Wednesday´s Movie Night
The Institute of Hispanic Culture of Houston invites you to The History Through Cinema. It is a program of 16 current Latin American and Spanish films that give an account of Hispanic-American history from the 15th century to the present.
The screenings are completely free and open to the public. They begin next March 27 at 6pm with the movie Queen Isabella in Person by Rafael Gordon. This previously unreleased film in Houston will feature a special presentation of the director himself.
The festival lasts from March til November, and are shown the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month.
The movie will include English subtitles and free popcorn.
The Institute of Hispanic Culture of Houston is located on 3315 Sul Ross St., Houston Texas.
DISCOVERY & CONQUEST
Queen Isabella in person
Queen Isabella of Castile makes a retrospective of what her life has been like. Of the political and social achievements that she achieved, as well as her struggle against the loneliness she endured. Isabella knew the obligations she had and was always severe and responsible with them, she supported the initiatives of Christopher Columbus, signed important political treaties and married Fernando the Catholic, with whom she had a family life full of misfortunes, such as the death of two children and her daughter´s madness.
Isabel Ordaz is the only performer of this unusual film and the weight of the plot falls on her. The script carefully examines every part of the life of the queen and the feelings of the queen, a woman advanced for her time. Rafael Gordon directs a film which is emotional and disturbing.
The broken Crown
Early 16th century: following the death of Isabel la Católica, her widow Fernando de Aragón enters in an open war with his tyrannical son-in-law, Felipe el Hermoso, lord of Flandes, who wants to be the new king of the kingdom of Castilla above all. In the middle of the conflict his wife Juana, Fernando’s daughter, turns in the center of attention caused by her unstable mind state. Trying to preserve the kingdom for their descendants, Fernando asks help Cardinal Cisneros in order to make a deal with Felipe, but this one has his own agenda looking to expel Fernando out of the Castilla to claim the throne for him, avoiding any contact between father and daughter that it could be an obstacle for his ambitions. But will can Juana to mediate between the two men of her life to prevent a war between the kingdoms that it annihilates the legacy and will of her beloved and deceased mother, or her growing insanity will be the perfect excuse to start the war?
The other Conquest
In 1520, Topilzin, the son of Montezuma, struggled to preserve his people’s religious and cultural identity in the wake of the invasion of his land by Spanish conquerors and clergymen. Catholic priests began spreading the gospel to the local “heathens” while the Spanish soldiers pillaged the Mexican countryside. Though the region was regarded as one of the most advanced societies in the Western Hemisphere at the time of the Europeans’ arrival, the land, the people and its culture were soon shattered. The film portrays two forms of conquest – physical and spiritual – are inherent to colonization, but even more importantly, it tells the story of the natives’ creative resistance against all odds in their will to survive with dignity and pride.
Spain 17th century. Diego Alatriste, brave and heroic soldier, is fighting under his King’s army in the Flandes region. His best mate, Balboa, falls in a trap and near to die ask to Diego, as his last desire, to looking after his son Inigo and grow him as a soldier. Alatriste has to come back to Madrid.
LIBERTADORES Y REVOLUCION
El ojo del canario (José Martí)
This historical drama, depicting different phases in the late childhood and youth of the so-called “Apostle of Cuba” José Martí. 9 year old Martí is bullied in school by schoolmates and abused by his schoolmaster, while he learns notions of justice and oppression from his father. He discovers the beauties of Mother Nature with an old slave, explores his sexuality and enters into the world of high art in a Havanan theater. The boy also becomes aware of the high price a poor child has to pay for education. In the last two segments (“Birthday” and “Bars”), Daniel Romero plays the adolescent Martí in a more intense but still taciturn manner, as the budding Romantic poet becomes a militant for the liberation of Cuba under Spanish tyranny.
The story follows a 15-year-old Manuel Corvalán, who decides to leave his upper-class family and be disinherited by his father to join the newly formed Army of the Andes, commanded by the General José de San Martín.
Goya in Bordeaux
Francisco Goya (1746-1828), deaf and ill, lives the last years of his life in voluntary exile in Bordeaux, a Liberal protesting the oppressive rule of Ferdinand VII. He’s living with his much younger wife Leocadia and their daughter Rosario. He continues to paint at night, and in flashbacks stirred by conversations with his daughter, by awful headaches, and by the befuddlement of age, he relives key times in his life, particularly his relationship with the Duchess of Alba, his discovery of how he wanted to paint (insight provided by Velázquez’s work), and his lifelong celebration of the imagination. Throughout, his reveries become tableaux of his paintings.
