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Mexico/Central America/Caribbean Challenge (Official, September 2022)

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sacmersault
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#41

Post by sacmersault »

RECOMMENDATION

I would like to recommend La fórmula secreta AKA The Secret Formula (1965). This film is in 2 official lists. It is a gem of Mexican surrealist cinema. The director creates a surrealist, social critique of Mexican society. It specially criticizes American and Catholic influence on society, the alternate title to this film is Coca-Cola in the blood. Through images of traditional Mexico, it shows a beautiful but troubled country. The director goes beyond a simple criticism and instead focuses on images that stay with you. This film was created by someone who was completely outside the artistic establishment that controlled all of Mexican cinema, and feels completely different from other Mexican films.

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jdidaco
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#42

Post by jdidaco »

Thank you for hosting, St. Gloede!

1. Selva trágica (Tragic Jungle, Yulene Olaizola, 2020) 7/10 (Mexico)
2. Una película de policías (A Cop Movie, Alonso Ruizpalacios, 2021) 8/10 (Mexico)

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#43

Post by blocho »

5. Kafou (2017) - Haiti
A short, forgettable crime movie with a plot and characters that don’t make much sense.

6. Herod's Law (1999) - Mexico
The first image in this movie shows the mayor of an impoverished Mexico village opening a book with the title “Constitution of Mexico,” revealing that the pages inside have been hollowed out and stuffed with money. Subtlety, in other words, is not on the agenda for this gleefully cynical dark comedy. A satire of the PRI, Mexico’s ruling party for seven decades, it portrays a new mayor coming to this village in the postwar years and charts this picaresque man’s descent from bland stupidity to corrupt sociopathy. Lead actor Damian Alcazar and writer/director Luis Estrada made a movie in 2010 called El Infierno that had a similar narrative arc, only in that movie the setting was contemporary and the source of corruption was the drug trade. Taken together, the two movies suggest a continuity in Mexican life. The era and the locale and the cash flow might change. Violence and corruption endure.
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#44

Post by sacmersault »

4. Rue Cases Nègres (1983) Martinique 7/10
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A very traditional story of parents wanting the best for the children. The way the story shows a typical child in horrible conditions, affected by the remnants of colonialism and how education can help people get out of those conditions. The old man who serves as a spiritual adviser is superbly acted and connects the child to the reality of slavery and its history.
Spoiler
1. Yanco (1961) Mexico 8/10
2. Santa Sangre (1989) Mexico 8/10
3. Dos monjes (1934) Mexico 8/10
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#45

Post by St. Gloede »

maxwelldeux wrote: September 6th, 2022, 1:26 am Small request for St. Gloede: If it's not too much trouble, could you add a "updated on XXX" to the OP and/or post a quick message when you update the scoreboard? Only requesting because you're a mod, and edit timestamps don't display for mods.
Np, Max.

I'm updating the scoreboard itself on Sundays along with posting a summary. I'll add a "scoreboard updated" note from now on.
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#46

Post by St. Gloede »

sacmersault wrote: September 6th, 2022, 2:05 am 1. Yanco (1961) Mexico 8/10
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A very interesting and beautiful film. It tells the story of a young boy who has a very negative reaction to noise (nowadays he would be classified as being part of the spectrum), but is bewitched by music and nature. At first, he plays symphonies for the animals and watches a travelling band from afar. He later encounters an old man who plays violin, who eventually teaches him to play only to later die and leave his violin in a pawnshop.
The movie is a classic Mexican melodrama, but feels different since the director was part of the artistic establishment. It, also, feels, more authentic because the actors feel like they belong in the area and communicate in Nahuatl (as opposed to traditional Mexican cinema that has white Mexicans playing indigenous roles). The main character is charming, shy, and full of wonder. The locality transports you to an old, indigenous Mexico (It almost looks like Xochimilco).
Such a beautiful and lyrical film. I agree that it feels very different from classic melodramas, and I'm not sure if I would even use that descriptor as, if I recall correctly, the dialogue is stripped back and we really find ourselves lost in the music and the boys world. It also feels very much like a fable. I wish it had a proper restoration, as even with its current print it is absolutely stunning.

It is worth noting that González also directed The Scapular, just reviewed by Airdoll, and shows a lot of general talent - even though his latter films went in different directions. I did not love Black Wind, which is quite huge and respected, but, despite also not really being a melodrama, and focusing on the work and dangers of a very macho environment, also had some heavy melodramatic elements that took me out of a film that would have been much better if it followed Yaco's more visceral approach, but The Scapular is excellent and highly recommended.
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#47

Post by St. Gloede »

Three really good Mexican films back to back:

4. Cruces sobre el yermo / Crosses Over the Wasteland (1967, Alberto Mariscal)

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Crosses Over the Wasteland is an epic of machismo, and my main issue stems from the fact that I'm not entirely sure how self-aware it is and whether it is a critical tale, or more of a tragedy. It is beautifully made, with strong b/w cinematography and a lingering sense of melancholy. I am consistently impressed by the narrative structures of these large Mexican films from the 60s, as Crosses Over the Wasteland shifts perspectives and characters as it lets months and years be stripped away. The way we can follow their stories, and see the impact of the opening events on different people gives the film a genuine sense of poetic grandeur, and there is so much to dissect and bite into.

