen, and a son who she completely ignores. As the years pass, Perla’s unlimited efforts to achieve her dream through her “two princesses” transforms everyone’s lives into a nightmare. Toddlers & Tiaras meets Pedro Almodóvar in this frantic, devious comedy.
399 AMÍN ABEL HASBÚN. MEMORY OF A CRIME (339 Amín Abel Hasbún. Memoria de un crimen)
Etzel Báez / Dominican Republic / 97 min / 2014 / Spanish with English subtitles
Based on a real story, 339 Amín Abel Hasbún. Memory of a Crime is an intriguing account of the murder of Amín Abel Hasbún, a brilliant student leader in the Dominican Republic accused of kidnapping U.S. Embassy official, J. Crowley. Hasbún was one of many young leftists fighting against the government of Dr. Joaquín Balaguer, who favored a repressive regime. Hasbun’s death shook the sensibility of the Dominican people to the point that Balaguer had to orchestrate an investigation despite the fact that his government had been responsible for the cold-blooded murder. With a plot that involved the CIA and the Dominican Republic Police Force, the film does an excellent job at deconstructing the events that took place the morning of September 24, 1970, when Amín, his wife and 2-year-old son received the fatal visit from the police and country’s District Attorney.
7 BOXES (7 Cajas)
Juan Carlos Maneglia, Tana Schémbori / Paraguay / 105 min /2014 / Spanish, Guaraní, and Korean with English subtitles
It’s Friday night in Asunción, Paraguay, and the temperature is sweltering. Víctor, a 17-year-old wheelbarrow delivery boy, dreams of becoming famous and covets a fancy TV set in the infamous Mercado 4. He’s offered a chance to deliver seven boxes with unknown contents in exchange for a quick one hundred US dollars. But, what sounds like an easy job soon gets complicated. Something in the boxes is highly coveted and Víctor and his pursuers quickly find themselves caught up in a crime they know nothing about. Reminiscent of Slumdog Millionaire, 7 Boxes was declared of Cultural Interest by the National Secretary of Culture of Paraguay.
A MOONLESS NIGHT (Una nocha sin luna)
Germán Tejeira / Argentina, Uruguay / 81 min / 2015 / Spanish with English subtitles
On New Year’s Eve, three lonely characters travel to a small town in the Uruguayan countryside. Cesar, a divorced man, arrives at the town, where he will have dinner with his ex-wife’s new family in an attempt to win back his daughter’s love. Antonio, a small-time magician, is trying to get to the town to perform his routine at the community center, but his car breaks down. Stranded in the middle of the deserted road, he meets Laura, a woman working at the toll station. Miguel, a performer, prepares to sing at the community center’s New Year’s Eve party. By following their paths to the town, the characters have a chance to change their destinies. Up-and-coming Uruguayan director Germán Tejeira creates a moving, poignant, witty character study in his first feature film.