17 May, 2010

Latin American cinema made by European talent

La Yuma, made in Nicaragua.

Forget for an instance all you’ve read about Latin American cinema receiving prizes at important film festivals.

It’s true that films made in Argentina, Mexico or even in Peru are finally catching some people’s eyes (take “The secret in their eyes”, the Argentinean thriller that won this year’s foreign Oscar or “The milk of sorrow”, the Peruvian film that got the Golden Bear last year in Berlin), which is great, but film reality experienced every day in Latin America is actually quite different.

Many countries, specially the small ones, don’t have national cinema laws that would help production to grow yet (forget about such thing as an industry), what ends up in years or decade passing by without a single national title being produced. This happened in Paraguay for the last 30 years (or more), until Paz Encina came along and did her "Paraguayan Hammock", a poetic small film that quietly won awards all over the world, such as the FIPRESCI prize in Cannes in 2006.

Now there is Nicaragua, in Central America, which has just launched its first film in two decades: “La Yuma”. Behind it, is Florence Jaugey, a French actress that went to live there 27 years ago – and never went back to France (well, maybe on vacations). In Nicaragua, se became a producer and director with now over five documentaries on her curriculum.

The fact is: there is European talent helping to construct Latin American cinema today. And this happens mostly out of pure love for a culture – and there’s nothing naïve about that.

According to Florence, who explains she has fallen in love for Nicaragua when she first went to that country to work in a film in 1983, “France has extraordinary films, culture laws and many opportunities, while here you have to do it all; it’s a challenge” (see one of her interviews for a local newspaper here).

“La Yuma”. Wanda Visión, the Spanish distribution company that sold films like the very same “Paraguayan Hammock” and “The milk of sorrow” worldwide is behind this Mexican/Spanish/French/Nicaraguan co-production that has already been commercially launched in Nicaragua. The story in the film, coincidence or not, has to do with self-overcoming.

It turns out it’s not so bad to live in a globalized world ;-)

Watch “La Yuma”’s trailer in You Tube

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