What starts it all is an unknown rider coming to town to avenge his father, a blunt quest for justice. However, on his way, his eye catches a woman in the fields, and after scaring and intimidating her, he rapes her. What is awkward here is that the early dialogue between them is flirtatious and the rape itself, especially the lead up is shot with a degree of sensuality - yet it is never directly called a rape - the woman herself only calls it a tragedy - and the rapist, who is upset by the events himself, sees the issue as taking her innocence and feels that the way to set it right is to offer her marriage.

Time and time again phrases of manhood comes into question, and the idea of being a "real man", which translates to killing/being willing to kill. A friend is for instance shocked when a man refuses a duel, asking desperately how this could be when he knows that he is a real man. There must certainly be a question asked of what a real man should be, but even the rapist is treated as an almost gentle and respectful man, and the woman's rejection of him after the rape as a personal tragedy we should sympathise with. Meanwhile, the closest character to what we can call a hero, literally states that the issue with what happened is that the rapist had sex with a woman he owned, and that the injury done is to him. Based on the ending, visual cues and messaging (not to mention descriptions of the film) it is not a film that even wants to acknowledge that it was rape, and as mentioned above, I'm not sure how much "manliness" is truly investigated - unless it is far more subversive than I give it credit for. It is certainly a powerful and moving film, and however it was originally intended, there is so much to grab onto and explore. The western aesthetics do certainly not damper its appeal either. 7/10


5. La diosa arrodillada / The Kneeling Goddess (1947, Roberto Gavaldón)

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The Kneeling Goddess allows Gavaldón to once again create an intriguing melodramatic film noir, with a long set of surprises, quite akin to his likely most famous film, La otra. While it never quite lives up to the former film, it still presents a portrait of desire fueled by the dark and twisted, with a hinge of tragic irony. The less I say about this one is probably the better. 7/10


6. Ahí está el detalle / You're Missing the Point(1940, Juan Bustillo Oro)

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One of Mexico's most beloved and acclaimed classic era comedies can certainly put its Hollywood cousin to task, with its poor, lazy, and criminally inclined, yet likable tramp Cantinflas (played by Cantinflas) gets involved in an escalated series of forcefully mistaken identity. It all starts because his sneaking around with a maid (his girlfriend, or rather "special friend" as he does not want to commit - but for food rather than anything else) sets him up to be mistaken as the lover of the bosses wife. The wife, who had her own ex-boyfriend over earlier the same night, panics when she hears a man is found and makes up that it is her long-lost brother (who the husband has been looking for in order to get his hands on the wife's inheritance).

Yes, this is a large series of convoluted messes, including a dead dog, its human namesake, a series of illegitimate children and the police. While it certainly stretches credulity and can be a tad too silly, this is also an utter riot - with much of the comedy stemming from our not-too-bright protagonist's schemes, plans, excuses, confusion and just generally chaotic personality - while the other side of the comedy comes from all the people caught in the lie, confused by the lie and trying to keep the lie alive. I can see why this character took of the way he did, and it is certainly a film that should be sought out by all fans of classic comedy. 7/10
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#48

Post by St. Gloede »

airdolll wrote: September 6th, 2022, 12:52 am Thank you! Nice chart, and I am too enjoying reading everyone's thoughts and expanding my watchlist.

3. Susana (1951, Mexico) A.K.A Susana: The Devil and the Flesh

Susana, played by a memorable Rosita Quintana, lives in a reformatory and is locked down in a cell as punishment. À la Jeanne d'Arc she starts praying to god, the iron bars from the window create a shadow reminiscing a cross, and miraculously and effortlessly she is able to escape by removing the bars from said window. After running aimlessly through the forest in a stormy night, she ends up at the ranch of Don Guadalupe right before collapsing, where the family agrees to take care of her and allow her to stay. But to Felisa, the housekeeper, there's something off about Susana. What is this "inherent evil" she sees in her?

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It would have been easy for me to sympathize with the character of Susana and examine how her actions and wishes are the logical conclusion to her experiences but this is the very first trap; Susana is not a character but a symbol ("this is Apollo, representing the beauty of men. It is a symbol of beauty, just like your name is a symbol too.") that allows Buñuel to insert his ideas of desire and power struggle within the microcosm of a traditional family and the servants around them. An obscure object of desire if you will, into which everybody around her has something to project. This objectification of Susana is quite blantant from the very beginning -consequently, the majority of this film consists in a handful of gendered and misogynistic archetypes interacting with each other- until it fully transforms her into the idea of "evil-feminine-essence". It is through this acceptance of "evil-feminine" essentialism, the subsequent rejection/opposition to it, and the repression of desire, that the traditional family structre is able to preserve itself. Susana as the flesh, conservatism as the devil.
Feels a lot like Teorema before Teorema in how it places an outside agent disrupting family dynamics and bringing forward their contradictions and tensions.
Great read! I have only seen Susana once, and I think the need to go along with the idea of her as a symbol of evil-feminine essentialism I could not quite go along with at the time, as I struggled to take the film in an entirely non-literal way - revisiting it mainly from the perspective of lampooning the traditional family and morals would likely be far more rewarding - though I did really like it at the time as well.
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#49

Post by airdolll »

Catching up with replies and comments on what I've seen.
ororama wrote: September 3rd, 2022, 4:19 pm 1. Lucía (Cuba, 1968) * 160 min.
Three women named Lucía involved in romances in three periods of revolution (1890s, 1930s, 1960s). Surprisingly formally and politically adventurous.

