Caribbean-related film at Toronto International Film Festival


In “From Gael García Bernal to Cardi B: These Are the Latino Movies Playing the Toronto Film Festival,” Remezcla’s Manuel Betancourt lists the many projects at the Canadian festival that feature Latino and Latin American themes, actors, or directors. Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 5 to September 15, 2019. Betancourt writes, “With 245 features, 82 shorts, and 6 series (that’s 28,264 minutes of film), TIFF is without a doubt one of the biggest film festivals in the world. It’s encouraging to see the range of U.S. Latino and Latin American representation across the program this year.” 

Here are a few selections that center on Caribbean themes and/or Caribbean-Latino characters/actors: Agosto, directed by Cuban-born Armando Capó; Lorene Scafaria’s Hustlers, which features Latina actors Jennifer López and Cardi B; and Olivier Assayas’s Wasp Network, on dissidence in Cuba’s 90s and the role of the U.S.

Agosto by Armando Capó (Cuba) 2019

Synopsis: At the end of the Cold War, Cuba experienced one of its worst socio-economic periods. Euphemistically called “Special Period in Time of Peace,” this era was marked by economic scarcity and a massive migration wave to the United States known as the balseros (rafters) crisis. The nadir occurred in August 1994, the few weeks depicted in Armando Capó’s debut film, August. This sensitive coming-of-age movie follows Carlos, a teenager living with his parents and senile grandmother in the rural coastal town of Gibara. Under the blazing summer sun, he spends time with friends and explores his sexual curiosity all while enduring precarious living conditions. Thankfully, he has the support of his loved ones. As he witnesses illegal immigrants heading north in frail boats, he never imagines that, one day, his family will be affected by this diaspora. His life takes an unexpected turn defined by the rapidly shifting landscape of international politics.

Hustlers by Lorene Scafaria (United States) 2019

Synopsis: Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu, Cardi B, Keke Palmer, and Julia Stiles lead a dazzling cast in one of the most groundbreaking mainstream movies of the year. Starting from Jessica Pressler’s magazine article about exotic dancers turning the tables on their thirsty clients, director Lorene Scafaria delivers an intoxicating cocktail of crime, sex, and money. That’s just the sizzle. The meat of Hustlers is its exploration of how a man’s power shapes a woman’s work — until it doesn’t. Destiny (Wu) is still learning on the job — what to wear, how to lap dance, how to sell a fantasy of sexual availability to the men who flow into her club from their own daily hustle on Wall Street. Ramona (Lopez) is the undisputed queen dancer at the club. A former centerfold model, she’s entirely levelheaded about her expertise in whipping men into a wallet-emptying frenzy. But the money rolling in comes crashing to a halt with the financial crisis of 2008. As the mood in New York gets darker and each dollar earned more desperate, Ramona, Destiny, and their strip-club sisters cook up a new hustle — more dangerous, more lucrative, and most definitely more illegal.

Wasp Network by Olivier Assayas (France) 2019

Synopsis: Tracking the paths of several Cuban dissidents from the ’90s on, Wasp Network sheds light on events of enormous consequence to the way we think about terror, the drug trade, and international relations. It also features a stunning ensemble of international stars, including Edgar Ramírez, Oscar winner Penélope Cruz, and Gael García Bernal. In December 1990, airline pilot René González (Ramírez) steals a plane and flees Cuba, which is about to topple into an economic crisis precipitated by the collapse of the Soviet Union. Having abandoned his wife (Cruz) and daughter, René (now based in Miami), he’s regarded as a coward and a traitor, though in letters home he explains that he is fighting for a more just and prosperous Cuba as a member of the activist organization Brothers to the Rescue. Along with fellow exile and pilot Juan Pablo Roque (Wagner Moura), René gradually becomes more aware of the moral compromises the Brothers make to do their work, and the degree to which the CIA is involved in supporting anti-Castro activities.

For full article, see

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s