Film at Lincoln Center and Cinema Tropical announce the sixth edition of Neighboring Scenes, the annual wide-ranging showcase of contemporary Latin American cinema featuring established filmmakers as well as fresh talent from the international festival scene, scheduled for March 31 – April 12 in the FLC Virtual Cinema.

Neighboring Scenes exhibits the breadth of styles, techniques, and approaches employed by Latin American filmmakers today, and spans a wide geographic range, highlighting impressive recent productions from nine different countries across the region. This year’s edition of the festival kicks off a series of events to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Cinema Tropical, the leading presenter of Latin American cinema in the U.S., with a special screening of a new restoration of Silvia Prieto, the landmark film by Argentine director Martín Rejtman.

The Opening Night selection is Caetano Gotardo and Marco Dutra’s All the Dead Ones. Set in 19th-century Brazil following the abolition of slavery, the film examines issues of race, class, and gender through the intersecting paths of wealthy white aristocrats and the formerly enslaved. Neighboring Scenes showcases a number of debut features, including Sebastián Lojo’s Los Fantasmas, about a tour guide who moonlights as a thief in Guatemala City; Diego Mondaca’s Chaco, an atmospheric meditation on the absurdity of war; Carolina Moscoso’s harrowing and personal documentary Night Shot, which won the Cinema Tropical Award for Best First Film; and Mauricio Franco Tosso’s stunning black-and-white feature Samichay: In Search of Happiness, a moving portrait of an indigenous family in the Andes mountains.

Additional highlights of the lineup include Clarisa Navas’s queer coming-of-age story One in a Thousand;  Irene Gutiérrez’s Between Dog and Wolf, in which three Cuban veterans reflect on their experiences in the Angolan Civil War; and several hybrid films that test the boundaries of narrative and nonfiction: Neighboring Scenes and New Directors/New Films alum Julio Hernández Cordón’s The Howls, a fantastical family portrait in which the filmmaker revisits the landscapes and memories of his hometown in Mexico with his daughter; and Ana Elena Tejera’s debut film Panquiaco, about a fisherman whose mind wanders through his past and the history of his home country of Panama. 

Organized by Carlos A. Gutiérrez and Cecilia Barrionuevo.

Virtual tickets go on sale Friday, March 12 at noon. Tickets are $12; tickets for the 20th-anniversary restoration screening of Silvia Prieto are $10. A discounted festival All-Access Pass will also be available for $80 (more than 30% savings!). FLC members and Cinema Tropical subscribers receive an additional 20% discount on all film rentals and pass purchases.


The Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS) at New York University, Sofía Bordenave, Paola Buontempo, Daniella Schestatzky, Raúl Camargo, Corey Sabourin, Mary Jane Marcasiano, Pilar Garrett, Juan Pablo Medina, Marina Mendes Gandour.


Opening Night
All the Dead Ones / Todos os Mortos
Caetano Gotardo and Marco Dutra, 2020, Brazil/France, 120m
Portuguese with English subtitles
The class struggle permeates every time period, and in each political and social era it is reconfigured in new ways—though never not cruelly. This reality is at the root of All of the Dead Ones, which had its world premiere in the official competition of the 2020 Berlinale. In this impressive film, Marco Dutra (Good Manners) and Caetano Gotardo (The Moving Creatures) join creative forces to offer a strong female-driven historical drama, which unfolds at the edges of the stories of two clans: a white aristocratic family and a formerly enslaved Black family. The film makes clear how the abolition of slavery has not meant the destruction of racism and social discrimination. The past never ends—it always catches up to us, no matter where we are.

All the Dead Ones

Between Dog and Wolf / Entre perro y lobo
Irene Gutiérrez, 2020, Cuba/Spain/Colombia,  75m
Spanish with English subtitles
Even though its frame of reference is the Angolan Civil War, Irene Gutiérrez’s film is not a story of battle but of abiding faith. As it meticulously revisits the experiences of Estebita, Miguel, and Alberto, three former Cuban soldiers who fought in Africa, that faith in certain ideals that have endured across decades and in spite of reality comes under examination. Premiered at the Forum section of the 2020 Berlinale, this second film from Gutiérrez (Hotel Nueva Isla) depicts the three veterans re-enacting war games and playing out the theatricality of past glories in the jungles of Cuba’s Sierra Maestra. 

Diego Mondaca, 2020, Bolivia/Argentina, 77m
Aymara, Quechua, and Spanish with English subtitles
Set in 1934, during the Chaco War fought between Bolivia and Paraguay over territorial disputes, this spare historical drama follows a small regiment made up mostly of Aymara and Quechua indigenous soldiers commanded by a retired, gruff German officer fighting for the Bolivian Army. The troop is in a limbo, looking fruitlessly for the enemy, and wandering through the hostile, semi-arid lowlands in extreme weather. Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, director Diego Mondaca’s debut feature is a powerful meditation on the futility and absurdity of war.


