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Posted by Patricia Zimmermann at 5:33AM   |  10 comments
Lucrecia Martel, film director, Argentina

Blog posting written by Rodrigo Brandao, director of publicity for Kino Lorber Films

At the end of 2009, film blogger Mario Diaz, together with Cinema Tropical, put together a list of the Top Ten Latin American Films of the Decade (2000-2009) according to a select group of New York “film professionals” involved with the marketing and distribution of Latin American films in the US.  The idea was to ask select critics, scholars and film professionals to submit their own list of best Latin American films of the decade and simply tally up the results at the end.

In all, 124 films (representing 14 Latin American countries) were nominated for the distinction of being Best of the Decade, and the presence of three Lucrecia Martel films on the final list, as well as the notoriety of most of the films on the list, proved to be a bit controversial for many. On the podcast below, Carlos A. Gutiérrez (Cinema Tropical), Judy Mam, Soldanela Rivera, Rodrigo Brandão (BrazilNYC) and Jeronimo Rodriguez (NY1) discuss the results, while also raising many issues about the current status of film distribution in the United States.

Here is the conversation (also dubbed Tropicast) which took place on March 24, 2010.
http://brazilnyc.podbean.com/mf/web/ciprb9/DS400228.mp3

For more information on the Top 10 list, visit the Cinema tropical web site.

And here are the Top 10 Latin American Films of the last decade. What do you think?

1. La Ciénaga  (Lucrecia Martel, Argentina, 2001)

2. Amores Perros  (Alejandro González Iñárritu, Mexico, 2000)

3. Luz Silenciosa  (Carlos Reygadas, Mexico, 2007)

4. Cidade de Deus ( Fernando Meirelles,Brazil, 2002)

5. Ônibus 174  (José Padilha and Felipe Lacerda, Brazil, 2002)

6. Y tu mamá También  (Alfonso Cuarón, Mexico, 2001)

7. Whisky (Juan Pablo Rebella and Pablo Stoll, Uruguay, 2004)

8. La Mujer sin Cabeza (Lucrecia Martel, Argentina, 2008)

9. La Niña Santa (Lucrecia Martel, Argentina, 2004)

10. El Laberinto del Fauno  (Guillermo del Toro, Mexico/Spain, 2006)

Also, here’s a You Tube video of the discussion AFTER the podcast recording. The video was shot and edited on an Iphone. Both the podcast recording and the Iphone editing was done by Rodrigo Brandão

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mbxKOQHZT30


 


10 Comments

Hi Rodrigo,

Thanks for your post on the top LA films of the decade. It definitely got me thinking. I program at a great nonprofit microcinema in Brooklyn, NYC called UnionDocs. We recently had Carlos from Cinema Tropical in to do a talk on Latin American cinema which was really interesting. I have tremendous respect for him and what CT is doing, although the list calls some things into question for me.

I wonder what is meant by the 'top ten' films. What type of films? There are all sorts of levels of indie, alternative, studio, etc being released and I assume this is all being judged together, but by people mostly associated with a more alternative and indie bent. Those are definitely the ones I am more interested in, but something to keep note of. Also, does top take into account US distribution and LA distribution and impact? Why didn't any LA distributors, critics, filmmakers vote on the list (if they didn't)?

Carlos and I spoke a lot about validation and what it takes for these films to get recognized in the distribution landscape of N American and Europe. It seems things have come a long way, but still so much slips through the cracks. I heard rumors of an awards show for LA cinema which I think would be quite exciting if done right. I'm curious to see how things will continue to unfold...

-Steve

hi rodrigo,

first of all, i am glad to know latin american films are calling the attention of critics more and more every day. i have a question regarding this ranking. what exactly is the criteria or why do you think is the reason for THESE films to be here? is it the sum of different characteristics or is there one main reason?
-mariana

Hello Rodrigo,

Interesting article on latin american films of the decade. I've seen many, including City of God which happens to be one of my favorite movies of all time. I feel as though these films, along with many foreign films, do not get enough exposure in the U.S. and other places and as a result have not been seen. But Latin America has produced some of the finest pieces of cinema in the past decade, including amores perros and even children of men, directed by cuaron. (although technically not a latin american film). Kudos to the filmmakers and I will definitely watch the rest of these out of interest.

Although I have not seen any of these films I am sure that they are all fantastic. It is so great how films from al around the world, including Latin America, are becoming internationally renowned. Why is it though that these were the list of favorite Top 10 films? Was there a certain criteria the New York Professionals were given in their selections or just merely because they "liked" the film?

Samantha

I, too, have not seen any of these films but have heard amazing reviews. It is incredible that 124 of these Latin American films were nominated for "Best of the Decade." I agree with Samantha's comment...what makes these film the "Top 10" best? But anyway, I think that these international films should be brought to more attention in the US because I feel they are not well known. My dad volunteers at an arts cinema and they have shown several of them, which is how I heard about them. Otherwise, I probably wouldn't have known they existed.

I've been researching Latin American cinema ever since I stumbled upon City of God a couple years ago. The films coming out of these countries are far and beyond some of their Western counterparts. They are incredibly unique in story telling. City of God's flashback/narrator-driven story, Pan's Labyrinth child-like storybook telling, and Bus 174's docu-action story of piecing together a historical event with camera present. Latin American cinema is growing and becoming an extremely powerful force in world cinema today

I am also interested in the criteria used to rank this impressive list of films. Although I am interested in Latin American culture and film, I have unfortunately not yet seen all of those listed. As a result, I cannot personally speculate on the arrangement of titles in the list. However, El Laberinto Del Fauno does rank among my favorite films. The way in which Guillermo Del Toro blends the fantastic with realistic horrors of war never ceases to amaze me. I will surely be seeking out the other films in pursuit of greater cultural understanding and wonderful filmmaking.

I like to see that critics are making more of an effort to call attention to Latin American films. The movie that opened my eyes to the Latin American film is City of God. I found this story to be very compelling and captivating. The cinematography and mise-en-scene helps build continuity with the digesis within the film. After I saw this movie, I was inspired to step out of the realm of western cinema and classical Hollywood cinema and broaden my horizons in respect to other outside countries and cultures.

Y Tu Mama Tambien was an excellent choice to include on this list. I believe it was brilliantly shot, and the journey that these three individuals embark on take the audience to some incredible locations. It also deals with coming of age issues, which are certainly prevalent for high school/college students.
While Y Tu Mama was a nice surprise to see, Cidade De Dues is perhaps the most powerful film to come out in years, let alone Latin America. It deals with some of the most dangerous political issues like drugs, police corruption, and the inability to change. On top of the countless social aspects, this film is just beautifully shot. If I remember correctly, it combines hand-held shots with the standard medium shots. It also utilizes some beautiful locations and immerses the viewer into this chaotic world. By the end, it is almost shocking that this slum can and does exist.
I have no seen the other eight films, but judging by the caliber of these two, I should definitely get around to it.

Hi Rodrigo,

What I find most interesting about this ranking is that La Ciénaga ranks first. I studied abroad in Argentina and had to watch this film for my Argentine film class. The class hated it, but after discussing the film I really came to appreciate it. The film is a provocative look at the stagnation of Argentina's middle class after the economic crisis of 2001. My class was so frustrated with the film because nothing happens, and I think that feeling was very strategic on the behalf of the filmmaker. Also, in the films portrait of Northwest of Argentina the stillness of the characters is all the more stifling in comparison to the typical chaotic nature of the "city films" of Buenos Aires. I will definitely have to check out the other films and see how they compare. Thanks for your post!



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