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Month-long Spanish-language film festival kicks off with 'Un Cuento Chino'

January 24, 2014

Sponsored by the department of modern languages and literatures, Beloit College will host a Spanish language film festival starting Friday (Jan. 24) and running through Friday, Feb. 28. The films will take place from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. in MI’s Richardson Auditorium; the festival is co-sponsored by the history, political science, critical identity studies, education and youth studies and international relations departments.

The films are as follows:

Friday, Jan. 24: Un Cuento Chino (Chinese Take-Away)
Argentina, Spain / 98 min / 2012 / Spanish with English subtitles

Argentina's national treasure, Ricardo Darín, plays Roberto, a gruff, anti-social loner who lords over his tiny hardware shop in Buenos Aires with a meticulous sense of control and routine, barely allowing for the slightest of customer foibles. After a chance encounter with Jun, a Chinese man who has arrived in Argentina looking for his only living relative, Roberto takes him in. Their unusual cohabitation helps Roberto bring an end to his loneliness, but not without revealing to the impassive Jun that destiny's intersections are many and they can even divulge the film's surreal opening sequence: a brindled cow falling from the sky.

Friday, Jan. 31: Con Mi Corazon En Yambo (With My Heart in Yambo)
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.

Friday, Feb. 7: La Yuma 
Nicaragua / 91 min / 2011

Nicaragua’s first full-length feature in 20 years, La Yuma tells the story of a young woman who dreams of transcending her bleak life in the slums of Managua by becoming a boxer. Looking beyond the meager possibilities that seem available to her (and ignoring the advice of her gang-member friends), she finds solace and hope in her training and falls in love with a middle-class journalism student.

Friday, Feb. 21: Aquí y Allá (Here and There)
USA, Spain, Mexico / 110 min / 2012 / Spanish with English subtitles

Antonio Méndez Esparza's directorial debut radiantly captures the complex homecoming of a loving father. In an unexpected take on the traditional immigrant story, Pedro returns home to a small mountain village in Guerrero, Mexico, after years of working in New York. He finds his daughters older and more distant than he imagined, but his wife still has the same smile. The villagers think this year’s crop will be bountiful, and there is work in a growing city nearby. But the locals are wise to a life of insecurity, and their thoughts are often of family members or opportunities far away, north of the border.

Friday, Feb. 28: Pa Negre (Black Bread)
Spain/ 108 min/ 2011/ Catalan with English subtitles

Andreu comes across the bodies of a father and son in the forest; leaning over the dying boy, Andreu hears him whisper “Pitorliu”—the name of a monster supposedly haunting local caves. But the real monsters in this brilliant adaptation of Emil Teixidor’s novel are the local Fascists, who keep close watch on the family of Andreu and other Republican sympathizers—and who think Andreu’s father might know more about these murders than he admits. Reminiscent of Pan's Labyrinth and adored by audiences and critics alike, Black Bread won a number of prizes, including nine Goya Awards and the Spanish selection for the 2011 Academy Awards for Best Foreign Film.

The Spanish Film Club series was made possible with the support of Pragda, and the Embassy of Spain in Washington D.C., Spain-USA Foundation. Special thanks to the Secretary of State for Culture of Spain.