Neighboring Scenes, our annual showcase of contemporary Latin American cinema co-presented with Cinema Tropical, returns for its second edition January 26-31.

Exhibiting the breadth of styles, techniques, and approaches employed by Latin American filmmakers today, the festival highlights impressive recent productions from across the region. Featuring titles from Paraguay, Peru, and the Dominican Republic for the first time, as well as films from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico, Neighboring Scenes celebrates the expanding range of contemporary Latin American filmmaking in its second edition.

“This year, we are pleased to highlight several emerging filmmakers, with many fantastic debut and second films in a range of styles—from political thriller and bleak comedy to observational documentary,” said Film Society of Lincoln Center Programmer at Large Rachael Rakes. “Furthermore, half of the works on this year’s slate are directed or co-directed by women, who have been critically underrepresented in the region previously.”

Opening Night is the New York premiere of Joaquín del Paso’s feature debut Panamerican Machinery, a Buñuelian satire that takes place behind the locked doors of a dysfunctional factory in Mexico City. Shot on expired film stock, de Paso’s film strikes its absurdist tone with deliberately dated, hazy visuals, courtesy of first-time cinematographer Fredrik Olsson. Closing the festival is the U.S. premiere of New Directors/New Films 2015 alumnus Lukas Rinner’s (Parabellum) second film, A Decent Woman, in which a deadpan maid finds liberation by joining a camp of nudists located near the home she cleans.

Other highlights in this year’s lineup include the North American premiere of Laura Huertas Millán’s Black Sun, an intimate portrait of the filmmaker’s aunt as she battles drug addiction and reflects upon her career as an opera singer; Lina Rodriguez’s This Time Tomorrow, a quiet coming-of-age story in which the “fragile changeability of family life is beautifully and painfully captured” (Variety); a 50th anniversary screening of Brazilian auteur Glauber Rocha’s Cinema Novo masterwork Terra em Transe; and more.

Neighboring Scenes is organized by Rachael Rakes. Tickets go on sale Thursday, January 12. See more and save with the $99 All Access Pass or 3+ film discount package.

A Decent Woman

A Decent Woman

 

Lineup

Opening Night
Panamerican Machinery / Maquinaria Panamericana
Joaquín del Paso, Mexico, 2016, 86m
Spanish with English subtitles
New York Premiere
Family businesses are hard to come by these days—and so are manufacturing plants. When the head of Panamerican Machinery dies on a Friday morning, his employees discover how rare their situation is: Don Alejandro had been paying them out of his own pocket, and that any severance or retirement funds are nonexistent. Rather than face the world that’s made them obsolete, the workers decide to lock themselves inside the plant until they reach a decision about how to proceed. Over the course of the weekend, everyone’s behavior grows increasingly strange. Shot on expired film stock, the film deftly moves between socioeconomic commentary and deadpan slapstick.
Thursday, January 26, 7:00pm (Q&A with Joaquín del Paso)

Closing Night
A Decent Woman / Los decentes
Lukas Rinner, Austria/South Korea/Argentina, 2016, 100m
Spanish with English subtitles
U.S. Premiere
In this exquisitely staged deadpan comedy in the vein of Jacques Tatí’s Mon oncle, a maid sent to work inside a gated community slowly becomes radicalized by a nudist resort next door. Belén, the wide-eyed and placid domestic, obediently tends to Diana, an overbearing socialite, and her sporty, temperamental adult son (hilariously referred to throughout only as “Juanchí”), and sparks a romance with a kind security guard. However, her curiosity leads her to visit the nudists, and she wholeheartedly embraces new understandings of sexuality and society. When the McMansion dwellers conspire to shut down their colony, violence erupts.
Tuesday, January 31, 7:30pm (Q&A with Lukas Rinner)

Black Sun / Sol negro
Laura Huertas Millán, France/Colombia, 2016, 43m
Spanish with English subtitles
North American Premiere
Opera singers and addicts in recovery are certainly prone to melodramatic depictions in film, but Laura Huertas Millán’s austere portrait of her aunt Antonia—who happens to be both opera singer and addict—never crosses into the realms of exploitation. First glimpsed giving a young singer lessons on breathing and performance, the middle-aged Antonia is shown living at a rehab center, talking about her suicide attempt and relationship with her estranged son. Through the prism of her Facebook statuses, aria performances, and recollections of the director’s mother, we slowly gain an understanding of a woman still learning to understand herself.

