Commemorating the 20th anniversary of Cinema Tropical, the leading presenter of contemporary Latin American filmmaking in the United States, The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) will present the special online film series “Veinte por veinte (20 for 20): Celebrating Cinema Tropical,” taking place August 26-October 5 on MoMA’s Virtual Cinema. Here are excerpts with descriptions of Melaza (Cuba/France/Panama, 2012; directed by Carlos Lechuga) and Santa Teresa y otras historias (Dominican Republic/Mexico/USA, 2015; directed by Nelson Carlo de los Santos Arias). For full schedule and film descriptions, see Cinema Tropical.
The series will present 20 debut feature films by key Latin American writer-directors whose careers Cinema Tropical has helped champion over the past two decades—films that have never before enjoyed theatrical runs in New York by now-celebrated artists like Lisandro Alonso (Argentina), Nicolás Pereda (Mexico), Sebastián Silva (Chile), and Dominga Sotomayor (Chile). The 20 films will be available to stream only in the U.S. on MoMA’s Virtual Cinema, and will be accessible exclusively to the Museum’s members.
Organized by Carlos A. Gutíerrez, Executive Director, Cinema Tropical; and Joshua Siegel, Curator, Department of Film at MoMA, the exhibition will open with a special in-person screening of The Stolen Man, the 2007 debut feature by Argentine director Matías Piñeiro on Thursday, August 26 at MoMA’s Sculpture Garden with the director in attendance. [. . .]
MOLASSES / MELAZA
Written and directed by Carlos Lechuga.
Cuba/France/Panama, 2012, 80 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. With Yuliet Cruz, Armando Miguel Gómez, Luis Antonio Gotti.
When the town sugar mill is shut down, a young couple, Aldo and Mónica, are pushed to the point of desperation as they struggle to preserve their personal passions and principles. While this could have become an overwrought drama, Carlos Lechuga’s debut film defies its title by being neither sickly sweet nor oppressively dark, instead offering sharply drawn characters, a subtle wit, and an understated, sensitive style.
Virtual Cinema, September 2-9
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SANTA TERESA AND OTHER STORIES / SANTA TERESA Y OTRAS HISTORIAS
Written and directed by Nelson Carlo de los Santos Arias.
Dominican Republic/Mexico/USA, 2015, 65 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. With Judit Gómez, Priscilla Lazaro, Cristina Kahlo.
In his auspicious debut fiction film, Dominican ﬁlmmaker Nelson Carlo de los Santos (Cocote) cleverly extrapolates from Chilean author Roberto Bolaño’s unﬁnished, posthumously published novel 2666 to explore a multiplicity of perspectives and voices in a town riven by bloodshed. In the fictional Mexican border town of Santa Teresa (a stand-in for Ciudad Juárez), the researcher Juan de Dios Martínez straddles the line between journalism and detective work, investigating a handful of crimes and abuses perpetrated on women and workers of the zone. Deftly mixing fiction, nonfiction, and essay, Santa Teresa and Other Stories is a lyrical, experimental take on the humanitarian crisis in Mexico brought on by the drug wars.
Virtual Cinema, September 16-23
For full schedule and film descriptions, see https://www.cinematropical.com/cinema-tropical/moma-celebrates-cinema-tropicals-20th-anniversary-with-the-series-veinte-por-veinte