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Exitos Del Cine Latino Extends San Diego Latino Film Fest Into Summer

The showcase kicks off Friday

Carlos Saura's documentary

Credit: First Run Features

Above: Carlos Saura's documentary "Argentina" takes us on a tour of the country through its music and folklore.

The San Diego Latino Film Festival runs every March but sometimes there’s just not enough room to showcase all that’s good. Exitos Del Cine Latino provides a summer showcase for the overflow.

Transcript

The San Diego Latino Film Festival runs every March but sometimes there’s just not enough room to showcase all that’s good. Exitos del Cine Latino provides a summer showcase for the overflow.

Exitos Del Cine Latino brands itself as a summer celebration of film, music and art. But programming manager Moises Esparza said the emphasis is definitely on film.

"There was a list of content that we desperately wanted to screen here in San Diego and didn’t want to wait a whole year for," Esparza said. "Exitos, the word means hits, the biggest hits from Latin America, but we keep in mind that it is taking place during the summer so we are trying to cater to what audiences want to watch during the summer."

That means comedies like “No Manches Frida” in which an ex-con takes on a job as a substitute teacher so he can retrieve the loot he hid on a high school campus and “El Apostata" where creakingly old traditions in the Catholic Church are challenged by a young man who tries to remove himself from the church’s database.

There are also smart thrillers like "Desierto," directed by Jonas Cuaron and starring Gael Garcia Bernal, and "Paraíso Perdido."

Esparza said the film selections don't underestimate the intelligence of the audience.

"Also our selections show that a movie doesn’t have to be dumbed down to be accessed by audience members," he said.

The idea for a summer film festival is not new but using the AMC Plaza Bonita Theaters as a venue is.

"For this year we’re launching it in a whole new community, which is National City," Esparza said. "So we’re hoping that this can be a festival for them, for this community that is predominantly Latino and we’re really excited to share our programming and content with them."

One film Esparza is particularly proud to showcase is the latest documentary from acclaimed Spanish filmmaker Carlos Saura.

"He’s making these very choreographed concert films and 'Argentina,' the name of his latest film, is such a stunning piece of work and shot so well and is so beautiful. The way he segues from musical segment to musical segment reveals a master in control of his craft."

The film is a journey through Argentina by way of its music and folklore. It highlights the bold diversity of musical styles but the passion of the artists performing gives the film an inspiring sense of unity.

Photo caption: Danny Glover plays a man traveling in Mexico with his prize pig. Maya Rudolph...

Photo credit: Canana Films

Danny Glover plays a man traveling in Mexico with his prize pig. Maya Rudolph plays his daughter in "Mr. Pig."

Saura’s "Argentina" burrows deep into one country’s musical culture but films like "Mr. Pig" attest to the increasingly global sensibilities of contemporary foreign cinema. The film serves up a Mexican director in Diego Luna and American stars in Danny Glover and Maya Rudolph. Rudolph plays Glover’s daughter who tracks down her father in a Mexican hotel where he's rooming with his prize hog.

"This idea of a road film is rooted in Americana, so it’s exciting to see it in a different setting. Diego Luna is a Mexican actor and a director, and it shows how he has been influenced by the films he’s made stateside and how much he feels a need to pay an homage to Mexico," Ezparza said.

The festival also has room for stunning art house dramas like "La Tierra y la Sombra" from Colombia.

"It’s essentially a melodrama abut a father who returns home after years of being away. You get to see some stunning cinematography with the sugar cane fields burning," Esparza said.

Photo caption: Burning sugar cane fields help create a suffocating atmosphere in the family ...

Photo credit: Pyramide Films

Burning sugar cane fields help create a suffocating atmosphere in the family drama "Land and Shade" from Colombia.

In addition to films running every night of the festival there will also be music that anyone in the Plaza Bonita mall can stop by to enjoy. If you are hungering for some Latin spice and flavors then you can satisfy yourself with this summer buffet of films.

Exitos del Cine Latino runs Friday through Sept. 1 at AMC Plaza Bonita.

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