Pulsos Latinos is the Northwest Film Forum's showcase of Latino cinema, bringing together complex, challenging, triumphant films from Argentina, Costa Rica, Mexico, Ecuador, Chile, and Peru. As the festival program explains, "An industry boom in production and funding, combined with digital technologies and an invigorated festival circuit, has transformed a once marginally exposed cinema region into a contemporary center of film gravity," and Pulsos Latinos parades choice fruits of this boom before our eyes. Among the offerings: We Are Mari Pepa (Samuel Kishi Leopo's punky coming-of-age film set on the outskirts of Guadalajara), Los Posibles (Santiago Mitre's dance film made in collaboration with Argentinian choreographer Juan Onofri Barbato), and All About the Feathers (Neta Villalobos's Costa Rican cockfighting comedy). For a full schedule of films, see nwfilmforum.org. For a mini-review of one of Pulsos Latinos' offerings, keep reading.
Summer of Flying Fish
dir. Marcela Said
The Chilean filmmaker Marcela Said made her name with a series of award-winning documentaries on the Pinochet regime. The new Summer of Flying Fish is Said's first scripted narrative film, and it's a lush, lyrical study of a subject that's spiritually in line with her previous work: the clash between indigenous and inherited legacies in contemporary Chile. Our avatar in this world is the teenage daughter of a wealthy white landowner, who's vacationing with her family at a lakeside home. As the pale-skinned people lie about and gossip and give orders, the brown-skinned people work and struggle—a fact that becomes increasingly impossible for our teenage heroine to ignore, especially as snippets of a greater upheaval invade her consciousness, through reports on the car radio and passing glimpses of police blockades. Throughout the film, director Said collects rich images and scenarios illuminating the film's contending forces, from the casual cruelty of bored young boys lazily torturing a fish to the lonely terror of a native houseboy following dangerous orders. If the film gets a bit programmatic at times, that's fitting: For our young heroine, every sight is evidence, supporting either the story of privilege she was born into, or the story of struggle she sees unfolding all around her.
Pulsos Latinos runs April 18–26 at Northwest Film Forum. For the full schedule of films, see nwfilmforum.org.