Museum of Fine Arts Houston’s Latin Wave Film Festival Returns this April

by Jessica Fuentes April 5, 2022

Para leer este artículo en español, por favor vaya aquí. To read this article in Spanish, please go here.

A designed graphic with text that reads, "LATIN WAVE 15."

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), in association with Fundación PROA, Buenos Aires (a private arts center), will host its 15th annual Latin American film festival from Thursday, April 21 through Sunday April 24, 2022.

Typically held annually, this marks the return of Latin Wave: New Films from Latin America, a festival which has been on hiatus since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, the festival’s new artistic director is Carlos A. Gutiérrez, cofounder of Cinema Tropical, a New York-based nonprofit that promotes Latin American films. 

Mr. Gutiérrez has selected eleven films from seven countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru, and Venezuela.

The event will utilize both the Brown Auditorium Theater in the museum’s Caroline Wiess Law Building, and the new Lynn Wyatt Theater in the Nancy and Rich Kinder Building. 

Read the films’ descriptions, provided by the MFAH, below. For additional information and to purchase tickets, visit the museum’s website.

Free Color
Thursday, April 21, at 5 pm; Sunday, April 24, at 3:15 pm in the Lynn Wyatt Theater
*Introduced by Mari Carmen Ramírez
(Directed by Alberto Arvelo, USA/France/Venezuela, 2020, 70 minutes, Spanish, English, and French with English subtitles)

Franco-Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz-Diez (1923–2019) is one of the 20th century’s seminal thinkers in the field of color. The insightful new documentary Free Color traces his vision and artistic evolution through archival footage. Also featured are interviews with the artist, family members, collaborators, and scholars, including MFAH curator Mari Carmen Ramírez. The artist’s Chromosaturation MFAH (1965/2017, installed 2020) is in the Cherie and Jim Flores Tunnel in the Nancy and Rich Kinder Building.

The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be Quiet
Thursday, April 21, at 7:30 pm in the Brown Auditorium Theater
*Introduced by Ana Katz with Q&A
(Directed by Ana Katz, Argentina, 2021, 73 minutes, Spanish with English subtitles)

The sixth film by acclaimed writer-director Ana Katz follows Sebastián, an ordinary man in his thirties devoted to his loyal dog and working on numerous temporary jobs. As he moves fitfully through adulthood, he navigates love, loss, and fatherhood—until the world is rocked by a sudden catastrophe, upending his already turbulent life. Photographed in stark black-and-white, Katz captures Sebastián’s midlife coming of age in slices of life both specific and universal as he struggles to adjust to a world that is perpetually changing—and might be nearing its end.

Dos Estaciones
Friday, April 22 at 7 pm in the Brown Auditorium Theater
*Introduced by Juan Pablo González with Q&A
(Directed by Juan Pablo González, Mexico, 2022, 97 minutes, Spanish with English subtitles)

Director Juan Pablo González offers a welcome twist to the traditional films set in the idyllic haciendas of yesteryear’s Mexican cinema to tell the story of María García, an iron-willed businesswoman who fights the impending collapse of her tequila factory in an increasingly globalized industry. Set in the Jalisco highlands and anchored by a brilliant performance by Teresa Sánchez—winner of a Special Jury Prize for Acting at Sundance—Dos Estaciones is a love letter to the director’s homeland, as well as a potent tale of resilience.

Bob Spit: We Do Not Like People
Friday, April 22, at 9:30 pm in the Lynn Wyatt Theater
(Directed by Cesar Cabral, Brazil, 2021, 90 minutes, Portuguese with English subtitles)

Winner of a Best Feature Award at the Annecy Film Festival, this zany and irreverent indie stop-motion animated feature is inspired by the life and work of one of the most celebrated Brazilian cartoonists of all times, Angeli, and his popular creation, the punk character Bob Spit. In his wild debut feature, director Cesar Cabral ingeniously mixes documentary, comedy, and road movie to create an offbeat animated experience unlike you’ve ever seen, including tiny, bloodthirsty clones of Elton John.

The City of Wild Beasts
Saturday, April 23, at 12 pm in the Lynn Wyatt Theater
(Directed by Henry Rincon, Colombia, 2021, 95 minutes, Spanish with English subtitles)

After an altercation with gang members, Tato, a newly orphaned teenager who is an avid rapper, must flee his neighborhood. His only option is to leave Medellín, and live in the countryside with his estranged grandfather. Two generations, two ways of life, and a continuous feeling of loss, death, and loneliness reign over Tato’s life in his struggle to survive and find his own identity. Winner of the Best Ibero-American Film Prize at the Miami Film Festival, the impressive second feature by Henry Rincón is a vigorous and engrossing tale of endurance.

