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11 reviews in total 
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New approach, powerful story, 26 May 2011

Cross 'Apocalypto', 'Squanto: a warrior's tale', and 'Che', and you've got a plot that approaches La Otra Conquista. But it also brings its own angle to the plot – the most significant conquest is not the land or the people, but their spirit. La Otra Conquista deals with the domination of an entire people's belief system, set in the time of the reign of the Spanish conquistadors 1500's. The main character, the headstrong Aztec prince Topiltzin (Damián Delgado) fights with all his might to resist the imposition of the catholic faith on his people. The movie really pushes the envelope, testing the limits of the human spirit in the face of immovable oppression. Really moving, powerful, emotional, with spectacular acting from Delgado that fantastically carries the movie forward. Just fantastic, with a new take on the age-old story of the unjust conquest of the Aztec people.

The Violin (2005)
Simply Stunning, 26 May 2011

La Violin has the uncanny feel of intimacy – we are drawn as an audience into the nerve- wrecking and immensely dangerous business of opposing a ruthless and unforgiving army. It also achieves the expression of such a huge story in such a small setting – we are really only exposed to four important characters. But through these people, a whole struggle of a country is exposed – and in a more general sense, any oppressed people anywhere. This inspiring drama really tugs at your heartstrings – especially Don Plutarco (Ángel Tavira) who simultaneously pulls off the innocent grandpa look and the sly plotter that he has to become to protect his family. A powerful fight-the-power drama that will have you lost in a surreal world of honor and rebellion – I just have to give it a 10/10.

Captive (2003)
2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Powerful and Emotional, 26 May 2011

The 'Dirty War' in Argentina, and the disappearances of radicals that plagued that era, had long and lasting effects on the Argentinean people. In the tradition of 'La Historia Oficial', Cautiva follows one of the affected – in this case, a teenage girl who learns that she is not her parents' child, but in fact one of the disappeared children who was forcefully taken from her parents. The emotional trauma and the process of understanding, accepting, and internalizing this kind of massive shock is convincingly transmitted by the actors and the shooting style. The powerful emotional scenes are handled wonderfully by the Bárbara Lombardo in her debut role. This movie really knocks you for a loop, then knocks the wind out of you – really an emotional roller coaster. Excellent film, overall.

0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Simply Amazing, 25 May 2011

One of my favorite movies from Brazil! Completely engrossing, with beautiful camera work and a nail-biting plot, Cidade de Deus tells the heart-racing story of a youth from the slums of Brazil trying to make it as a photographer – and just trying to survive. Each character brings his own contribution to the story, the viewer forms strong bonds with many and an extreme distaste for others – it is like being transported into their world. And any time that happens, I consider it a whopping success. The movie also has a huge message about why things happen, how the cycle of violence gets perpetuated to each new generation. An important movie, as well as entirely engrossing: Cidade de Deus is simply amazing.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Bizarre, frantic, strange., 25 May 2011

Johnny one hundred pesos was an ambitious project, with an important message about a culture in a strained transition between a military dictatorship and democracy. Despite its strong intentions, however, the movie came together in such a way as to make it uncomfortable to watch altogether. It is heavy on the symbolism, which can be a good thing -- the media's involvement, the role of Chile's youth, and even the timing of the event is significant. And it does have a strong message behind it. But the movie starts to sacrifice plot for the sake of symbolism; a series of nonsensical events occur that don't make sense apart from the symbolic meaning behind them. Add to this the strange, generally unlikeable, almost painful-to-watch main character and the movie just was not salvageable in my opinion, even with its important message. Not an enjoyable experience overall.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Powerful and Emotional, 25 May 2011

This film is uncommonly powerful, with very dark tones but bursting with hope and love. The main character, a jaded and bitter letter writer working in Brazil's largest train station (Fernanda Montenegro), is suddenly burdened with a kid who eventually wins her over. But unlike the common feel-good comedies with the same setup, Central do Brasil takes the viewer on a sometimes hopeless, openly vulnerable, and powerfully emotional journey. You can really feel the connection between the boy and his new caretaker – you can feel all of her emotions, really, because her acting is just that spectacular. The acting, the camera work, the soundtrack, and the beautifully written story all come together to produce just an amazing movie, well worth watching, that may just jerk a tear from your eye.

Really good feel-good movie, 25 May 2011

This heartwarming family drama is a pleasure to watch. It follows a young boy, Carlitos (amazingly acted by Adrian Alonso), who has snuck his way into the United States to find his mother (Kate del Castillo), who immigrated to the states years ago to support the family. The obstacles Carlitos faces on his journey through the treacherous south are no match for his unfailing optimism and pure heart. Although the movie approaches a feel-good Disney vibe, it also contains a lot of powerful truths about the dangers and sacrifices in the life of an illegal immigrant, and illustrates the strength of the human spirit under adversity. Really great for the whole family, and leaves you with a sense of hope and happiness about the human condition.

Gritty, real, relatable, 23 March 2011

This hilarious Argentinean comedy is impressively realistic in its incorporation of a hand-held shaky-cam, conversational dialogue, and individual personalities for every single character. The rich and diverse cast of characters immerses us in this entertaining subculture. It's also really funny – the attitudes and witty banters are universally appreciable, legitimately making me laugh out loud several times. But, on the other hand, The Lost Embrace also tackles serious issues like cultural identity, family relationships, forgiveness, and regret. We can identify with the lead character, despite his flaws and sometimes-arrogant attitude, because he deals with many of the same struggles we do. This gritty, smart-alec, and hilarious yet emotionally challenging movie is very worth watching, and might be my favorite movie to come out of Argentina yet!

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Satire, not comedy, 20 March 2011

La Película del Rey follows a spurned director who suffers a string of unfortunate setbacks, who each time becomes more and more determined to finish his project. The journey of the director as he tries to get funding, train actors, and improvise scenes is exciting, and the string of misfortunes that befalls him can sometimes be humorous, but jumping into it in a comedic mindset, La Pelicula del Rey fell pretty flat. Although the situations in this Argentinean comedy can be outlandish and the movie has some great moments, it is not especially funny as a whole. The satire of the film is rich, however, and provides the real value of the movie. If you're in the mood for a comedy, go elsewhere, but if you're looking for a clever satire about the Argentinean film industry, this is your movie.

Bizarre but entertaining, 20 March 2011

The unique, borderline bizarre style of Bolivar was particularly entertaining, but the real value of the movie was its underlying political and cultural statement. The quotes that leap forcefully out of Robinson Díaz's mouth speak of a misused and abused cultural icon that has been used as a tool to sway the public. The icon of Bolivar, along with icons like Che Guevara and Salvador Allende, has taken on a life of its own, and has been used for purposes that the men themselves may have stood against. The ravings of a half-mad soap opera actor, the incredulity of a kidnapped president, and the cooing of the beautiful Amparo Grisales fully entertain while still conveying this important message.

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