Film at Lincoln Center and Cinema Tropical announce the fifth edition of Neighboring Scenes, the annual wide-ranging showcase of contemporary Latin American cinema featuring established auteurs as well as fresh talent from the international festival scene, February 14-18.

Neighboring Scenes spans a wide geographic range, highlighting the breadth of styles, techniques, and approaches employed by Latin American filmmakers today. The Opening Night selection is Joanna Reposi Garibaldi’s documentary Lemebel, an intimate portrait of pioneering queer writer and visual artist Pedro Lemebel, told with unprecedented access and footage. Other highlights of the lineup are Pablo Larraín’s Ema, an electrifying character study anchored by performances from Gael García Bernal and Mariana Di Girolamo; José Luis Torres Leiva’s tender, emotionally raw Death Will Come and Shall Have Your Eyes, a poetic meditation on death, mortality, and selfless love in the face of terminal illness; and five short films: Daniela Delgado Viteri’s Shortcuts, Miguel Hilari’s Bocamina, Pablo Mazzolo’s Green Ash, Alejandro Alonso’s Home, and Ulises Conti’s Persona 5.

Documentaries are strongly featured in the Neighboring Scenes lineup, including Maíra Bühler’s Let It Burn, which follows the marginalized residents of São Paulo’s Dom Pedro hostel as they struggle with addiction, loneliness, and the threat of eviction; Private Fiction, Argentinean documentarian Andrés Di Tella’s cinematic reconstruction of his late parents’ turbulent love story, told through their personal letters and photos; Marcelo Gomes’s engaging travelogue Waiting for the Carnival, a portrait of a small Brazilian village dominated by the production of denim; the essay film Pirotecnia, which finds director Federico Atehortúa Arteaga examining the uncanny relationship between his mother, Colombian cinema, and the country’s history of armed conflict; and Hilari’s lyrical Compañia, which blurs past and present, dream and reality in its portrayal of an indigenous Andean community’s return home for a festival of the dead after migrating to the city. 

The lineup also showcases multiple debut features, including Jo Serfaty’s coming-of-age story Sun Inside, which follows four teenagers from the Rio de Janeiro favelas; Salomón Pérez’s In the Middle of the Labyrinth, a boy-meets-girl teenage love story that evokes both slacker cinema and formal documentary; Workforce, a poignant and astute meditation on class warfare from Mexican director David Zonana; Lucía Garibaldi’s provocative, menace-tinged portrait of unrequited love and sexual awakening The Sharks, winner of the Sundance 2019 World Cinema Dramatic Best Director Award; Clemente Castor’s format-shifting hangout film Prince of Peace, capturing the daily routines, fights, and uncanny discoveries of a group of Mexican teenagers; and Again Once Again, which finds director Romina Paula playing a fictionalized version of herself opposite her own mother and son in a richly personal exploration of motherhood. 

Organized by Carlos Gutiérrez and Cecilia Barrionuevo.

Tickets are now on sale and are $15; $12 for students, seniors (62+), persons with disabilities, and Cinema Tropical subscribers; and $10 for Film at Lincoln Center members. See more and save with the purchase of three tickets or more. 

Acknowledgments
Arthouse Hotel, Meghan Monsour, Daniella Schestatzky, Matias Piñeiro, Paola Buontempo, Corey Sabourin, Mary Jane Marcasiano, Pilar Garrett, Stephanie Diaz, Ana Sophia Colon

FILMS & DESCRIPTIONS
All screenings will take place in the Walter Reade Theater (165 W. 65th St.) unless otherwise noted.

Opening Night
Lemebel
Joanna Reposi Garibaldi, Chile/Colombia, 2019, 96m
Spanish with English subtitles
New York Premiere
A pioneering queer writer and visual artist who shook up conservative Chilean society during Pinochet’s dictatorship in the 1980s, Pedro Lemebel worked on a film about his own work during the last eight years of his life. Unfortunately, he was never able to complete the film before his death from cancer in 2015. With unprecedented access and footage from that unfinished project, Joanna Reposi Garibaldi’s documentary details the risk-taking, confrontational performance art that defined this extraordinary figure, whose work advocated for human rights, and which speaks to the recent political upheaval in Chile.
Friday, February 14, 6:30pm (Q&A with Joanna Reposi Garibaldi)

Lemebel

 

Again Once Again / De nuevo otra vez
Romina Paula, Argentina, 2019, 84m
Spanish and German with English subtitles
U.S. Premiere
Moving freely between documentary and scripted drama, Argentine novelist, actor, and playwright Romina Paula’s debut feature is a rich and surprising personal work exploring the poignant emotional landscape of motherhood. Paula—who recently appeared in La Flor—plays a fictionalized version of herself, a mother who returns to her childhood home in Buenos Aires, which ignites memories and feelings of her life before starting a family. Performing alongside her real mother and three-year-old son, Paula creates an intimate, shape-shifting film full of affection and wisdom.

