FILM FESTIVAL : Your chance to meet those who made the films

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The  Entertainment Scene with Lourdes Quijada

PANAMA FILM  buffs  are only  three weeks away from their annual orgy of world acclaimed films at the Panama International Film Festival, April 7-13, and this year at some special screenings they get the opportunity to join in question and answer sessions with those who brought the action to the screen.  actors, directors and producers.

an early work from Spanish master Pedro Almodóvar.  THE film is   a frenetic melodrama about a mother, a daughter, a lover, a drag queen—and a murder. Following many years of estrangement, Madrid broadcaster Rebeca (Victoria Abril) is reunited with her mother, Becky (Marisa Paredes), a famous torch singer who abandoned Rebeca as a child. Manuel (Féodor Atkine), Rebeca’s husband and employer, was once Becky’s lover. Rebeca, Becky and Manuel attend a performance by female impersonator Letal (Miguel Bosé, son of this year’s guest of honor, Lucía Bosé), whose act is based on Becky’s persona. Rebeca winds up making love with Letal, while Manuel wants to leave Rebeca for Becky. When one month later Manuel is murdered this jumbled geometry of desire becomes only more complicated, more bizarre, and more intriguingMarisa Paredes and versatile actor-singer Miguel Bosé will take part in a  session following  the screening   The show is at Teatro Balboa Sunday, April 10 at 6:30 pm.

THIS  is considered one of late Chilean auteur Raúl Ruiz’s most accessible films. It stars Marcello Mastroianni in his penultimate role, and the great Italian actor’s charisma and dexterity is showcased in an elegant grafting of four distinct narratives, each involving ardor, crime, desire and time—and all of them linked by Mastroianni’s mysterious changeling. One story involves an enchanted apartment, another a millionaire who willingly transforms into a panhandler. There is the tale of a young husband and wife (played by Chiara Mastroianni, Mastroianni’s daughter with Catherine Deneuve) who are invited to occupy a luxury chateau, and the tale of the affluent industrialist who learns that he is to receive a visit from a family he thought he invented. If you’re unfamiliar with Ruiz’s magical worlds, this is an excellent point of entry.

BRAZILIAN filmmaker Aluzio Abranches delves into new territory with  this frothy delight romantic comedy. Once an aspiring filmmaker, Hector (Alexandre Borges) now makes a living as a wedding videographer. A bachelor sliding deeper into middle age, Hector’s days of partying all night are over. Above all, he aspires to keep his life simple. Things start getting complicated, however, when Hector meets the beautiful Penelope (Camila Morgado), who, desperate to ruin her lover’s wedding, crashes one of Hector’s gigs.

BACK after having participated in last year’s “Primera Mirada” showcase, the latest from Panama’s own Enrique Pérez Him is a rollicking, satirically hued study of family squabbles, everyday hypocrisies and petty crimes. When teenage Kenny (Milko Delgado) gets busted buying weed, his mother solicits Kenny’s respectable cousin Josué (Eric De León) to help her boy conquer his addiction—not knowing that Josué himself smokes weed and is also dealing with a pregnant girlfriend. Energetic, resourceful and shot-through with smart humor, Kenke—named after a Panamanian colloquialism for weed—hits a winning balance of cultural specificity and universal themes. The film screening will be followed by a Q and A session with director Enrique Pérez Him.

 THE hilarious feature debut of Panamanian director Arturo Montenegro is a sly, class-conscious comedy that tells the story of a man in need of a maid and the beguiling, larger-than-life angel who promises to fulfill all his needs—at a cost. Diego Vinda (Rogelio Bustamante) was living in chaos. His maid Magdalena was spectacularly incompetent, his Panama City high-rise apartment in shambles. Everything changes after Diego’s mother, Rosa (Diana Young), meets Dominga (Nilka Denny) one day in church. Poor, black and wise, a devout Christian with a lively sense of humour, Dominga quickly becomes an all-in-one friend, confidant and charity project to Rosa. El Cheque employs stereotypes around race and class only to turn them on their head. The screening will be followed by a Q and A session with Arturo Montenegro

THESE extraordinary mid-length documentaries offer intimate, affectionate, deeply compelling portraits of two very different figures. Zachrisson portrays a charismatic Panamanian artist who has lived in Madrid the last 50 years, while Street Name: Pirate follows a homeless Miami man whose funky monologues serve as a testament to surviving in society where far too many individuals fall through the cracks

HOMELESS yet always flamboyantly dressed, a man of numerous monikers yet an absolutely singular character, Pirate, a.k.a. Monarch, a.k.a. Kevin, is homeless. Or, as Pirate himself puts it, he is the resident of a Miami “sandiminium.” This funky, poignant film finds Pirate discoursing on his life’s adventures from various street corners, in a parkade, or while using the public exercise equipment on South Beach.  Chilean Patricio Castilla’s Street Name: Pirate speaks to the alarming ease with which individuals fall through the cracks of a supposedly affluent society. But it is also a tribute to one man’s formidable survival skills and insistent joie de vivre.

The first screening of the Portraits section will be followed by a question and answer session with director Patricio Castilla, at Cinépolis Multiplaza on Friday, April 8 6:00 pm

PANAMANIAN  artist Julio Augusto Sigfrid Norman Zachrisson Acevedo has lived the last 50 years in Madrid. He is now aged and blind, but his lust for life remains robust. Panamanian filmmaker Abner Benaim captures Zachrisson in his home, dancing, listening to music and reminiscing with his equally charismatic life partner Marisé. One particularly lovely sequence finds Zachrisson going through his paintings, describing from memory works that he can no longer see. He speaks of travel and the importance of timing in determining one’s destiny, and he ponders the strange nature of art. “It’s useless,” says Zachrisson, “yet we can’t live without it.” The second Portraits screening will be followed with a  Q and A  session with director Abner Benaim. The showing is at Cinépolis Multiplaza on Monday, April, 11,  6:00 pm. 



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