The Howls / Se escuchan aullidos
Julio Hernández Cordón, 2020, Mexico, 68m
Spanish with English subtitles
Julio Hernández Cordón (Buy Me a Gun, I Promise You Anarchy), one of the most original and prolific directors of his generation, returns in his latest film to Texcoco, the town on the outskirts of Mexico City where he grew up, and recently the site of a canceled new international airport. Accompanied by his teenage daughter, Fabiana, and the actor Francisco Barreiro—who plays nine different characters—the director creates a whimsical, subversive, and genre-bending family portrait in which father and daughter tour the playground of his childhood while in search of a vanished lake, Aztec rulers, and werewolves.  

Los fantasmas
Sebastián Lojo, 2020, Guatemala/Argentina, 75m
Spanish with English subtitles
The auspicious debut feature by Guatemalan director Sebastián Lojo is a vigorous character study that follows Koki, a young, attractive, and charismatic man who makes a living in Guatemala City as a thief by proxy. During the day he works as a tourist guide, and at night he seduces men in bars, leading them to a hotel where they are robbed by the owner, Carlos. When the tables are turned and Koki is betrayed by Carlos, he finds himself pushed even further into society’s margins, forced to witness the violent effects of his actions from an almost disembodied perspective.

Los fantasmas

Night Shot / Visión nocturna
Carolina Moscoso, 2020, Chile, 80m
Spanish with English subtitles
Stories about acts of extreme violence often end up fixated on the perpetrators. Not so with Night Vision. Provoking the viewer with a sustained and risky aesthetic, Carolina Moscoso takes on highly personal material, showing the universe of complicities and contradictions that swirl around the difficult topic of rape. In Night Shot—winner of the Grand Prix at last year’s FIDMarseille and the Cinema Tropical Award for Best First Film—the transitions of light and chiaroscuro accompany the courage, honesty, and even delicacy with which a harrowing event is excavated.

One in a Thousand / Las mil y una
Clarisa Navas, 2020, Argentina/Germany, 120m
Spanish with English subtitles
Winner of the Best Picture Award at the 2020 Jeonju International Film Festival, Clarisa Navas’s potent queer drama is set in a housing project in the northeastern Argentine city of Corrientes. The film follows Iris, a basketball-loving 17-year-old teenager who falls for Renata, a woman who is a few years older than her and has a mysterious past. Iris slowly realizes that she will have to overcome her fears and struggle with her insecurities in order to experience first love. One in a Thousand is a story of tenderness in a hostile environment, where desire takes many forms in the darkness and gossip can turn into a weapon.

One In A Thousand

Ana Elena Tejera, 2020, Panama, 80m
Portuguese and Dulegaya with English subtitles
Returning from Portugal to Panama, the land that brims with promise, Cebaldo revisits his hometown with the familiar eyes of someone who grew up there but also the alienation of  someone who left. Ana Elena Tejera’s poetic debut feature moves freely between fiction and documentary, as a story about myths, rituals, memory, and identity unfolds. A record of the history of Panama and the encounters and disagreements between the protagonist’s past and present show us that the most painful exile is the exile from whom we once were—and the things that made us what we now are.

Samichay: In Search of Happiness / Samichay: En busca de la felicidad
Mauricio Franco Tosso, 2020, Peru/Spain, 87m
Quechua and Spanish with English subtitles
Samichay, which means “in search of happiness” in Quechua, is the aptly named cow in this debut feature by Mauricio Franco Tosso. High up in the Andes mountains, in a landscape both hostile and profoundly beautiful, a beleaguered family tries to scrape by. Shot in striking black and white, the film presents a moving story that puts at stake the viability of certain traditional lifestyles in rural and urban environments. At the heart of the film is the indigenous protagonist Celestino’s tender and heartbreaking relationship with Samichay, who is his only source of income and hope for a better future. 

Samichay: In Search of Happiness

Cinema Tropical 20th Anniversary screening
Silvia Prieto
Martín Rejtman, 1999, Argentina, 92m
Spanish with English subtitles
Silvia Prieto sells soap to passersby in busy city squares, pores over phone books to find women who share her name, and refuses to settle down with either of the two boyish men in her orbit. Rejtman’s radiant second feature, which follows Silvia (played by the singer Rosario Bléfari) for a short stretch of her life in Buenos Aires, is a comedy of details—like the statue that supposedly resembles Silvia and passes from owner to owner; the blazer Silvia permanently borrows from a wealthy male admirer; the chicken she buys every night—and occasional, quiet epiphanies. Silvia Prieto is one of the jewels of recent Argentine cinema, and one of Rejtman’s most perfectly realized films. Restoration undertaken by Museo del Cine in collaboration with EYE Filmmuseum. Restored by Museo del Cine de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires and Constanza Sanz Palacios, in collaboration with Eye Institute Amsterdam, and supported by Mecenazgo de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires.