• A still from "La Yuma," screening on September 13
    A still from "La Yuma," screening on September 13

The Spanish Department, along with the student groups Sigma Delta Pi (the Spanish honor society) and Latinos Unidos, are hosting a film festival Sept. 6-Oct. 4 that will feature five films from Spanish-speaking countries.

The theme of the film festival is “Cinematic Sexuality / Sexualidad cinemática:  A Transnational Spanish Film Festival.” The theme was picked to go along with Southwestern’s 2013 Brown Symposium, which will focus on sexuality.

The festival is being made possible through a grant from Pragda, the Secretary of State for Culture of Spain, and its Program for Cultural Cooperation with universities in the United States. 

The films will be shown in Olin 105 from 8-10 p.m. on Thursday nights beginning Sept. 6.  The films and the dates on which they will be shown are as follows:

Sept. 6: “El niño pez” (“The Fish Child,” Argentina, 2011). Writer-director Lucía Puenzo follows up her 2007 award-winning film “XXY” with this steamy tale of star-crossed love set on both sides of the class divide in South America. Lala (Inés Efron) is the privileged teenage daughter of a powerful judge, and she’s fallen hard for her family’s maid, La Guayi (singer Mariela Vitale, making her feature-film debut). The two women plot to escape Buenos Aires and live together on the remote shores of Paraguay’s Lake Ypoá. Before they can carry out their plan, Lala’s father is murdered and she runs away from home and heads toward Guayi’s village in Paraguay, hoping that her lover will follow. While in Paraguay, she begins to explore Guayi’s troubled past. Meanwhile, Guayi is detained in a juvenile detention center in the outskirts of Buenos Aires. She turns out to be hiding a crime from long ago. The film features an appearance by the Paraguayan musical group the Potrankos.

Sept. 13: “La Yuma” (Nicaragua, 2009). Nicaragua’s first full-length feature in 20 years, “La Yuma” tells the story of a young woman who dreams of transcending her bleak life in the slums of Managua by becoming a boxer. Looking beyond the meager possibilities that seem available to her (and ignoring the advice of her gang-member friends), she finds solace and hope in her training and falls in love with a middle-class journalism student. The film offers a rare opportunity to get a glimpse of everyday life in Nicaragua.

Sept. 20:  “A contracorriente” (“Undertow,” Perú, 2010). In this film, director Javier Fuentes León looks at what it means to be a man in contemporary Peru. The story centers around Miguel, a young and handsome fisherman who lives with his beautiful pregnant wife in Cabo Blanco, a small traditional fishing village in Northern Peru. What nobody knows is that Miguel is also having a passionate affair with Santiago, a painter who is ostracized from the community due to his sexuality and agnostic views. When Santiago drowns accidentally in the ocean’s strong undertow, Miguel’s scandalous secret forces him to make an important choice that could cause him to lose the people he loves the most. “Undertow” examines the complicated intersection of manhood, masculinity, sexuality and tradition.

Sept. 27:  “Zona sur” (Bolivia, 2011). La Paz’s Zona Sur neighborhood is Bolivia’s most exclusive enclave and has housed the country’s affluent elite for generations. Here, in an adobe-tile-roofed castle, a statuesque matriarch reigns over her spoiled offspring and indigenous servants. Social change, however unwelcome, is on its way. As the mother squabbles with her self-indulgent, oversexed teenage son and clashes with her petulant daughter, her 6-year-old boy wanders the rooftops unsupervised. The scent of impending decline permeates the air, and the threat of aristocratic privileges quickly changing hands heralds a new era in a seemingly interminable class war.

Oct. 4: “Chico y Rita” (Spain, 2012). Oscar®-winning director Fernando Trueba and Barcelona designer and artist Javier Mariscal have teamed up to make this animated love story starring the music, culture and people of Cuba. Chico is a dashing piano player and Rita is an enchanting and beautiful Havana nightclub singer. When they meet, the sparks fly and they fall madly in love. An epic romance unfolds as the pair travels the glamorous stages of 1940s/1950s Havana, New York City, Las Vegas, Hollywood and Paris. The soundtrack for the movie features the music of jazz legends such as Thelonious Monk, Cole Porter, Dizzy Gillespie and Freddy Cole (brother of Nat King Cole) performed by a range of contemporary singers.