*First time viewing
This was one of my favorites from last month! It's gorgeous (l) Made me feel like I had just seen something gigantic. Loved the atmosphere of the first episode, it felt apocalyptic and as if it existed within a dream, so many stunning unforgettable images. But then the third episode had my favorite story and performances, I found myself very invested in those characters and it concludes the whole thing in such a high note... very powerful and mysterious.
St. Gloede wrote: September 4th, 2022, 8:45 am - and this is also the very odd note we end the film on:
Spoiler
With the wife killing the mistress (prostitute) in front of 100+ witnesses because she wants him to stay, and Animas choosing to convince everyone he should take the blame. The morality here is clearly that he has made his wife suffer, drove her to kill the mistress and his finally becoming a moral person - but with modern morality, he is just protecting a killer and is doing nothing decent or heroic at all.
Ending discussion:
I didn't find the ending unsatisfactory nor did I see a redemption for Ánimas, more than anything it was like an overdue good riddance :lol: On the idea of the sacrifcing wife, it sure is a "dump him!" type of film.
St. Gloede wrote: September 4th, 2022, 8:45 am 3. Canoa (1976, Felipe Cazals) Mexico

In this brutal and bluntly sarcastic and bold depiction of a real massacre, Felipe Cazals turned docudrama on its head in a formally adventurous and detached work that allows his villains to prowess their innocence straight to the camera. Slow-brooding, but slowly revealing a sense of cheek, we start with a journalist slowly typing out a story of brutal murders dictated by a correspondent. It seems 4 workers from the university were mistaken for students, and murdered by an angry mod thinking they were doing to raise the anarchist flag in their church. The details are laid bare, their names are given and we then follow a protest march through the streets. There is a degree of bare-boned Costa-Gavras detachment that quickly fades as we are introduced to our cheeky narrator from the town in question: Canoa.

With a smirk on his face, he goes through everything from population size to occupations and how long the children attend school, before sliding up the town's hierarchies - by the time we get to the film's victims, introduced by name and followed in a slow-brooding recreation towards doom, we know what we are dealing with - a priest leading the town and stirring up fear against communists while taking money from everyone - and a hierarchy around him ready to kill. We witness the sermons, as well as the priest's much more nuanced and deceptive statements to the camera, and see a system where everyone is looking for an excuse, everyone falls in line and a kind of extreme zeal of belief of instant attack is heightened to near surreal proportions. However, what we are witnessing really happened, and the flourishes only make the attack on the perpetrators and the entire ecosystem in place more powerful. 8/10
I had forgotten about the docummentary-like aspect until you mentioned it. Truly a raw and brutal picture, the figure of this mafioso priest and his power of manipulation is almost as chilling as the depiction of the massacre itself. Wondering if you've seen Rojo Amanecer? It has a similar feel and it's based on true events also.
sacmersault wrote: September 6th, 2022, 2:05 am 2. Santa Sangre (1989) Mexico 8/10

I really liked this film. It is full of colors and traditions of Mexico, even though it's in English. It feels more straight up than Jodorowsky's 70s films. There's a strong resemblance to Fellini's films, specially La Strada. While the acting felt forced at times, Jodorowsky seems to have used the acting to get his message across. It is filled with criticism of religion and intrafamilial relationships.
This is one of my favorites, so good to see the shared love (l) Very much enamoured with how colorful it is and for a change, it's a more plot-driven Jodorowsky with characters I could actually care about. It was very emotional and moving to me, maybe will rewatch next month.
sacmersault wrote: September 6th, 2022, 2:05 am 3. Dos monjes (1934) Mexico 8/10

Completely different from what I expected. This film takes German Expressionism and transports it to Mexican melodrama. While the photography and sets don't work as well, it does give the movie an eerie, dark feel that adds to how the movie develops. The movie starts with a murder scene in a monastery, that is eventually explained in an expected way by the murderer.
Spoiler
This story is then followed by an unexpected twist. The person who was thought murdered is not dead and proceeds to tell his side of the story.
A great surprise for me too, I didn't expect it to have such a strong expressionist aesthetic and it that regard it was true joy. Can't remember plot details right now, but I remember liking how the relationship between the main characters developed a lot.
St. Gloede wrote: September 6th, 2022, 1:45 pm Great read! I have only seen Susana once, and I think the need to go along with the idea of her as a symbol of evil-feminine essentialism I could not quite go along with at the time, as I struggled to take the film in an entirely non-literal way - revisiting it mainly from the perspective of lampooning the traditional family and morals would likely be far more rewarding - though I did really like it at the time as well.
I certainly find it more rewarding, it still gives me mixed feelings as a melodrama at face value but everything comes together so nicely in the end. Probably falls into the category of "films I like to think about more than watching them".

