Films from Colombia, Chile, Argentina, Guatemala and more are on this year's slate at the Philadelphia Film Festival. A couple highlights:
Although Jayro Bustamante’s directorial debut speaks directly to contemporary issues facing Guatemala’s indigenous population, it also has the feel of a timeless tale extolling the perils of young love. María is a 17-year-old girl who lives with her parents on a coffee plantation at the foot of an active volcano. Betrothed to her father’s boss, the foreman of the plantation, María nonetheless promises her heart to Pepe, a poor laborer who dreams of escaping to the land beyond the volcano: America. One fateful night, the young lovers act upon their passions, changing the course of María’s life forever.
The great Mexican actor Damián Alcázar stars as the titular character, a run-down cab driver who, out of a misguided sense of obligation, still attends to his former army commander, a once vicious colonel now old and frail. One day, a woman, portrayed with a quiet strength by Magaly Solier, gets into his cab. Many years ago, she was accused of terrorism and taken into custody, where the colonel abused her repeatedly for more than a year while Magallanes did nothing. Wrecked with guilt over his actions — or rather his inactions — he vows to help the woman however he can, even if it means blackmail or worse.
Philadelphia: Oct. 22 - Nov. 1. Full lineup and details on their website.