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Central America and Caribbean

Cinco dias sin Nora (2009)
Mariana Chenillo
Mexico
92′
Before dying, Nora devises a plan to make José, ex-husband, take care of her funeral. But she misses something-the only flaw in the plan, a mysterious photograph left under the bed, will lead to an unexpected outcome that will remind us that sometimes the greatest love stories are hidden in the smallest places.
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Detachment (2011)
Tony Kaye
United States
98′
A chronicle of three weeks in the lives of several high school teachers, administrators and students through the eyes of substitute teacher, Henry Barthes. Henry roams from school to school, imparting modes of knowledge, but never staying long enough to form any semblance of sentient attachment.
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La muerte de un burocrata (1966)
Tomás Gutiérrez Alea
Cuba
84′
The story begins with the death of a model worker, who is buried with his labor card as a badge of honor. However, his widow is told she needs that card to claim the benefits she is entitled. The story then takes several surreal turns, as the family of the dead man try to recover the precious card from the grave.
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Madagascar (1994)
Fernando Pérez
Cuba
48′
"I dream exactly what I live every day," a professor, bored with her mundane life, tells her therapist. But the visual evidence on screen at the start of "Madagascar" suggests that dreams are never that banal. Bicyclists crowd the street, riding to work in slow motion in a haunting, shadowy blue dawn. The 50-minute "Madagascar" has the resonance and eloquence of the best poetry, as it deftly turns an adolescent's search for identity into a metaphor for post-revolutionary Cuba. Laura is a professor at a shabby, stultifying college. Her daughter, Laurita, stops going to school, wishes to move to Madagascar and quickly races through several phases. One day, she looks like a heavy-metal fan, another like a bohemian who weeps at poetry and art. Slowly, she crosses the line from ordinary adolescent confusion to intense neurosis and beyond, finally becoming so obsessed with religion and good works that she brings 10 homeless children into the cramped house she shares with her mother and grandmother. The film's director, Fernando Perez, creates graceful scenes linked by the merest narrative thread. His compressed episodes make it clear that Laura and Laurita, pre- and post-revolutuonary women, share a desperate search for some purpose in life. When Laura looks wistfully at a photograph of herself in May 1969, it is a rare reference to her political dreams, yet Mr. Perez has created an extraordinary meditation on the lost promise of youth and revolution. (Caryn James, in The New York Times)
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Toula ou le génie des eaux (1973)
Moustapha Alassane
Niger
72′
The gods have declared the drought of the country. There seems to be no hope. A holy man summoned by the king requires the sacrifice of a young woman to put an end to their anger. A young man in love decides to go in search of water to save the girl from a tragic end, but when he returns with good news it's too late: the genie had his satisfaction and Toula has already disappeared in the holy swamp.
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Ultimos dias en La Habana (2016)
Fernando Pérez
Cuba
93′
Diego and Miguel are both in their mid-forties. They are living in a dilapidated apartment in central Havana without running water or any modern amenities. Miguel earns his money washing dishes in a privately run restaurant; he, his family and neighbours also care for Diego, who is bedridden on account of his HIV infection. While Diego tries to maintain his joie de vivre, Miguel becomes increasingly withdrawn. Only the two of them know about Miguel’s secret: he is planning to emigrate to the USA and is just waiting for his visa. When Diego’s condition deteriorates he is forced to go into hospital and leaves his room to his niece Yusi. When Miguel’s visa finally arrives it’s time for some surprising decisions - and not just for him. Writer, documentary filmmaker and director Fernando Pérez has based his screenplay on the lives of the inhabitants of a tenement building. The resulting film presents a vibrant kaleidoscope of emotions. Unfolding in tranquil images, this story of an unusual friendship also provides an insight into a culture in transition that requires constant flexibility and incredible optimism. A declaration of love to the Cuban capital and its inhabitants.
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