Debuting soon is a new documentary about Colonia Tovar, the German settlement that lies just 60 kilometers outside of Caracas, but is culturally much further removed. The community, a small but well-touristed village of perhaps 6,000 people, was founded in 1840 by the intrepid Italian geographer Agostino Codazzi.
Colonia Tovar provides the setting for “María y el nuevo mundo” (Maria and the New World), the first full-length film from Venezuelan director George Walker Torres. It tells the story of a middle-aged woman who struggles to survive on a garbage dump and dreams of being reunited with her daughter. A parallel is drawn between her search to create a better life and that of the initial founders of the town.
The documentary is promoted by Venezuela’s National Film Board, or Centro Nacional Autónomo de Cinematografía (CNAC). Read more in Spanish. Check back here to watch the trailer once it’s available.
Another Venezuelan film participating in the Festival of New Latin American Cinema in Havana escaped our notice yesterday: Cyrano Fernandez by director Alberto Arvelo.
The movie is a modern-day version of the French drama Cyrano de Bergerac that takes place in the Caracas barrios. This love story features music by the popular Venezuelan rap group Tres Dueños. Check out their song “La Mala Vida,” and watch the trailer for Cyrano Fernandez with English subtitles below.
1, 2 y 3 mujeres by Andrea Catalán, Anabel Rodríguez and Silvia Andrea Ríos Goncalves (trailer)
El tinte de la fama by Alejandro Bellame Palacios (trailer)
Macuro, la fuerza de un pueblo by Hernán Jabes (trailer)
Currently making headlines are two Steven Soderbergh films about the life of Ernesto “Che” Guevara starring Benicio del Toro. A staggering 500 entries will be aired at the festival, which runs through December 12th.
Breaking news, movie fans: Venezuela has just selected its submission for the category of Best Foreign Language Film in the upcoming Oscars. Oh the agony of waiting until February 22nd, 2009 at 5pm to find out who wins!
The film is called El tinte de la fama (“The Color of Fame”). It tells the bittersweet and often humorous tale of a young woman who tries to escape poverty by entering a Marilyn Monroe look-alike contest. It is directed by Alejandro Bellame and stars Elaiza Gil. Click on these links to read more in English or Spanish. Watch the extended trailer below.
Sean Penn, Kevin Spacey, Naomi Campbell… Hollywood just cannot resist the charms of Venezuela!
The Academy Award- winning U.S. actor and director Tim Robbins visited yesterday, scouting a location for a film.
Robbins was particularly interested in seeing Coro, the desert-like peninsula that juts out into the ocean from the northern state of Falcón.
He also made the requisite visit to Cinema City (la Vllla del Cine) to see Venezuela’s government-funded, state-of-the-art movie facilities. In addition to watching sneak previews of some of the films that are currently in production at Cinema City, Robbins met Venezuelan directors Román Chalbaud, Carlos Caridad-Montero, Alfredo Hueck, and Laura Vásquez.
Yesterday, Venezuela’s Cinema City (in Spanish, Villa del Cine) celebrated its second anniversary! If you haven’t already heard, the Cinema City was founded by the government to promote film making as an integral part of national culture. It has stimulated an enormous amount of activity in Venezuela’s movie business, and has created opportunities for many independent writers, directors and artists.
The BBC has called it “a state-of-the-art production house that is changing the face of Venezuelan cinema.”
Cinema City’s second anniversary was celebrated at the facility in Guarenas with a special pre-screening of 1, 2 y 3 Mujeres. The film offers dramatic accounts of the lives of three Venezuelan women who come from very different backgrounds and face distinct challenges. 1, 2 y 3 Mujeres is the collaborative project of directors Andrea Herrera, Anabel Rodríguez y Andrea Ríos. It is one of 18 films to emerge from Cinema City in the last year. Watch the trailer here.
Five years ago yesterday, on her 88th birthday, the Mexican actress and style icon María Félix passed away in her sleep. She acted in some 48 movies during the 1940s, ’50s, and ’60s, and is remembered as perhaps the most beautiful star of the Mexican silver screen.
What launched María Félix to fame, though, was an early role in the film adaptation of the Venezuelan novel, Doña Bárbara. Written by Rómulo Gallegos and published in 1929, Doña Bárbara is the tale of a wealthy rural family led by a cruel and domineering woman. It is a love story that portrays Venezuelan society in the early 20th century as torn between tradition and modernity, civilization and barbarism.
Today, Doña Bárbara is still considered by many to be Venezuela’s most legendary and lasting fictional work. When the film version came out in 1943, the epic story — as well as Mexican knockout María Félix — won the hearts of moviegoers all over Latin America. To see for yourself, watch a clip below.
A short film by Venezuelan director Mariana Fuentes will grace the silver screen at this year’s Chicago Latino Film Festival in April. The international tour of Lupe’s Café (El Café de Lupe) is sponsored by Venezuela’s state-funded Villa del Cine, or Cinema City, which was founded in recent years to promote national artistic production and diversity.
Watch this trailer for Lupe’s Café to see what you can expect, and check the Venezuela in Your Town section for festival details.
Caracas is currently hosting its annual Jewish film festival. Paradoxically, this show of cultural inclusiveness comes on the heels of spurious allegations that President Chavez is responsible for a “wave of anti-Semitism in Venezuela.”
This trailer for the Jewish film festival is in Spanish, but English-speakers will not miss the message: this cinematic voyage will truly be a revelation!