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American Women's Club of Hamburg

Film review - Vitrina: Spanish and Portuguese Language Films

Vitrina – Spanish and Portuguese Language Films
In 2013 there were an apropos 13 films in the Vitrina section which focused on Spanish- and Portuguese-language films. And indeed, the section is as broad as its descriptions hints at. The films ranged from a drawn-out Portuguese film about a filmmaker suffering with HIV in What Now? Remind Me, to the tragic trip of three Guatemalan youths trying to make it to the States in La Juala de Oro, to the story of corruption and man-eating Argentinian rabbits in Rabbit Woman. It is truly fascinating to see films created from a Hispanic and Portuguese cultural standpoint, and some were truly fascinating.

Avanti Popolo by Michael Wahrmann, Brazil
Through the use of Super8 films, the son tries to connect with his father who still hasn’t recovered from the disappearance of his other son during the military dictatorship 30 years earlier. While slow paced and slightly lumbering, the interesting use of a stationary camera and poignant music help bring out the deep trauma of former times.

La Juala de Oro by Diego Quemada-Diez, Mexico
A slow-paced road trip film of three Guatemalans attempting to get to America. The tragedies that face these teens as they slowly make their way north is extremely touching. Well-acted and revealing, it was one of the more accessible films in Vitrina.

The Other Day by Ignacio Agüero, Chile
The filmmaker begins to question the various beggars and workers who come to visit his home on a regular basis and asks to see them at their homes. The fundamental idea of the documentary is fascinating; however, Agüero combines this with random artistic shots of his home which disrupts the flow and the impact of the film.

Rabbit Woman by Veronica Chen, Argentina
A thriller about a woman whose upstanding morals causes her to flee from the Chinese mafia to the Argentinian countryside where she finds that genetically mutated rabbits have been wreaking havoc. Although interesting, the film is often confusing and the random use of Anime sometimes is off-putting. Combined with racial stereotyping, the film is rather disappointing.

What Now? Remind Me by Joaquim Pinto, Portugal.
A thought-provoking documentary about Pinto’s struggle with new medication for his HIV and Hepatitis C over a year period. Although it is eye-opening to see a man realistically dealing with HIV for the long term, the 164-minute-run time was unbearably long. Its poignancy was lost due to its dullness. (Rose Finlay)

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