Preceded by:
Shortcuts / Atajos
Daniela Delgado Viteri, Ecuador, 2019, 18m
Spanish with English subtitles
North American Premiere
Through five imaginary interviews, Shortcuts presents alternative forms of rebellion and resilience in everyday life—a good strategy for avoiding the pitfalls of hegemony and colonialism.
Monday, February 17, 9:00pm

Compañía
Miguel Hilari, Bolivia, 2019, 60m
Spanish and Aymara with English subtitles
North American Premiere
The second film from Bolivian director Miguel Hilari (The Corral and the Wind) is a lyrical and mystical documentary about an indigenous community who migrated to the city and have returned to their small mountain village in the Andes to honor the memory of their ancestors for a festival of the dead. The film blurs the boundaries between past and present, individual and community, urban and rural, dreams and reality. Prizewinner at the Visions du Réel Festival. 

Preceded by: 
Bocamina / Pithole
Miguel Hilari, Bolivia, 2019, 22m
Spanish with English subtitles
North American Premiere
Filmed in the Bolivian city of Potosí, Bocamina concerns the miners who work in Cerro Rico, the mountain of silver ore that overlooks the city. Emerging from the darkness, faces begin a dialogue with those from years long past. 
Saturday, February 15, 2:00pm

Death Will Come and Shall Have Your Eyes / Vendrá la muerte y tendrá tus ojos
José Luis Torres Leiva, 2019, Chile/Germany/Argentina, 89m
Spanish with English subtitles
U.S. Premiere
Inspired by a line of poetry by Cesare Pavese, Chilean filmmaker José Luis Torres Leiva’s latest feature is an intensely felt tone poem about mortality and selfless love. Amparo Noguera (A Fantastic Woman) and Julieta Figueroa star as longtime lovers who must face the inevitable when one of them is diagnosed with a terminal illness. Refusing treatment, they retreat to a secluded cabin where they rediscover their love for one another. Torres Leiva’s camera locates tender and wistful beauty in every sequence, and the emotionally raw performances by Noguera and Figueroa conjure the intensity of a Bergman chamber drama.
Monday, February 17, 6:30pm

Death Will Come and Shall Have Your Eyes

 

Ema
Pablo Larraín, Chile, 2019, 107m
Spanish with English subtitles
New York Premiere
In his first film since the 2016 double bill of Neruda and Jackie, Pablo Larraín returns to present-day Chile for an incendiary portrait of a young woman in rebellion. Set in Valparaíso, the film concerns married couple Ema, a platinum-blonde reggaeton dancer (played brilliantly by Mariana Di Girolamo), and choreographer Gastón (Gael García Bernal), who have abandoned their adopted 7-year-old son. A portrait of a modern family and a tenacious exploration of art, desire, and personal liberation, Ema is a rare character study that moves with the intensity of a heart-pounding dance film, set to an absorbing electronic score by Nicolas Jaar. A Music Box Films release.
Sunday, February 16, 8:30pm

In the Middle of the Labyrinth / En medio del laberinto
Salomón Pérez, Peru, 2019, 65m
Spanish with English subtitles
North American Premiere
Director Salomón Pérez’s debut feature, set in the Peruvian city of Trujillo, depicts the world through the eyes of teenager Renzo, a skater with no clear idea about his future, and Zoe, a girl obsessed with drawing the city’s maze of antennae and cables. In the Middle of the Labyrinth has all the hallmarks of a traditional slacker drama, yet is narrated as though a documentary—a snapshot of that moment of life when nothing is more important than falling in love and experiencing time as it gently passes by.
Tuesday, February 18, 9:00pm

Let It Burn / Diz a Ela que me Viu Chorar
Maíra Bühler, Brazil, 2019, 82m
Portuguese with English subtitles
New York Premiere
Four years in the making, the new documentary feature by Brazilian filmmaker Maíra Bühler (I Touched All Your Stuff) is a powerful and delicate portrait of the seven-floor Dom Pedro hostel in downtown São Paulo, which houses 107 homeless residents from marginalized communities, many of whom are struggling with drug addiction and the ever-present threat of eviction. Employing elegant photography, the filmmaker reveals the tragic human stories of his individuals full of loneliness and heartbreak who nevertheless fight for life in solidarity. 

