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Chicago Latino Film Festival: 77 debuts and return of ‘Gloria’

“The Eternal Night Twelve Moons” documents traditions Colombia.  |   PhoCourtesy International Latino Cultural Center Chicago

“The Eternal Night of Twelve Moons” documents traditions in Colombia. | Photo Courtesy International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago

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When: Through April 17

Where: AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois

Tickets: $12 (discounts and 12-film passes available)

Info: (312) 431-1330;

Updated: May 5, 2014 7:48AM

The 30th Chicago Latino Film Festival salutes the stellar Paulina Garcia. Pepe Vargas, the fest’s founder and executive director, will bestow upon this Chilean actress the Gloria Achievement Award at the closing night gala on April 16.

The name of the annual award coincides with the title of her outstanding film “Gloria,” which screened here in February.

The festival brings back “Gloria,” Chile’s entry for best foreign language film, on April 17. The fest’s 77 other features are all Chicago premieres and will screen at the AMC River East 21.

A new sidebar of older films, called Latino Oscar, shows at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State, where tickets are $11 (member discounts apply). Coming from countries represented in the festival, each of these 11 films were nominated for best foreign language film between 1960 and 2009. Five nominees — from Argentina and Spain — won Oscars.

Movies for Grownups is another sidebar. Co-sponsored by AARP, it highlights features of interest to older viewers.

Select capsules follow. All films are subtitled in English.


6:15 p.m. “Love’s Not What It Used to Be” (Spain): Gabriel Ochoa directs a nice-looking story of three couples of different ages and stages of kindling love. Physics and ophthalmology supply metaphors in this fine date movie. (Also, 7:30 p.m. Sunday.)

9:30 p.m. “Who Killed Bambi?” (Spain): Inspired by a Mexican film screened in 2006’s fest, this comedy of botched capers is good fun. Director Santi Amodeo injects clever reversals with a dose of peyote and a peevish cross-eyed taxi driver. (Also, 6 p.m. Sunday.)


7 p.m. “Illiterate” (Chile): Garcia plays another intriguing character on par with her Gloria. Director Moises Sepulveda, who is scheduled to attend this screening, relates how a young schoolteacher takes over her mother’s habit of reading the newspaper to an illiterate, irritable neighbor (Garcia). Literacy lessons bond the duo in this highly recommended drama with a brash jazz score by Cristobal Carvajal. (Also, 8:30 p.m. Sunday and 7:30 p.m. April 15.)

9:30 pm. “Tango Glories” (Argentina): The opening night film returns for a second screening sans reception. Hernan Findling and Oliver Kolker co-direct an audience-affectionate tale of an unappreciated psychiatrist figuring out why an elderly patient limits his utterances to the lyrics and titles of tango songs. Flashbacks and breakthroughs ensue with some zesty dance scenes.


6:30 p.m. “The Eternal Night of Twelve Moons” (Colombia): Priscila Padilla beautifully documents the Wayuu tradition of isolating a girl for a year as her rite of passage. She emerges as a woman for sale into marriage. The old ways appear to continue her confinement, but she decides upon an untraditional future. (Also, 6:15 pm Monday.)


8:45 p.m. “I Am From Chile” (Chile): Despite its billing in the closing night gala, Gonzalo Diaz’s likable drama screens again on the festival’s actual last day. A young man from Santiago lands in London and stays with his cool aunt Maria (Paulina Garcia), who rents rooms to Russian, Japanese and French youth trying to make less than legal livings. They all make a short film. Garcia is scheduled to attend.

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