A Watershed Year

2003 a great year for current, upcoming Latino films

By Premiere Weekend Club
Published on LatinoLA: February 5, 2003

A Watershed Year

The watershed year for Latino films continues as several quality films continue to play in various cities around the country. Please make sure to catch these films if they are still showing at a theatre near you. And watch out for their DVD/Video releases.

"Talk to Her," (pictured) from legendary Spanish Director, Pedro Almodovar ("All About My Mother," "Woman of the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown"), is a story about loneliness, focusing on two men who are both in love with women who are
comatose. The film won the European Film Awards for best picture and director.

"Frida", directed by Julie Taymor ("Titus," "The Lion King" musical), tells the unique and amazing love story of Latin icon & artist Frida Kahlo (Salma Hayek) and her artist husband, Diego Rivera (Alfred Molina). Salma Hayek turns in an Academy Award level performance in this hit film.

"City of God": This Brazilian film is getting rave reviews, with Roger Ebert calling it " One of the best film's you'll ever see." Two boys growing up in a violent neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro take different paths: one becomes a photographer, the other a drug dealer. Directed by Katia Lund and Fernando Meirelles, "City of God" is a hard-edged film about the youth ghetto of Rio, the so-called "City of God".

"Empire" is the story of street-wise gangster Victor Rosa's quest for the American Dream as he tries to escape his criminal past and the violent streets of the South Bronx. The critically-acclaimed film stars John Leguizamo
("Collateral Damage, "Moulin Rouge," "Romeo and Juliet"). Arenas Entertainment and its partner Universal Pictures are distributing "Empire," which is helping bring about significant, ground breaking change in Hollywood.

A controversial hit film in Mexico, "El Crimen Del Padre Amaro" stars Gael Garc?a Bernal (Y Tu Mama Tambien","Amores Perros"). Recently ordained a priest, 24 year-old Father Amaro (BERNAL) is sent to a small parish church in Los Reyes, Mexico. Torn between the divine and the carnal, the
righteous and the unjust, Father Amaro must summon the strength to choose which life he will lead.

Intacto: Spanish Director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo has fashioned an enigmatic tale of four people... lives intertwined by destiny... subject to the laws of fate... who discover that luck is something they cannot afford to be without as they gamble with the highest stakes possible... in a deadly game from which only one of them will emerge intact.

"Real Women Have Curves" Stars Lupe Ontiveros and America Ferrera who shared the Best Acting Award at the Sundance Film Festival. "Real Women Have Curves" is the story of Ana, a first generation Mexican-American on the verge of becoming a woman. She is torn between her mainstream ambitions and her cultural heritage.

Some of the movies coming in 2003:

(Release dates are subject to change and may vary by the city)

February 21
Se?orita Extraviada - Documentary about the more than 200 unsolved murders of young women in Juarez, Mexico. From Balcony Releasing.

February 26
The Dancer Upstairs - Javier Bardem ("Before Night Falls") stars in this story of an idealistic policeman in pursuit of the guerilla leader who threatens to destroy their Latin American nation. From Fox Searchlight.

March 28
Raising Victor Vargas - A teenage Lothario puts the moves on a new girl against the backdrop of Manhattan's Lower East Side. Released by IDP/Samuel Goldwyn-Fireworks.

April 16
Chasing Papi - Telenovela heartthrob Eduardo Verastegui stars in this comedy for Fox. Three Latinas plot revenge on their three-timing boyfriend.

Warrior of Light - Documentary about Brazilian activist Yvonne Bezerra, who renounced a life of privilege to serve the children of Rio de Janeiro's slums.

June 6
The Fast and the Furious 2 - Eva Mendes ("All About the Benjamins") and Tyrese ("Baby Boy") star in this sequel to the steeet-racing hit, released by Universal.

July 25
Spy Kids 3 - More adventures for the Cortez family from director Robert Rodriguez ("El Mariachi," "Desperado"). Stars Alexa Vega and Daryl Sabara, along with Antonio Banderas ("Mask of Zorro", "Interview with a Vampire").

Jersey Girl - Jersey Girl is a '90s-era dramatic comedy about a man named Ollie Trinke and the effects a new wife and 6-year-old daughter have on his seemingly already full life. Stars Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck. From Miramax.

September 12
Once Upon a Time in Mexico - Part three of the "El Mariachi" trilogy from director Robert Rodriguez ("Spy Kids"). Antonio Banderas ("Spy Kids" "Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down") again stars as the guitar-slinging hero. Also stars Salma Hayek, along with Ruben Blades, pop star Enrique Iglesias, Willem Dafoe, Johnny Depp, and Mickey Rourke. From Columbia.

Carandiru - Director Hector Babenco ("Kiss of a Spider Woman") delves into the lives of the inmates at Latin America's largest prison, the overcrowded Sao Paulo House of Detention. Released by Sony Pictures Classics.

November 21
Dirty Dancing 2: Havana Nights - The sequel to the original 1987 hit is set in Cuba, on the eve of the revolution. An American rich girl learns new moves from local pool boy Diego Luna ("Y Tu Mama Tambien"). From Artisan.

Honey - This is the story of a tough sexy dancer from the inner city, who becomes a successful music video choreographer. Stars Jessica Alba ("Dark Angel")

Novo - How to fall in love when you're incapable of making new memories or holding on to old ones? Eduardo Noriega stars. From IFC Films.

21 Grams - The story of a woman, her lover and an ex-convict. Starring Benicio Del Toro ("Traffic," "Usual Suspects"), Naomi Watts ("The Ring") and Sean Penn ("Before Night Falls"). Directed by Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu ("Amores Perros").

Imagining Argentina - Set in Buenos Aires during a military junta in the late 1970's, this is the story of an Argentinean playwright (Antonio Banderas) with the psychic ability to see the locations of the missing loved ones of people by looking at their faces. Also stars telenovela heartthrob Kuno Becker and Emma Thompson ("Sense and Sensibility"). From Arenas Entertainment.

About Premiere Weekend Club:
More on Latino films at http://www.premiereweekend.org

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