Screening with

Vacio(a) / Empty
Carmen Amelia Rojas Gamarra, Peru, 2016, 6m
Spanish with English subtitles
A tongue-and-cheek story of heartbreak told entirely through images from an IKEA catalogue.

and

The Grey House and the Green Mountains / A casa cinza e as montanhas verdes
Deborah Viegas, Brazil, 15m
Portuguese with English subtitles
The life of a stretch of highway is captured through a dreamlike single shot and hazy pastels.
Sunday, January 29, 7:00pm (Q&A with Laura Huertas Millán)

Black Sun

Black Sun

 

Dark Animal / Oscuro animal
Felipe Guerrero, Colombia, 2016, 107m
Spanish with English subtitles
A powerful allegory about the violence of Colombia’s 50-plus-year civil war, Felipe Guerrero’s harrowing film literally denies its protagonists a voice. Three women—one whose village was destroyed by troops, one who stabs her paramilitary boyfriend to death and flees, and a soldier who refuses to follow her inhumane orders to bury the slaughtered villagers—find new ways to survive in Bogotá after being displaced by their respective traumas. Guerrero’s trenchant symbolism explores gendered violence and the barbarism of humanity. Winner of the Spanish Cooperation Award at the San Sebastian International Film Festival.
Saturday, January 28, 3:00pm

Jesús
Fernando Guzzoni, Chile, 2016, 82m
Spanish with English subtitles
U.S. Premiere
Jesús, an arrogant, third-rate Justin Bieber-type, has essentially dropped out of high school and lives in an apartment with his fellow boy band mates. One night, he and his bros get really drunk and beat another teen so badly that he falls into a coma and dies. With the police eager to find the culprit or culprits, Jesús’s friends immediately turn on him, which leaves only his widowed father to help. Although their relationship has been strained, his dad goes to extremes to protect him. Exquisitely shot, and moodily lit, this tense thriller will keep you guessing about the outcome until the final frame.
Friday, January 27, 7:00pm (Q&A with Fernando Guzzoni)

El limonero real
Gustavo Fontán, Argentina, 2016, 72m
Spanish with English subtitles
North American Premiere
Based on the novel by Argentine poet Juan José Saer, Gustavo Fontán’s beautiful film observes, over the course of a single day, three interrelated families who live around the Parana River. Wenceslao (Germán de Silva of Las acacias and Wild Tales) blames himself for his son’s death six years prior, but attempts to get his still-grieving wife to attend her sister’s New Year’s Eve party; she refuses, even after her nieces and other sisters join in the effort. Throughout, DP Diego Poleri captures the golden-hued radiance of the river during the day as spellbindingly as he does the charcoal-tinted night.
Thursday, January 26, 9:15pm
Monday, January 30, 6:30pm

The Long Night of Francisco Sanctis / La larga noche de Francisco Sanctis
Andrea Testa & Francisco Márquez, Argentina, 2016, 78m
Spanish with English subtitles
Adapted from Humberto Costantini’s novel, this view of Argentina’s Dirty War is told from the perspective of the country’s silent majority. When an old girlfriend contacts him about republishing a communist-themed poem he wrote years earlier, Francisco is more preoccupied with whether or not he will receive a promotion at work. But when they meet, she asks him to notify two of her friends that the junta is looking for them. Over the course of one night, Francisco travels through the city, wrestling with his conscience—but he might or might not be alone. The Long Night of Francisco Sanctis is a timely investigation of what it means to be silent under a despotic government.
Saturday, January 28, 9:00pm

jesus

Jesús

 

Site of Sites / El Sitio de los Sitios
Natalia Cabral & Oriol Estrada, Dominican Republic, 61min
Spanish with English subtitles
North American Premiere
Humans have significantly altered the natural world in a way that no other species has. In Natalia Cabral and Oriol Estrada’s film, an award-winner at the 2016 IDFA Documentary Festival in Amsterdam, we witness one of the more obvious modes of this change: the creation of an artificial beach on a Caribbean resort. Alternating between semi-direct addresses to the camera and more intimate fly-on-the-wall moments, the film shows us the wealthy denizens of the resort—a beach bum actress, golfers—and the laborers who are reshaping the land for their benefit. Subtly teasing out the intersection of race, class, and environment, this documentary is not to be missed.
Saturday, January 28, 5:15pm

