María Fernanda Restrepo / Ecuador / 137 min / 2012 / Spanish with English subtitles
In 1988, when director Fernanda Restrepo was only 10 years old, her life changed in the cruelest of ways: her two brothers—then 14 and 17—vanished without a trace. Only later did the family learn that the boys had been illegally detained, tortured, and murdered by the Ecuadorean police. Now, decades later, with her brothers’ remains still missing, Restrepo embarks on the painful journey of recounting her family’s story. In the process, she comes face to face with the suspects, and documents yet one more search in Lake Yambo, where the boys’ bodies were dumped. “Giving up is the only way to lose a battle,” says Restrepo’s father, still asking for clues and protesting in Quito’s Presidential Palace Square every Wednesday against the lack of answers.
Ignacio Ferreras / Spain / 89 min / 2014 / Spanish with English subtitles
Former bank manager Emilio is dispatched to a retirement home by his family. His new roommate is a wily, wheeler-dealer named Miguel, who cheerfully swindles small amounts of cash from the more befuddled residents, but is also full of handy insider tips that are crucial to survival. We are introduced to daily pill regimens, electric gates, and an eccentric cast of characters who rebel against institutional authority, while doing everything in their power to avoid being assigned to the dreaded assisted living wing–from which there is no return. The hand-drawn animation style allows the film to move freely between the reality-bound daily lives of the ‘inmates’ and their more colorful dementia-induced fantasies, leaving plenty of room for both tears and laughter and pulling no punches in its critique of society’s attitude towards the elderly. Based on Paco Roca’s Award-winning graphic novel, Wrinkles illustrates the visual beauty and tender emotion that can be created by traditional animation, as it tackles a universal subject matter with humor and acerbic wit.
YVY MARAEY: LAND WITHOUT EVIL (Yvy Maraey: Tierra sin mal)
Juan Carlos Valdivia / Bolivia / 105 min / 2014 / Spanish and Guaraní with English subtitles
A Bolivian filmmaker and a Guaraní Indian travel together through the forests of South Eastern Bolivia with the intention of making a film about the Guarani People. The starting point is a 1911 film by Swedish explorer Erland Nordenskiöld. But today’s reality turns out to be much more intense than the nostalgia for a lost world. In Yvy Maraey, the white man (the director) and the Indian create and interpret their own characters, walking the thin line between documentary, fiction, and performance. Far from observing another culture, we are watched and questioned about our identity in a country undergoing enormous social, political, and historical change as it struggles to create an intercultural society. Yvy Maraey is a quest for the knowledge within, seen through the eyes of the other. The learning comes from listening, which is another form of seeing. The film combines reality with an epic tale of a heroic indigenous nation.