5. La Fórmula Secreta (1965, Mexico) A.K.A The Secret Formula #Bonus

Gave it a rewatch because it totally went over my head the first time around, and besides its jabs against the church and the denounce of poverty and hunger, for the most part it still does. I didn't recall the animal cruelty and it really was too much, for a moment I almost gave up on watching the rest of it.
There's a shot I particularly liked that communicates a feeling of displacement so directly and easily: there's a man at the center of the picture and just the landscape behind him. But the camera moves away, and he's left out of the frame. The man walks to the side, and puts himself back in frame. And this process is repeated a few times, in silence.
And a few screenshots from my favorite segment:
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That was the most impactful to me, very affecting. A celebration of the power of montage!

More films:
1. Ánimas Trujano (1961, Mexico) A.K.A The Important Man
2. Rue cases-nègres (1983, Martinique, France) A.K.A Sugar Cane Alley
3. Susana (1951, Mexico) A.K.A Susana: The Devil and the Flesh
4. El Escapulario (1968, Mexico) A.K.A The Scapular
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#50

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5. Lo que le pasó a Santiago (1989) Puerto Rico 6/10
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I was actually very underwhelmed by this movie. It had a very traditional story. It was recorded with little money or production. The acting by the main character was unconvincing and felt more like he was being himself, instead of playing a role. The story is interesting and engaging, but it was developed in a very dull way. The acting of the main female character is very good and provides exactly what the story asks for. I was surprised to learn that this film was nominated for an Oscar.
Spoiler
1. Yanco (1961) Mexico 8/10
2. Santa Sangre (1989) Mexico 8/10
3. Dos monjes (1934) Mexico 8/10
4. Rue Cases Nègres (1983) Martinique 7/10
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#51

Post by sacmersault »

45MinuteZoom wrote: September 1st, 2022, 4:56 pm One recommendation for Dominica:

Uncivilized (2020) - directed by college student Michael Lees, who makes a documentary after he decides he’s going to try and live off the land for a month after a break up. Then a category 5 hurricane hits in the middle, and there’s a big shift in the doc that is interesting.
Do you have it by any chance? or know where I can find it?
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#52

Post by peeptoad »

5. El incidente (2014) 6 Mexico
6. El espejo de la bruja/ The Witch’s Mirror (1962) 7 Mexico
Spoiler
1. Kafou (2017) 7 Haiti
2. Trampa infernal/ Hell’s Trap (1989) 6+ Mexico
3. The Skin (2011) 5 Antigua and Barbuda
4. La Gunguna (2015) 7 Dominican Republic
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#53

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If anyone could direct me to a decent, English subtitled copy of El Hombre sin Rostro, La Jaula de Oro, or La Formula Secreta, I would watch it.
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#54

Post by sacmersault »

blocho wrote: September 8th, 2022, 4:10 pm If anyone could direct me to a decent, English subtitled copy of El Hombre sin Rostro, La Jaula de Oro, or La Formula Secreta, I would watch it.
La Formula Secreta is on KG with English subtitles
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#55

Post by sacmersault »

6. Alsino y el cóndor (1982) Nicaragua 5/10
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This movie is a bit nonsensical, with a strong political narrative. It deals with a boy who wants to fly and an American military man who flies a helicopter. It takes place during the Nicaraguan Civil War, and it shows the people living in a small town, who are neither on the side of the government nor on the side of the rebels, but are affected by both. The acting is horrendous. The photography is bad, a lot of the times the scenes are too dark to be able to tell what's going on. The story seems to be going nowhere, and the actions of the boy seem to make no sense.
Spoiler
1. Yanco (1961) Mexico 8/10
2. Santa Sangre (1989) Mexico 8/10
3. Dos monjes (1934) Mexico 8/10
4. Rue Cases Nègres (1983) Martinique 7/10
5. Lo que le pasó a Santiago (1989) Puerto Rico 6/10
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#56

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7. Shorts
7.1 Mi Amigo Ángel (1964) 32 mins Honduras 6/10
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7.2 River Rites (2011) 11 mins Suriname 6/10
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7.3 Nightmare Before Wedding (2015) 19 mins Guadeloupe 6/10
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7.4 Yochi (2017) 24 mins Belize 6/10
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Spoiler
1. Yanco (1961) Mexico 8/10
2. Santa Sangre (1989) Mexico 8/10
3. Dos monjes (1934) Mexico 8/10
4. Rue Cases Nègres (1983) Martinique 7/10
5. Lo que le pasó a Santiago (1989) Puerto Rico 6/10
6. Alsino y el cóndor (1982) Nicaragua 5/10
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#57

Post by sacmersault »

8. Play the Devil (2016) Trinidad and Tobago 6/10
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I feel very conflicted about this movie. It started as a good, predictable, gay coming-of-age, romantic film made with a low-budget but with solid acting. The movie is made more interesting by wonderful locations and the contrast of city, well-to-do Trinidad and rural, struggling Trinidad. The story feels a bit clichéd, but the realistic and foreign subjects make it more endearing. BUT THEN...
Spoiler
the film goes somewhere else. The love story never comes to fruition and towards the end, it feels almost homophobic. The film leaves with a sour note that if you are gay and give yourself over to your inner desires, you will lose everything and everything will turn out wrong. I was very excited to see a gay story from a region that is pretty homophobic, only to be surprised that instead of getting a happy end, or at least a realistic one, it turns out to be a condemnation.
Spoiler
1. Yanco (1961) Mexico 8/10
2. Santa Sangre (1989) Mexico 8/10
3. Dos monjes (1934) Mexico 8/10
4. Rue Cases Nègres (1983) Martinique 7/10
5. Lo que le pasó a Santiago (1989) Puerto Rico 6/10
6. Alsino y el cóndor (1982) Nicaragua 5/10
7. Shorts
7.1 Mi Amigo Ángel (1964) 32 mins Honduras 6/10
7.2 River Rites (2011) 11 mins Suriname 6/10
7.3 Nightmare Before Wedding (2015) 19 mins Guadeloupe 6/10
7.4 Yochi (2017) 24 mins Belize 6/10
Last edited by sacmersault on September 10th, 2022, 8:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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#58