Surire
Bettina Perut & Ivan Osnovikoff, Chile, 2015, 80m
Spanish with English subtitles
New York Premiere
Filmmaking team Bettina Perut and Ivan Osnovikoff present to the viewer the otherworldly landscape of the Salar de Surire, a salt flat located 4,300 meters above sea level in the Chilean Andes. Along with views of the unique geology (hot springs, now being tapped for a geothermal energy project) and wildlife (which include pink flamingoes), the film presents plenty of dryly comic moments shared by the people who live in this seemingly inhospitable land, who are descended from the Aymara tribe. Through gorgeously shot long takes, this extreme terrain slowly reveals itself to symbolize contrast—between humanity’s future and its past.
Sunday, January 29, 5:15pm

50th Anniversary Screening
Terra em Transe
Glauber Rocha, Brazil, 1967, 16mm, 111m
Portuguese with English subtitles
A pivotal film from one of the key figures of Brazil’s Cinema Novo movement, Terra em Transe is an urgent and poetic account of political corruption, the systems that shape it, and the challenges of active citizenship in times of political upheaval. Made three years after the right-wing coup d’etat in Brazil, the film is set in the fictional country of El Dorado, in which a young intellectual attempts to chart a political path. First joining the extreme right, and then a party of the left, he ultimately finds dispiriting power dynamics in each. Told through a mesmeric style, and mixing surrealist and realist aesthetics, Terra em Transe is a resonant work of political cinema that pushes its audience to examine its own role in civil society.
Sunday, January 29, 3:00pm
Monday, January 30, 8:00pm

growold

Where I Grow Old

 

This Time Tomorrow / Mañana a esta hora
Lina Rodriguez, Colombia/Canada, 2016, 85m
Spanish with English subtitles
U.S. Premiere
Like most girls her age, 17-year-old Adelaida alternates between intentionally pushing her parents’ buttons and enjoying their affection (such as having mom bring her stuff when she’s too lazy to get out of bed). However, Adelaida’s rebellions over boys and curfews cease to matter after tragedy strikes her family. Without ever getting bogged down in tears or outbursts about grief, This Time Tomorrow deftly explores teenage girlhood and marriage through astutely constructed but low-key situations. Through the film’s disjointed narrative structure, director Lina Rodriguez brilliantly echoes her protagonist’s volatile, capricious emotional state.
Saturday, January 28, 7:00pm (Q&A with Lina Rodriguez)

La última tierra
Pablo Lamar, Paraguay/Chile/Netherlands/Qatar, 2016, 77m
Spanish with English subtitles
North American Premiere
Stripping narrative down to its bare bones, Pablo Lamar’s debut feature is an elegant entry in the slow cinema canon. After an elderly man helps an ailing woman take her last bite of food, he undertakes preparations for a cremation ritual, which is then interspersed with shots of flowing water and fire. Meticulously composed and free of dialogue, the film conveys mourning and grief through rhythm and time, each carefully chosen element imbued with symbolism. The journey Lamar offers is exquisitely rendered, and one well worth taking.
Friday, January 27, 9:15pm

Where I Grow Old / A cidade onde envelheco
Marilia Rocha, Brazil, 2016, 80m
Portuguese with English subtitles
New York Premiere
Using nonprofessional actors, this fiction film from established documentarian Marilia Rocha explores notions of nationhood and belonging. At the request of her mother, Portuguese expat Francisca welcomes old friend Teresa into her Belo Horizonte apartment. Both are nearly thirty, and find themselves at a crossroads, one created as much by the Portuguese financial crisis as their individual personalities. While Teresa eagerly embraces the rhythms and openness of Brazilian life, Francisca still desires to return to Portugal. Through largely improvised dialogue, Rocha’s beautifully shot film deftly explores their relationships to themselves and their surroundings.
Sunday, January 29, 8:45pm