Vancouver Latin American Film Festival celebrates 13th year
By Idrian Burgos, Senior Columnist
The Vancouver Latin American Film Festival (VLAFF) is known for bringing the best and most unique of Latin American cinema to audiences in our part of the world. Now in its 13th year, the festival will be screening films across Vancouver until September 13.
This year’s festival looks to be as brilliant as previous years, with a distinctive mix of festival charmers, movie debuts, and reel classics. These include the crime thrillers El Patrón, Anatomy of a Crime; A Wolf at the Door;and To Kill a Man; the youth dramas Los Hongos and Seashore; the ensemble studies La Salada, Natural Philosophy of Love,and A Moonless Night; and the documentaries The Madness Among Us, Hotel Nueva Isla, The Pawn, Daughter of the Lake,and Eyes Wide Open.
With these films, you can expect to see familiar Latin American film traits, such as natural locations, unconventional cinematography, and dual-level themes—one that touches on the political, historical, and economic realities of the region, and another that explores human existence, its virtues and vices.
Two of the films feature world-recognised stars: Gael García Bernal and Alice Braga in the Mesopotamian Western El Ardor, and Geraldine Chaplin in the drama Sand Dollars.
Mexico is the featured country at this year’s VLAFF, which includes a retrospective on Juan Antonio de la Riva, one of the few Mexican directors who continued working during a low period in the country’s cinema. He is also serving as a festival judge this year. Latin America-oriented Canadian movies, indigenous movies from BC and Mexico, plus the usual short film competition and Youth Jury round up this year’s VLAFF.
Festivals on Latin American cinema help expose audiences to perspectives and experiences they might not know any other way. The varied and multiple genres, stories, and outlooks in these movies enable us to see a different corner of the world on its own terms, and through it a different perception of the whole world.