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7. Tenemos la carne/We Are the Flesh (2016) 8+ Mexico

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This should probably be on an official list somewhere; maybe 366 Weird at least.
It was a bizarre, surreal, beautifully sordid viewing experience that thankfully had a reasonable runtime, which made it more efficient. The ending was maybe inevitable/predictable but that wasn't enough to detract much and some of the jarring cuts fit whether intentional or not.

Spoiler
1. Kafou (2017) 7 Haiti
2. Trampa infernal/ Hell’s Trap (1989) 6+ Mexico
3. The Skin (2011) 5 Antigua and Barbuda
4. La Gunguna (2015) 7 Dominican Republic
5. El incidente (2014) 6 Mexico
6. El espejo de la bruja/ The Witch’s Mirror (1962) 7 Mexico
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#59

Post by maxwelldeux »

There are a lot of available countries here...
1. The Last Colony (2015, Puerto Rico)
2. Invasion (2014, Panama)
3. A Life without Words (2011, Nicaragua)
4. Guatemala: Heart of the Mayan World (2019, Guatemala)
This is a documentary about Guatemala. That's the total plot summary - it's an educational doc that comes across like a middle school presentation on a country. It looked like stock footage and had a fairly soulless narration to it. I did feel like I learned a bit about Guatemala as a country/culture, which was the reason I watched this, but damn could I have used some soul in it.
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#60

Post by blocho »

7. The Skeleton of Mrs. Morales (1960) - Mexico
A delightfully pulpy story of a decent man so henpecked by a shrewish wife that grisly deeds inevitably follow. Beautifully photographed.

8. Gueros (2014) - Mexico
A teenage boy in Veracruz pulls a mean prank on a neighbor, and his despairing mother responds by sending him to live with his older brother in Mexico City. He arrives there to find his brother and roommate living in a squalid apartment in a high rise. Students at the local university, which is currently shutdown by a student occupation, they spend their days doing nothing much. For a while, I was worried this would be the whole movie, but after the first half hour they venture out of the apartment and the story picks up some momentum. It eventually develops an overarching narrative, although a sense of aimlessness is the norm. Still, I found myself falling under the sway of this movie, which has a relaxed sense of humor and a capacity for occasional moments of wonder and beauty.
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#61

Post by sacmersault »

9. Buladó (2020) Curacao 8/10
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Wonderful film that mixes realism, with folk elements and touches of magic realism. The addition of using Papiamento makes the movie much more interesting and heartfelt. The acting on behalf of the three main players is amazing, specially the little girl. The story mixes elements of a society that is being exterminated by monetary interests and internationalism, with the tales of ancestral people. The photography is simple but very effective. The movie seems to develop at a snail pace, but that seems to be done on purpose to immerse the viewer in a spiritual journey.
Spoiler
1. Yanco (1961) Mexico 8/10
2. Santa Sangre (1989) Mexico 8/10
3. Dos monjes (1934) Mexico 8/10
4. Rue Cases Nègres (1983) Martinique 7/10
5. Lo que le pasó a Santiago (1989) Puerto Rico 6/10
6. Alsino y el cóndor (1982) Nicaragua 5/10
7. Shorts
7.1 Mi Amigo Ángel (1964) 32 mins Honduras 6/10
7.2 River Rites (2011) 11 mins Suriname 6/10
7.3 Nightmare Before Wedding (2015) 19 mins Guadeloupe 6/10
7.4 Yochi (2017) 24 mins Belize 6/10
8. Play the Devil (2016) Trinidad and Tobago 6/10
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#62

Post by sol »

Spoiler
1. Sin Pepitas en la Lengua (2018) Panama
2. Relentless (2018) El Salvador
3. Bazodee (2015) Trinidad and Tobago
4. Genova (2008) Cayman Islands
5. Runt (2005) Jamaica
6. Control (2004) Aruba
7. Uncivilized (2020) Dominica #BONUS

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As a youth takes a video camera into the forest where he plans to live off-the-grid for six months, this documentary gets off to a decent start. Some of his philosophies are interesting, professing "freedom lies in not wanting anything" and his amateur fishing and hut building is curious. Where the documentary gets really interesting though is after its first half-hour as a hurricane coincidentally hits the country, forcing the urban population to live almost like him.
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#63

Post by St. Gloede »

5 more films from Mexico:


7. El grito (1968, Leobardo López Aretche)

A documentary on the student protests ahead of the Olympics (the same turbulent times as shown in Canoa) that is interesting in that it was made by film students. It features potent appeals narrated by various students, talking about their experiences with police violence and giving their testimony. Sadly the footage itself is fairly limited and not that involving, and while having emotional impact it does feel too much like a student effort. 5/10