Jesús López
Saturday, April 23, at 3 pm in the Lynn Wyatt Theater
(Directed by Maximiliano Schonfeld, France/Argentina, 2021, 86 minutes, Spanish with English subtitles)

Jesús López is a young and promising racing driver whose death in a motorcycle accident leaves his small town deeply shaken. His teenaged cousin Abel is gradually tempted to take his place with his family and friends, until he lets himself be possessed by his cousin’s spirit. Winner of the Best Latin American Film Award at the Mar del Plata Film Festival, the fourth feature film by Maximiliano Schonfeld is a captivating and elegantly directed mystical tale about community grief and emancipation.

Saturday, April 23, at 5 pm in the Brown Auditorium Theater
*Introduced by Gian Cassini with Q&A
(Directed by Gian Cassini, Mexico, 2021, 98 minutes, Spanish with English subtitles)

In his acclaimed debut feature, named after the town where Juan Rulfo’s landmark 1955 novel Pedro Páramo takes place, director Gian Cassini sets out to uncover the truths of his own broken family, while picking up the pieces of his absent father’s story as a failed hitman murdered in a Mexican border town. As he traverses the country in search of clues, the filmmaker uncovers a network of men stuck within deeply rooted patterns of machismo and offers unprecedented access into the personal ramifications of Mexico’s war on drugs.

Private Desert
Saturday, April 23, at 7:45 pm in the Lynn Wyatt Theater
(Directed by Aly Muritiba, Brazil, 2021, 125 minutes, Portuguese with English subtitles)

Daniel is a 40-year-old man who has been suspended from active police work and is under internal investigation. When Sara, his internet love affair, goes missing, he drives to search for her in the northeast of the country. Thousands of miles from home, Daniel meets a man who can put the two in touch again, though under very specific conditions. The most recent film by Aly Muritiba is a gripping tale of an impossible love set under adverse conditions, and an engrossing inquiry into masculinity in contemporary Brazilian society.

Memories of My Father
Sunday, April 24, at 12 pm in the Lynn Wyatt Theater
(Directed by Fernando Trueba, Colombia, 2020, 136 minutes, Spanish, English and Italian with English subtitles)

Based on the eponymous novel, Memories of My Father tells the real-life story of Héctor Abad Gómez, a renowned doctor and human-rights activist in Medellín during the violent 1970s. Driven by sadness and rage after cancer takes the life of one of his daughters, he devotes himself to social and political causes without regard to his personal safety. Directed by Academy Award–winning director Fernando Trueba, this intimate story is told by the doctor’s only son, Héctor Abad Faciolince, one of the most outstanding writers in contemporary Colombia.

The Best Families
Sunday, April 24 at 5:30 pm in the Brown Auditorium Theater
*Introduced by Javier Fuentes-León with Q&A
(Directed by Javier Fuentes-León, Peru/Colombia, 2020, 99 minutes, Spanish with English subtitles)

The most recent film by acclaimed director Javier Fuentes-León (Undertow) is a satirical, over- the-top comedy that follows Luzmila and Peta, two sisters working as housemaids for different aristocratic ladies of Peru. They are almost considered a part of each family, or at least that’s how it seems. One day, as the city is taken over by violent protests, the members of both families gather for a birthday celebration. A long-held secret involving both households—upstairs and downstairs—is suddenly revealed, blowing up the bubble of their perfect aristocratic world forever.

Clara Sola
Sunday, April 24, at 8 pm in the Lynn Wyatt Theater
(Directed by Nathalie Álvarez Mesén, Sweden/Costa Rica/Belgium/Germany/France, 2021, 106 minutes, Spanish with English subtitles)

A favorite at Cannes Directors’ Fortnight, the acclaimed debut feature by Nathalie Álvarez Mesén is set in a remote Costa Rican village and follows 40-year-old Clara, who endures a repressively religious and withdrawn life under the command of her mother. Clara’s uncanny affinity for creatures large and small allows her to find solace in the natural world. Tension builds within the family as her younger niece approaches her quinceañera, igniting a sexual and mystical awakening in Clara, and a journey to free herself from the conventions that have dominated her life.

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