Preceded by:
Green Ash / Ceniza Verde
Pablo Mazzolo, Argentina, 2019, 10m
New York Premiere
This short film revisits the tragic history of the Hênîa-Kâmîare community, which committed mass suicide in 1575 to escape the violence of the Spanish conquest. 
Saturday, February 15, 4:00pm

Let It Burn

 

Pirotecnia
Federico Atehortúa Arteaga, Colombia, 2019, 83m
Spanish with English subtitles
U.S. Premiere
In 1906, four men were executed for attempting to kill Colombia’s President, Rafael Reyes. The failed coup is revisited in Federico Atehortúa’s film essay, in which a family accident leads the director to discover the uncanny relationship between his mother, the origins of Colombian cinema, and recent events in the country’s prolonged armed conflict.
Sunday, February 16, 4:15pm

Prince of Peace / Príncipe de paz
Clemente Castor, Mexico/Venezuela, 2019, 84m
Spanish with English subtitles
U.S. Premiere
Clemente Castor’s debut feature is a format-shifting hangout film distinguished by its young director’s visionary, oddball perspective. Prince of Peace is in constant motion, as are its characters: a group of Mexican teenagers whose daily routines are observed across bedroom hangouts, doctors’ visits, and fights. Melancholic but not without a sense of humor, Prince of Peace captures the immersive textures and sensations of youth. Winner of Best Mexican Film at the 2019 FICUNAM International Cinema Festival.

Preceded by:
Home
Alejandro Alonso, Cuba, 2019, 12m
North American Premiere
Streets, houses, trees, and people appear between textures and sounds—memories of a city that once was and images of a city as it is now.
Sunday, February 16, 2:00pm

Prince of Peace

 

Private Fiction / Ficción privada
Andrés Di Tella, Argentina, 2019, 79m
Spanish with English subtitles
U.S. Premiere
In his latest documentary, Argentinean filmmaker Andrés Di Tella uses photos and love letters from his late parents—his father, Torcuato, born in Argentina; and mother, Kamala, from India—to create an intimate portrait of a turbulent 20th-century love story. The letters, written between the ’50s and ’70s and read in the film by professional actors, describe love and idealism, world travels, socialism and psychoanalysis, pain and broken dreams. Meanwhile, with the assistance of his own daughter, Di Tella sets about solving the puzzle of his family’s memory.
Sunday, February 16, 6:15pm (Q&A with Andrés Di Tella)

The Sharks / Los tiburones
Lucía Garibaldi, Uruguay/Argentina/Spain, 2019, 80m
Spanish with English subtitles
New York Premiere
Lucía Garibaldi’s assured and understated debut feature is an engaging and provocative coming-of-age tale. The film tells the story of 14-year-old Rosina (played by the wonderful newcomer Romina Bentancur), who lives in a quiet beach resort rumored to be plagued by sharks. Upon meeting the older Joselo, Rosina begins to circle him, as if inspired by the area’s mysterious predators. Winner of the Sundance Film Festival’s World Cinema Dramatic Best Director Award, The Sharks adds Garibaldi’s name to an exciting list of powerful female voices emerging in South America cinema. 
Saturday, February 15, 6:00pm (Q&A with Lucía Garibaldi)

The Sharks

 

Sun Inside / Um filme de verão
Jo Serfaty, Brazil, 2019, 94m
Portuguese with English subtitles
North American Premiere
Jo Serfaty’s spirited debut feature, set in Rio de Janeiro, follows four teenage high-schoolers from the favelas—Karol, Junior, Ronaldo, and Caio—as they plan their summer. When vacation arrives, the temperatures in the city soar, and, amid regular blackouts, they reinvent themselves, hoping to overcome their own personal adversities.

Preceded by:
Persona 5
Ulises Conti, Argentina/Japan, 2019, 18m
North American Premiere
This intimate portrait of a group of Japanese teenagers who spend hours playing video games shows how an addiction to computers functions as a substitute for the way humans once related to each other.
Friday, February 14, 9:00pm

Waiting for the Carnival / Estou me guardando para quando o carnaval chegar
Marcelo Gomes, Brazil, 2019, 86m 
Portuguese with English subtitles
New York Premiere
The most recent film by acclaimed director Marcelo Gomes (Once Upon a Time Veronica) is an engaging documentary portrait of relentless capitalism, centered in the small Brazilian village of Toritama. Here, more than 20 million pairs of jeans are produced in makeshift factories every year. The locals work nonstop, proud to be the masters of their own time. During Carnival—the area’s only leisure time of the year—they sell their belongings and flee to the beaches in search of ephemeral happiness. When Ash Wednesday arrives, a new work cycle begins. An Icarus Films release.
Tuesday, February 18, 6:30pm

Workforce / Mano de obra
David Zonana, Mexico, 2019, 82m
Spanish with English subtitles
New York Premiere
Following the death of his brother at a construction site in Mexico City, Francisco learns that his widowed sister-in-law will not receive compensation from the wealthy owner of the luxury house where the accident occurred. After enduring a succession of further abuses against himself and his colleagues, and having made several attempts to obtain justice, he finally takes the law into his own hands—but will the world he’s fighting against consume him? David Zonana’s acclaimed debut feature is a poignant and astute meditation on class warfare.
Saturday, February 15, 8:30pm (Q&A with David Zonana)