8. Actas de Marusia / Letters from Marusia (1975, Miguel Littin)

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In his first film after being exiled from Chile following the Military coup, Miguel Littin, continues the style he was developing in his native country, and also returns with its plot and setting to depict a gruelling military genocide in the early 1900s. The film is especially fascinating it's application of Marxist (sometimes also called Socialist) Film Theory, similar to Eisenstein's, where the individual protagonist is removed in favour of the group, and this may be one of the most successful application of showing the working class as one, with a long gallery of faces, only some of which stand out as individual characters, and even Gian Maria Volontè getting very limited screentime until the climax. The film is a series of cause and reaction. Workers standing up to the capitalists, the capitalists attempting to compromise and interestingly in this framework, the military being the core aggressor, even going against the capitalists' interest in favour of subjugation and order. A stark, if not occasionally overwrought film that backs a cold, calculated punch. If the visuals had been more haunting this would likely have been elevated to greatness for me. 7/10.


9. El fantasma del convent / The Phantom of the Convent (1934, Fernando de Fuentes)

A gothic and creepy horror film set inside the walls of a monastery where 3 visitors caught in a love triangle start to realize that everything is not quite as it may seem. The slow-burning tension coupled with occasional moments of the eerie and unexplained along with the visitors increasing dread are the highlights in this film that may play its drama a little too over-the-top but still manages to be highly enjoyable. 6/10.


10. Sólo con tu pareja / Love in the Time of Hysteria (1991, Alfonso Cuarón)

Cuarón's directorial debut is a perfectly decent and cheeky sex comedy about a man who will sleep with anyone, and is implosion when he is tricked into thinking he has aids (which oddly is stalled until the very final act, despite being set up much earlier). 5/10.


11. Nosotros los pobres / We the Poor (1948, Ismael Rodríguez)

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I really can't believe this film works as well as it does, being a melodrama, that opens with musical numbers (later abandoning this device) and takes us through escalating subplots of drama, love, crimes, frameups and family secrets. It is essentially René Clair, with the poetry of the street, meets the overwrought melodrama Raffaello Matarazzo - and yet it is hard not to be caught up in it all. A great example of the classic era of Mexico spinning about a great commercial film, that of course also got sequels (one of which apparently inspired Rocky, so I should definitely seek them out as well). 8/10
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#64

Post by sol »

Thanks to sacmer for highlighting:
Spoiler
1. Sin Pepitas en la Lengua (2018) Panama
2. Relentless (2018) El Salvador
3. Bazodee (2015) Trinidad and Tobago
4. Genova (2008) Cayman Islands
5. Runt (2005) Jamaica
6. Control (2004) Aruba
7. Uncivilized (2020) Dominica #BONUS
8. Buladó (2020) Curaçao

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Having never met her mother who died in childbirth, an angry young girl is encouraged to deal with her resentment in very different ways by her father and her grandfather in this coming-of-age tale. Tiara Richards does well in the lead role and manages to be likeable and sympathetic despite her bitter and grumpy disposition. There is also a fair bit of interest in how her father and grandfather represent opposite ends of the rational/mystical spectrum.
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#65

Post by St. Gloede »

2nd Sunday Update (leaderboard updated)

Our first full week is complete and we are now 11 days in. I continue to be impressed by the number of reviews, and am also very happy we have started to see some discussion, though I would always love to see more. 

I am also happy to wish a warm challenge welcome to our new participants sacmersault and jdidaco, bringing us up to 12 participants. 

The biggest surprise for me is that Cuba has been almost entirely overlooked, in favour of Mexico and a long list of varied countries, a result that will likely, at least in part, be linked to the travel the world challenge, but let's have a look at that pie-chart:

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I am somehow ahead in the rankings this week, with 11 viewings, followed by sacmersault at 9, both blocho and sol at 8 and peeptoad at 7. A very tight ground in other words. I do not expect myself to remain in the lead at the end of the month.

 
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45MinuteZoom
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#66

Post by 45MinuteZoom »

sol wrote: September 11th, 2022, 6:06 am
Spoiler
1. Sin Pepitas en la Lengua (2018) Panama
2. Relentless (2018) El Salvador
3. Bazodee (2015) Trinidad and Tobago
4. Genova (2008) Cayman Islands
5. Runt (2005) Jamaica
6. Control (2004) Aruba
7. Uncivilized (2020) Dominica #BONUS

Image

As a youth takes a video camera into the forest where he plans to live off-the-grid for six months, this documentary gets off to a decent start. Some of his philosophies are interesting, professing "freedom lies in not wanting anything" and his amateur fishing and hut building is curious. Where the documentary gets really interesting though is after its first half-hour as a hurricane coincidentally hits the country, forcing the urban population to live almost like him.
Thanks for checking this out! Yeah, the kid has a lot of views that are questionable and a little cringe, but he seems well meaning. Kind of fun to imagine what the doc would have been if the hurricane never hit.
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#67

Post by sacmersault »

