New perspectives on Latin American migration and movements in the Cine/Mobility festival – catch it online now.
The online film festival ‘Cine/Mobility – Latin American cinema across borders’ has launched in the UK (5 October to 5 November), opening with a conversation with director Icíar Bollaín about her film Yuli: The Carlos Acosta Story.
The new festival is dedicated to Latin American migrations, social movements and transatlantic exchanges. A feast for students, scholars and film lovers, the virtual festival showcases the work of filmmakers from Argentina, France, Spain, Chile, Cuba and the Dominican Republic, paying particular attention to women and LGBTQ issues.
A selection of four full-length films is accompanied by a programme of shorts with an activist spirit, introducing complex struggles and political movements animating today’s Latin America, on topics including migrant rights, the murder of Afro-Brazilian politician Marielle Franco, and the role of women in the rewriting of Chile’s constitution.
As well as screenings and Q&As, the festival will host roundtable discussions with industry professionals with one session focusing on the impact of feminism on the Latin American and European film industries and another discussing the challenges of bringing Latin American cinema to UK and Catalan audiences.
Here’s my preview of the four full-length films featured in Cine/Mobility:
Yuli/Yuli: The Carlos Acosta Story
Dir. Icíar Bollaín (Spain / Germany / UK, 2018)
Yuli is a touching biopic packed with dance sequences and Cuban history, based on the life of the Cuban dancer Carlos Acosta. After his training in Cuba, Carlos became one of the best dancers of his generation, and the first Black artist to dance Romeo in the Royal Ballet in London, where he forged a legendary career as a principal dancer for 17 years. Cuba is seen from the eyes of Carlos and his family, marked by experiences of migration and displacement. It is a film about passion, talent and nostalgia, which Bollaín directs with great attention to aesthetics and with affection for her characters.
El diablo es magnifico / The Devil is Magnificent
Dir. Nicolás Videla (Chile, 2016)
Like its main character, Manu, El diablo es magnífico is one of a kind. Blending fiction and documentary, the film tells the story of a Chilean trans migrant, who struggles to see her future in Paris. Manu’s memories and distinct views on culture, art and life intersect with her experiences of love and sex, and her decision to stay or return. This film is a little gem, a unique take on migration which is also a wonderful example of queer cinema, done with passion and a subversive touch.
Miriam Miente / Miriam Lies
Dir. Natalia Cabral and Oriol Estrada (Dominican Republic, 2017)
This is a fantastic coming-of-age film that deals with the complex intersections of race and class in contemporary Dominican Republic, from the perspective of a teenager and her everyday concerns. The film tells the story of Miriam, a mixed-race 14-year-old who meets her boyfriend on the internet. While her friends enthusiastically prepare the traditional quinceañera party, Miriam does not know how to explain to her family that her boyfriend is Black. Miriam’s character is memorable and is bound to leave an emotional impact on viewers.
Estoy Acá (Mangui Fi) / I am here
Dir. Juan Manuel Bramuglia and Esteban Tabacznik (Argentina, 2017)
At its heart, this documentary is a story of friendship, and the complexities of relationships as we age and grow as individuals. The film follows Ababacar and Mbaye, two Senegalese migrants who met in Buenos Aires. We see their friendship grow and become stronger, until they decide to take different paths. With a delicate and close understanding of its characters, the film engages with a complex set of emotions, expectations and desires that fill Ababacar and Mbaye’s everyday life, offering an original and nuanced perspective on South-to-South migration.
The Cine/Mobility festival, hosted by Oxford Brookes University, runs from 5 October to 5 November 2021. It was created by Dalila Missero in collaboration with the film programmer Analía Fraser. All events and screenings are free (registration via Eventbrite) and the full schedule is available at the Cine/Mobility website and on Facebook.