Reviewer Ed Farolan


From Tuesday to Tuesday

Date and Venue 3 Sep 5pm Cinematheque

Argentina 2012. Director Gustavo Fernández Triviño

An exciting crime thriller! But quite unique. One would expect this giant of a man referred to as the "ïncredible hulk" to do all the violent moves typical of a Hollywood movie. Instead, he keeps his cool, despite being bullied by his boss and others. It's a stereotype twist: a jock, dumb-ass type, but he isn't. In fact, he intelligently plots out a way of getting money from the rapist, anoymously compensates the victim, gets the culprit jailed, and achieves his dream of owning his own gym. Bravo, Director Triviño and actor Pablo Pinto!


Viva Cuba

Date and Venue 1 Sep 1pm Cinematheque

Cuba/France 2005. Director Juan Carlos Cremata Malberti

A lovely and delightful film by this award-winning filmmaker/director! It mixes the innocence of childhood with puppy love and sworn friendship. These children are probably adults now as this was produced eight years ago. I enjoyed every scene, and the acting was so natural. This film was awarded Best Film at the International Children's Cinema Festival in Cannes a few years back. I was hoping for a dialogue with the director after the screening, but he didn't show up.


Dates and Venues 1 Sep 2:45pm Cinematheque & 6 Sep 5pm SFU Harbour Centre

Mexico/Canada 2012. Director Yulene Olaizola

For a Canadian, this documentary is extremely boring. It reflects the typical dismal and bleak tundra landscape of Newfoundland, and the difficult-to-understand dialect spoken by the actors. If it weren't for the Spanish subtitles, I wouldn't have understood most of the dialogues. Perhaps for a latino, this would be something different as it contrasts the landscape and warm ambience in South America. Furthermore, I found the pacing so slow that I nodded off in some instances.

Building Royale

Date and Venue 1 Sep 4pm Cinematheque

Colombia/France/Venezuela 2012. Director Ivan Wild

I'm reminded of Altman's style of directing as Wild connects the lives of the different eccentric/crazy people living in this building. There's a mortician who philosophizes about death and mortality; a man with Alzheimers who doesn't remember anything, and a nutty woman with weird dreams involving Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt. But the central characters are Zoila, the owner, an ex-Queen of the Barranquilla Carnival, still concerned about her looks, while cockroaches run all over her suite; and Gabriel, the maintenance man who panics when he gets an unexpected visit from a health inspector. The film has a gruesome, bloody ending similar to the horror flicks of Hollywood. I'm half and half about this film. The storyline and directorial techniques are good, but I found the pacing a tad too slow.


Eufrosina's Revolution

Date and Venue 31 Aug 3pm Cinematheque

Mexico 2012. Director Luciana Kaplan

An excellent documentary! Kaplan was present in this screening, and answered some interesting questions on why she did this film. In fact, she showed surprise on how Eufrosina Cruz Mendoza, an indigenous woman, rose from poverty to the elitist position as a member of the House of Representatives in Mexico. According to the filmmaker, she started filming this when Eufrosina was just beginning to embark on a campaign to break the cycle of teenage pregnancy and poverty in her town of Santa María Quiegolani, Oaxaca. She ran for town mayor in 2007, but her victory was rejected because she was a woman. Determined not to be ignored, she began a personal crusade for gender equality in indigenous communities, questioning the current system of “Uses and Customs” and becoming a controversial figure. This film ends with Eufrosina's inner struggle on her principles that sparked her crusade versus the life of a politician where all is talk and debate with no real results.


7 Boxes

Dates and Venues 31 Aug 7pm & 8 Sep 3pm Cinematheque

Paraguay 2012. Directors Tana Schembori & Carlos Maneglia

This is a terrific film, in Spanish and Guarani, something between a crime mystery thriller and a dark comedy, This is a rarity, since Paraguayan cinema is non-existent, and I felt it was refreahing to finally have a Paraguayan entry in this festival. This extremely entertaining film was nominated for a Goya Award for Best Iberoamerican film, and it won the Youth Jury Award in San Sebastian. It also was a huge box office hit in Paraguay. There're also comic and romantic elements when the son of a Korean restaurant owner falls in love with the sister of the main character. I like the last scene where the Korean uses a cell phone to film the dramatic "bad guy shot". This certainly is a film not to be missed.



Dates and Venues 31 Aug 5pm Cinematheque & 6 Sep 1:30pm SFU Harbour Centre

Uruguay/Argentina/Netherlands 2013. Director Guillermo Rocamora

For a beginning filmmaker, this story about a Sergeant who plays lead trumpet in Uruguay’s Air Force band, isn't too bad. The only flaw, in my opinion, is the pacing of the film. I found it a bit slow, perhaps due to the eating scenes. There were a lot of close-up shots of our hero eating. What was the director's point? The ending which presents a dilemma for our hero is good, Whether to stay on in a dead-end job in the military or to take a chance in life to realize the aspirations of his youth by taking a risk of quitting his steady job and participating in a national songwriting contest and perhaps achieve his dream of recording his own album--this is a decision he has to make. If this were a Hollywood film, the choice of our hero would not be the choice made at the end of this film.

© 2013 Ed Farolan