10. Temblores (2019) Guatemala 7/10
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This movie really pissed me off. The fact that people still have to go through things is beyond belief. The film deals with a conservative man from a religious family dealing with coming out and all the repercussions he has to deal with. This movie shows how many people in Latin American countries, and other places, still are controlled by their religious beliefs. The film is very well-made and acted. The only big drawback is that it has such a strong point of view that it has no room to create your own opinion on the subject. The film is a bit one dimensional, even though it is completely correct at that point of view.
Spoiler
1. Yanco (1961) Mexico 8/10
2. Santa Sangre (1989) Mexico 8/10
3. Dos monjes (1934) Mexico 8/10
4. Rue Cases Nègres (1983) Martinique 7/10
5. Lo que le pasó a Santiago (1989) Puerto Rico 6/10
6. Alsino y el cóndor (1982) Nicaragua 5/10
7. Shorts
7.1 Mi Amigo Ángel (1964) 32 mins Honduras 6/10
7.2 River Rites (2011) 11 mins Suriname 6/10
7.3 Nightmare Before Wedding (2015) 19 mins Guadeloupe 6/10
7.4 Yochi (2017) 24 mins Belize 6/10
8. Play the Devil (2016) Trinidad and Tobago 6/10
9. Buladó (2020) Curacao 8/10
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#68

Post by jdidaco »

3. Cuba baila (Cuba Dances, Julio García Espinosa, 1961) 8/10 (Cuba)
4. Tránsito (Transit, Eduardo Manet, 1964) 9/10 (Cuba)

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Spoiler
1. Selva trágica (Tragic Jungle, Yulene Olaizola, 2020) 7/10 (Mexico)
2. Una película de policías (A Cop Movie, Alonso Ruizpalacios, 2021) 8/10 (Mexico)
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#69

Post by St. Gloede »

Great to see some Cuban viewings coming in, jdidaco!
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#70

Post by clemmetarey »

Hi all, long time no talk. I haven't been into films these last few months as much as I usually am, but I decided to join to interact more with you guys.

1. La perla (1947) (Mexico) 6/10
Spoiler
1. La perla (1947) (Mexico) 6/10
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#71

Post by sacmersault »

11. La Mancha de Sangre (1937) Mexico 7/10

Really enjoyed this film. It was way ahead of its time. However, it was very overacted and the fact that I couldn't see the ending left me feeling a bit dry. I read and heard what the ending entailed, and that would have been interesting to finish with. The setting felt much more modern. I could see a strong influence for future Fichera films from Mexico. It was, also, very artistic in its simplicity.
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12. The Harder They Come (1972) Jamaica 7/10

It's already been said, but the soundtrack of this film is everything. It is worth seeing just for that. The film, however, is a tale of two stories. The first half is excellent, though a bit melodramatic. The second half is just awkward. It tries to incorporate action, blackxplotation and looses the essence of what the film had so hard to create in the first half. There's a lot of social critique that still resonates.
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Spoiler
1. Yanco (1961) Mexico 8/10
2. Santa Sangre (1989) Mexico 8/10
3. Dos monjes (1934) Mexico 8/10
4. Rue Cases Nègres (1983) Martinique 7/10
5. Lo que le pasó a Santiago (1989) Puerto Rico 6/10
6. Alsino y el cóndor (1982) Nicaragua 5/10
7. Shorts
7.1 Mi Amigo Ángel (1964) 32 mins Honduras 6/10
7.2 River Rites (2011) 11 mins Suriname 6/10
7.3 Nightmare Before Wedding (2015) 19 mins Guadeloupe 6/10
7.4 Yochi (2017) 24 mins Belize 6/10
8. Play the Devil (2016) Trinidad and Tobago 6/10
9. Buladó (2020) Curacao 8/10
10. Temblores (2019) Guatemala 7/10
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#72

Post by peeptoad »

8. Soy Cuba (1964) 9 Cuba
Spoiler
1. Kafou (2017) 7 Haiti
2. Trampa infernal/ Hell’s Trap (1989) 6+ Mexico
3. The Skin (2011) 5 Antigua and Barbuda
4. La Gunguna (2015) 7 Dominican Republic
5. El incidente (2014) 6 Mexico
6. El espejo de la bruja/ The Witch’s Mirror (1962) 7 Mexico
7. Tenemos la carne/We Are the Flesh (2016) 8+ Mexico
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#73

Post by sacmersault »

13. Doña Herlinda y su hijo (1985) Mexico 8/10
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This film is very odd. It has to be seen through the lens of its time. A widowed, older woman, who lives with her gay son, decides to invite her son's lover to live with them. However, she wants to have a grandchild, so she finds him a wife and everyone lives happily ever after. Each person's reaction to what is going on is just f*** up. It does however show a new type of family. This, also, has to be seen as a product of its time and place. Guadalajara is a very conservative, religious city, even more so back then. People are very focused on what other people say. There's double moral all over the place. However, Guadalajara is also the gay capital of Mexico. Interesting fact: Guillermo Del Toro's mother plays Dona Herlinda.
Spoiler
1. Yanco (1961) Mexico 8/10
2. Santa Sangre (1989) Mexico 8/10
3. Dos monjes (1934) 8/10
4. Rue Cases Nègres (1983) Martinique 7/10
5. Lo que le pasó a Santiago (1989) Puerto Rico 6/10
6. Alsino y el cóndor (1982) Nicaragua 5/10
7. Shorts
7.1 Mi Amigo Ángel (1964) 32 mins Honduras 6/10
7.2 River Rites (2011) 11 mins Suriname 6/10
7.3 Nightmare Before Wedding (2015) 19 mins Guadeloupe 6/10
7.4 Yochi (2017) 24 mins Belize 6/10
8. Play the Devil (2016) Trinidad and Tobago 6/10
9. Buladó (2020) Curacao 8/10
10. Temblores (2019) Guatemala 7/10
11. La Mancha de Sangre (1937) Mexico 7/10
12. The Harder They Come (1972) 7/10
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#74

