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Latin-American Films Showcased in Series at UWM Cinema

Apr. 18, 2017
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Movies can be entertaining but they can also serve as windows onto worlds beyond our experience. Throughout its 39-year history, UW-Milwaukee’s Latin American Film Series has opened a window to Mexico and points south. The issues raised by the annual film festival have often been pressing. After all, relations between the U.S. and Latin America have long been intimate but fraught with tension as well as friendship. 

This year, however, the Film Series might assume a larger significance than usual. Anti-immigrant sentiment, directed in part toward Latinos, was prevalent during last year’s Republican primaries and the campaign rhetoric of GOP nominee Donald Trump. As president, Trump vows to make good on his promise to build a wall along the southern border of the U.S.

“Our primary objective has always been to educate the Milwaukee community about Latin America and the Americas in general,” says E.J. Basa, co-curator and lead programmer of the Film Series as well as an instructor in UWM’s film studies program. “The political climate now might require a bit more education when it comes to differences—to give people more access to information about boundaries and crossing boundaries, not simply political or legal boundaries but intellectual and cultural boundaries.”

As usual, the selections included in the Film Series, organized by UWM’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, was drawn from a vast array of choices. “I was almost overwhelmed after hours and hours and hours of watching films,” Basa says. “So many wonderful films are coming out of Latin America!”

The programming represents a rough cross-section of contemporary Latin-American cinema with films in Spanish, Portuguese and native languages; films directed by men and women; films about younger people and older people; films that won awards and drew audiences in Latin America and films that were obscure even in their home countries. “A lot of this year’s films have to do with families,” Basa says. “It was not a theme we decided in advance but an undercurrent that emerged.”

April 21-27 at the UWM Union Cinema; includes films from Argentina, Chile, Cuba, Brazil, Columbia, Mexico, Uruguay, Paraguay and Venezuela. For more information call 414-229-5986 or visit uwm.edu/clacs/public-engagement/film-series.

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