Latin Wave Film Fest Comes Ashore at MFAH with 10 Compelling Flicks

Latin Wave Film Fest Comes Ashore at MFAH with 10 Compelling Flicks

A scene from Quebrada's 'The Other Son'

NOW IN ITS 17th year, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston’s Latin Wave film festival continues to bring well deserved attention to emerging and established filmmakers from South America, Mexico, Central America, and the islands of the Caribbean. It’s a festival Houston audiences return to every year to discover new talent and experience fresh perspectives. This year’s Latin Wave runs April 25-28, and features 10 recent releases from six Latin-American countries, with screenings happening in two locations: the Brown Auditorium Theater and the snazzy Lynn Wyatt Theater.

Attending in person to present their films and answer questions from the audience are Chilean filmmaker Matías Bize (The Punishment); Paraguayan director, writer, and producer Sebastián Peña Escobar (The Last Ones); and Colombian filmmaker Juan Sebastián Quebrada (The Other Son). In Bize’s psychological drama The Punishment, a mother and father leave their seven-year-old son alone for just a few minutes in a spooky forest as punishment for misbehaving during a family drive. The boy vanishes, the parents begin a frantic search, and buried secrets emerge in the fecund landscape of the dark woods. Shot in one, single, excruciating take, The Punishment is a tour-de-force in experimental filmmaking.

Escobar's 'The Last Ones'

'The Practice'

Avilés' 'Tótem'

Escobar’s documentary The Last Onesis a road trip to what may be the end of humankind, as the director and two ecologists — one an internationally renowned butterfly specialist, the other Paraguay’s foremost bird expert — travel by car ahead of a massive wildfire to the border of Bolivia to film Paraguay’s endangered virgin forests.

And Quebrada’s The Other Son tells the story of teenage brothers Frederico and Simon, and Frederico’s emotional struggle after Simon dies from a balcony fall at a party. It’s a profound premise for a coming-of-age drama, and the young cast does an incredible job throughout, as their characters grapple with the irrationality of death and the challenge of finding hope amid grief.

Offering a bit of relief from these heavy themes are two comedic films: The Practice, in which a yoga instructor tries to not to lose his chi while navigating the stressors and chaos of his non-yoga life; and Puan, where two academics, one schlubby and bald, the other cartoonish and charismatic, vie to be named head of the philosophy department at the Public University of Buenos Aires. In a festival where every film is a must-see, one assured standout is writer and director Lila Avilés Tótem. The critically acclaimed family drama stars Naíma Sentíes as the seven-year-old Sol, who is initially carried away by the excitement of preparations for her father’s birthday party before discovering the gravity that underlies the celebration.

To download a full schedule and buy tickets, visit the Latin Wave 17 webpage.

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