Post by blocho »

9. The Harder They Come (1972) - Jamaica
What sacmersault wrote above about this movie is exactly my reaction as well.

10. Uncivilized (2020) - Dominica
I kept waiting for this cut-rate Caribbean version of Walden to turn into a found footage horror movie, but it never did.
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#75

Post by airdolll »

6. Rockers (1978, Jamaica)

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Colorful, laid-back and breezy. 70s fashion and music become main characters.
The film focuses on Jamaican drummer Leroy "Horsemouth" Wallace, key figure of the reggae scene known for working with Inner Circle, Burning Spear, Gregory Isaacs - all of them make appeareances as well- and The Skatalites to name a few. Originally envisioned as a documetary, yet ultimately introducing a loose plot concerning a stolen bike and touching on redistribution of wealth, the end result has a good portion of the cast playing themselves, performing, dancing, hanging out, and wandering from one place to another in an episodic nature.

Watched it with Babylon (which I liked a bit more and has more dramatic tension) but of course it would be a good companion to The Harder They Come as well.
More films:
1. Ánimas Trujano (1961, Mexico) A.K.A The Important Man
2. Rue cases-nègres (1983, Martinique, France) A.K.A Sugar Cane Alley
3. Susana (1951, Mexico) A.K.A Susana: The Devil and the Flesh
4. El Escapulario (1968, Mexico) A.K.A The Scapular
5. La Fórmula Secreta (1965, Mexico) A.K.A The Secret Formula #Bonus
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#76

Post by maxwelldeux »

There are a lot of available countries here...
1. The Last Colony (2015, Puerto Rico)
2. Invasion (2014, Panama)
3. A Life without Words (2011, Nicaragua)
4. Guatemala: Heart of the Mayan World (2019, Guatemala)
5. The Pearl (1947, Mexico) 4/10
I'm definitely a little biased on this one, as I have read the Steinbeck story, although that was 25-30 years ago. And I get the point of it - blah blah blah wealth corrupts. But to make that point, you have to have someone even remotely likeable to start with so you can see the corruption journey. But when you start a film with a dad watching a scorpion hang precariously over his child's bed and he does nothing to help the situation, the entire film becomes "shitty person becomes different type of shitty person" and it didn't land with me.
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#77

Post by maxwelldeux »

There are a lot of available countries here...
1. The Last Colony (2015, Puerto Rico)
2. Invasion (2014, Panama)
3. A Life without Words (2011, Nicaragua)
4. Guatemala: Heart of the Mayan World (2019, Guatemala)
5. The Pearl (1947, Mexico)
6. Unciviliized (2020, Dominica) #BONUS

This is going to be the weirdest/nerdiest review of this film ever, but here we go. There exists some vector in n-dimensional movie space where Into the Wild and 9/11 where both films fall at different ends of a continuum; this film would reside almost precisely in the middle of those two. We have, on one hand, a young man looking for more substance and meaning in his life, so he removes himself from society and returns to nature. On the other hand, we have a harrowing tale of survival of a Category 5 hurricane and an intimate tale of reconnecting with loved ones. Absolutely fascinating to see, and one hell of a recommendation.
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#78

Post by gunnar »

1 - Soy Cuba (1964) - 8/10 - Cuba - The film takes place around the time of the Cuban Revolution in the late 1950s. Sure it's propaganda, but it's well made propaganda

I don't know if I'll get to any other countries that qualify before the end of the month, though I probably will watch one from Mexico at least.
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#79

Post by 45MinuteZoom »

maxwelldeux wrote: September 17th, 2022, 2:43 am
There are a lot of available countries here...
1. The Last Colony (2015, Puerto Rico)
2. Invasion (2014, Panama)
3. A Life without Words (2011, Nicaragua)
4. Guatemala: Heart of the Mayan World (2019, Guatemala)
5. The Pearl (1947, Mexico)
6. Unciviliized (2020, Dominica) #BONUS

This is going to be the weirdest/nerdiest review of this film ever, but here we go. There exists some vector in n-dimensional movie space where Into the Wild and 9/11 where both films fall at different ends of a continuum; this film would reside almost precisely in the middle of those two. We have, on one hand, a young man looking for more substance and meaning in his life, so he removes himself from society and returns to nature. On the other hand, we have a harrowing tale of survival of a Category 5 hurricane and an intimate tale of reconnecting with loved ones. Absolutely fascinating to see, and one hell of a recommendation.
I’m thrilled you liked it so much! :cheers:
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#80

Post by sol »

Looks like a Dominica column might have be added to the table in the OP, if solely on account of one film. tehe
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