The Film Society of Lincoln Center's documentary festival includes films from Spain and Latin America as part of its international lineup.
Los ausentes (The Absent), Mexico
In The Absent, director Nicolás Pereda focuses on an old man living in the Oaxacan forest whose solitary daily routines are broken after he attends a hearing to resolve a land dispute. After this rupture, memories from his past begin to intrude, and following the demolition of his house, the man takes to the mountains in the hopes of finding people he once knew.
El Palacio (The Palace), Mexico
Nicolás Pereda demonstrates his skill for abstracting everyday ritual in this film about 17 women and girls who live together in the same house, beginning with the opening shot in which all of them brush their teeth around a shared sink.
Thursday, April 23, 7:00pm (Q&A with Nicolás Pereda)
Sueñan los androides (Androids Dream), Spain/Germany
A drifting portrait of Spain’s economic crisis, and a sly reimagining of Philip K. Dick’s seminal cyberpunk novel. In the year 2052, a nameless man silently travels through semi-completed high-rise apartments and grocery stores, assassinating random civilians without warning. More intimate scenes of the city’s inhabitants socializing—but never discussing the elephant in the room—underscore the absurd context of his violence.
Nova Dubai (New Dubai), Brazil
Gustavo Vinagre’s documentary unapologetically depicts a variety of gay fantasies—violent, incestuous, comic, romantic, degrading, or all of the above—against the backdrop of a contemporary, overdeveloped urban neighborhood.
April 23, 9:30pm (Q&A with Gustavo Vinagre)
Carta a un padre (Letter to a Father), Argentina
Legendary Argentine novelist and filmmaker Edgardo Cozarinsky travels to Entre Ríos, the province of the farming community where his father was born, in an attempt to learn more about him. Despite encountering relics from the past—some personal, some communal—the director embraces the traces of what remains and what has been lost to time.
Thursday, April 16, 7:00pm
Naomi Campbel, Chile
The title of Nicolás Videla and Camila José Donoso’s debut feature, a hybrid film centered around the struggle of Yermén, a thirtysomething transgender woman, to finance her sex-change operation, is at once odd and totally fitting: a documentary with the structure of a fictional character study, and a sleekly shot piece of digital filmmaking punctuated by pixelated, low-grade video footage shot by Yermén herself.
Friday, April 10, 9:30pm (Q&A with Camila José Donoso)
Tuesday, April 14, 5:00pm
As Cidades e as Trocas (Trading Cities), Portugal
The first collaboration between Portuguese documentarians Luísa Homem and Pedro Pinho, the film is an anatomy of contemporary Cape Verde’s rapidly expanding tourism industry and the work done to sustain it: the recruitment of locals for canned musical performances; the building of hotels and swimming pools; the sand trade that has supplied the country with concrete ever since its own beaches thinned out.
Tuesday, April 14, 8:30pm
Branco sai, preto pica (White Out, Black In), Brazil
Set in Ceilândia, a city established by the Brazilian government to prevent the poor from settling in the capital of Brasilia and the location for most of director Adirley Queiros’s unique docufictions, this biting critique of race mixes science fiction with testimonials from two men physically disabled by police violence in 1986.
Friday, April 17, 9:00pm (Q&A with Adirley Queiros)
New York: April 10 - 26. Full details on the Film Society of Lincoln Center website.