Simon Bolivar fought over 100 battles against the Spanish Empire in South America. He rode over 70,000 miles on horseback. His military campaigns covered twice the territory of Alexander the Great. His army never conquered — it liberated.
1898 The last ones in Philippines
In 1898, Spain sends a military squad to the town of Baler, Philippines, to protect one of the last colonies of the Spanish Empire, to avoid rebellious natives from recovering its ancient territories. Lead by Captain Enrique de las Morenas and Lieutenant Cerezo, proud military men, the soldiers are stalked by night by the rebels, and are forced to seek refuge in the church run by Fray Carmelo, Baler’s priest. Turning the church into a military fort, the unrelenting heat and malaria starts to sweep across the men. After the Captain’s death by a disease called beriberi, Cerezo steps in as the new leader of the squad, faced with a constant power struggle with Jimeno, a soldier from the previous squad annihilated by the rebels.
Some might find parallels with the Kennedy assassination as the actual perpetrators of the important historical event which climaxes this film are still disputed. There are many possible culprits and this film gives just one possible scenario. It does not go into politics but is a sombre psychological portrait, though with many touches of dry humour.
Excellent photography and recreation of Bogota in the 1940s. The acting styles are also redolent of that period. I am not sure if that was intentional, but it works well.
One slight puzzle. Although by the time of the events shown Roa is an obvious loser, there are many suggestions that he has (or at one time had) the ability to charm people. He has a beautiful and kindly young wife and other loyal and long-suffering friends. but only the weak, naïve, delusional and surly aspects of his character are ever shown (apart from his love for his daughter).
The German Doctor (Wakolda)
Patagonia, 1960. A German doctor (Alex Brendemühl) meets an Argentinean family and follows them on a long desert road to a small town where the family will be starting a new life. Eva (Natalia Oreiro), Enzo (Diego Peretti) and their three children welcome the doctor into their home and entrust their young daughter, Lilith (Florencia Bado), to his care, not knowing that they are harboring one of the most dangerous criminals in the world. At the same time, Israeli agents are desperately looking to bring THE GERMAN DOCTOR to justice. Based on filmmaker Lucía Puenzo’s (XXY) fifth novel, the story follows Josef Mengele, the “Angel of Death,” a German SS officer and a physician at the Auschwitz concentration camp, in the years he spent “hiding”, along with many other Nazi’s, in South America following his escape from Germany. Mengele was considered to be one of WWII’s most heinous Nazi war criminals.
Allende in his Labyrinth
The last 7 hours of democratically elected former President of Chile Salvador Allende and his closest collaborators, inside the Palace of La Moneda, during the brutal military coup d’etat on Sept. 11, 1973, the day democracy in Chile ended. Based on true events.
A young boy, in an effort to have a normal childhood in 1980’s El Salvador, is caught up in a dramatic fight for his life as he desperately tries to avoid the war which is raging all around him.
La Vida Loca
“La Vida Loca” reflects a depressing and hopeless reality. The documentary, by photojournalist and filmmaker Christian Poveda, follows some of the members of “la dieciocho”, the so-called 18th Street gang in a poor San Salvador neighborhood.
Wed. October 9th @6pm
14 Kilometres, the distance separating Africa from Europe, is a road movie depicting the hardships and challenges some people undertake in order to reach their dream destination, where they believe they can find paradise.
The film follows the perilous journey of three characters across the Sahara to Morocco in order to cross the Straits of Gibraltar into Spain, as they attempt to reach the supposedly lavish lands of Europe where there is hope for the future. This trio consists of a young girl, Violet, who lives in a village in Mali, escaping her arranged marriage to an old man; Buba, a mechanic and a skillful footballer, and his older brother Mukela from the neighbouring Niger, who suggests that he go to Europe to try his skills there.
Wed. October 23th @6pm
Even the Rain
Spanish director Sebastián, his executive producer Costa and all his crew are in Bolivia, in the Cochabamba area, to shoot a motion picture about Christopher Columbus, his first explorations and the way the Spaniards treated the Indians at the time. Costa has chosen this place because the budget of the film is tight and here he can hire supernumeraries, local actors and extras on the cheap. Things go more or less smoothly until a conflict erupts over the privatization of the water supply. The trouble is that one of the local actors, is a leading activist in the protest movement.
Wed. November 6th @6pm