The Lawrence University Department of Spanish will be turning the Warch Cinema and the Wriston auditorium into Appleton’s very own art house theatres as it hosts the first Latin American and Spanish Film Festival from May 9 to May 13.
The festival will showcase nine recent Ibero-American films, all of which relate back to gender and sexuality, the theme of the festival.
The artistic and executive co-director of this year’s festival is Postdoctoral Fellow and Alfieri Fellow Javier Guerrero of the Spanish department, whose passion lies in film.
“I love to promote Latin American and Spanish film,” said Guerrero, who has organized and worked on a multitude of film festivals in Latin America, the United States, and also in France at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. “My idea here was special because the university is trying to put together a new department on film studies, and for me it’s very important if you have a film studies program to have festivals where the university can show films of different traditions.”
There are three main goals of the festival, according to Associate Professor of Spanish Rosa Tapia, the executive co-director of the festival. The first is to establish the Spanish department as a strong partner of the developing film studies program. The second is to branch out and make connections with other departments on campus, such as the Gender Studies Department, which helped sponsor the festival. The third is to “broadcast and showcase” the Spanish department to the Appleton community.
One highlight at this year’s festival is “The Skin I Live In,” directed by famed Spanish filmmaker Pedro AlmodÃ³var. This film will be accompanied by a lecture on May 11 by Distinguished Professor in the Ph.D. Program in Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Languages and Literatures at the City University of New York Paul Julian Smith. Smith, an internationally renowned Hispanic film and literary critic, will be delivering a lecture entitled “AlmodÃ³var’s Women,” which will discuss the use of gender and the human body in AlmodÃ³var’s films.
Those who attend the festival will also be able to vote for one film to receive the Audience Choice Award and enter a raffle for a $200 gift card. A film and the winner of the gift card will be announced on May 14.
For the Spanish department, it would be ideal to make this film festival an annual event. This opens up many opportunities for different themes and speakers. Tapia also sees the many potential themes as a way for the Spanish department to tune in to both the Lawrence and the Appleton communities. Said Tapia, “In the future we’d like to listen to what our students and our colleagues would like to do with [the festival] and select themes according to the needs and interests of who we are as a program.”
With the strong artistic and musical culture at Lawrence, the department has decided to center next year’s theme around music. In the meantime, Guerrero encourages all students and community members to attend the upcoming screenings and get involved and invested in the films. Said Guerrero, “We’re going to have very polemic films, but we hope that students, especially, will attend the films, because we have done it for you, not for us.”
Films being shown at the festival include:
THE SKIN I LIVE IN/ LA PIEL QUE HABITO (SPAIN, 2011)
Pedro AlmodÃ³var, 117 min.
A brilliant plastic surgeon, haunted by past tragedies, creates a synthetic skin that withstands any kind of damage. His guinea pig: a mysterious and volatile woman who holds the key to his obsession.
THE FISH CHILD/ EL NIÃO PEZ (ARGENTINA, 2009)
LucÃa Puenzo, 96 min.
A desperate love story between two young girls. Unable to find a place for their love in the world they live in, they are pushed to commit a crime.
REVERÃN (VENEZUELA, 2011)
Diego RÃsquez, 110 min.
The story of the famous visual artist Armando ReverÃ³n from 1924 to 1954, including his personal relationship with the woman who would become his inseparable companion.
LEAP YEAR/ AÃO BISIESTO (MEXICO, 2010)
Michael Rowe, 94 min.
Laura’s personal life consists of one affair after another. She meets Arturo, and the pair begin an intense sexual relationship. As the days go by, Laura crosses them off on a calendar, revealing her secret past to Arturo.
A YEAR WITHOUT LOVE/ UN AÃO SIN AMOR (ARGENTINA, 2005)
AnahÃ Berneri, 102 min.
A writer living with AIDS searches for a cure and human interaction in the hospitals and sex clubs of Buenos Aires.
UNDERTOW/ CONTRACORRIENTE (PERU, 2009)
Javier Fuentes-LeÃ³n, 100 min.
An unusual ghost story set in the Peruvian seaside. A married fisherman struggles to reconcile his devotion to his male lover with his town’s rigid traditions.
LOVE FOR SALE/ CÃU DE SUELY (BRAZIL, 2006)
Karim Ainouz, 90 min.
In order to raise money, a young woman in the Northeast of Brazil decides to raffle her own body.
MOSQUITA Y MARI (USA, 2012)
Aurora Guerrero, 85 min.
In a fast-paced immigrant community where dreams are often lost to economic survival, two young girls contemplate life as they awaken sexual desires in each other.
CHICO & RITA (SPAIN, 2010)
Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal, 94 min.
Chico is a young piano player with big dreams. Rita is a beautiful singer with an extraordinary voice. Music and romantic desire unites them, but their journey — in the tradition of the Latin ballad, the bolero — brings heartache and torment.