16 June 2008 - 18 June 2008

The Lakeside Theatre's film programme has been brought together to extend the dialogue between arts activities on campus. This Latin American festival is sponsored by the Essex Collection of Art from Latin America and complements the exhibition Trazos humanos / Human Traces at the Art Exchange. Trazos humanos / Human Traces was inspired by the 25th anniversary of the University's Human Rights Centre and the films presented here share a broad human rights focus.

The festival is organised in collaboration with John Cant of the Centre for Theatre Studies, who selected the first two films.

Monday 16 June

Doors: 7.00pm Screening 7.30pm

Admission free

Madama Satã

Karim Ainouz/2002/Brazil-France/105 mins

Portuguese with English subtitles

João Francisco dos Santos (the 'Madama Satã' of the title) was a well known, not to say notorious figure in the Rio de Janeiro of the 1930s and '40s. Flamboyant, violent and talented, he fought his personal battle against the racism and homophobia of his times, frequenting the bars, brothels and prisons of the city and defying prejudice directly by performing as a female impersonator. Loosely based on his life, Madama Satã features a complex narrative, jarring editing, vivid contrasting lighting effects and the passionate music of the Brazilian demi-monde. Ainouz film is deliberately wild, garish, sexy and frenetic, in complete contrast to Verónico Cruz; but both films protest against inhumanity, poverty, cruelty and the denial of fundamental rights and freedoms.

Not suitable for under 18s.

Introduced by John Cant, Centre for Theatre Studies

Tuesday 17 June

Doors: 7.00pm Screening 7.30pm

Admission free

Verónico Cruz

Miguel Pereira/1988/Argentina-UK/96 mins

Spanish with English subtitles

Set in the isolated rural province of Jujuy in north-east Argentina, Pereira's film (Argentine title Verónico Cruz: La deuda interna) tells the story of a young schoolteacher sent to serve the children of an impoverished village, far from the influence and relative affluence of Buenos Aires. Despite the primitive circumstances in which he finds himself the young man develops a love for his young charges, and for the orphaned Verónico in particular. The desolate landscape achieves a compelling beauty at the behest of Pereira's camera and the teacher becomes increasingly accepted in this unchanging world: but then comes the dictatorship and not even Jujuy escapes its attention. Many Argentine films of this post-dictatorship period deal with the terrible events of the proceso. Verónico Cruz is one of the gentlest, but also one of the most affecting; it won a number of awards including Argentina's Silver Condor - best film for 1989.

Introduced by John Cant, Centre for Theatre Studies.

Wednesday 18 June

Doors: 7.00pm Screening 7.30pm

Admission free

Días de Cartón(Cardboard Days)

Verónica Souto/2003/Argentina/51 mins

Spanish with English subtitles

Based in the life and work of the cardboard collectors of Buenos Aires, the so called 'cartoneros', this film focus on this army of the shadows that every night walks and works in the streets of the richest districts of the city. Traveling with them on a train with no lights, seats, windows or doors, like foraging animals, we enter an underworld of despair, exploitation, racism and speculation difficult to ignore. Giving voices to these real outcasts, the film explores the different forms of organizations they give to themselves, the faces and names of those who legally and illegally profits on other people's misery via the multimillion dollar business of rubbish collection and the reality of life in a country in which globalization went completely wrong. Cardboard Days is also a reflection on megalopolis, recycling, alternative life styles and economic inequity. Raising multiple issues of significant ecological, social and political importance, the film invites the spectator to an unforgettable trip into Latin America deep hopes and desires, fights and politics, shadows and lights.

Introduced by the film's writer, Pablo Robledo, with the presence of director, Verónica Souto.

Winner of numerous documentary prizes, including 1st Prize for Best Documentary at the 9th Festival of Independent Cinema of Ourense. (Ourense, Spain, 2004)

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