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en tu Idioma” Festival Restores vision to those blinded by summer cinema doldrums


ust in time to restore vision to those blinded by the summer cinema doldrums, the San Diego Latino Film Festival’s annu- al “Cinema en tu Idioma” series showcases new Latin American, Mexican, and Spanish Cinema. From the people who two summers ago brought us “Tony Manero,” one of the darkest and most pleasingly disturbing self-reflexive cinema-politco black comedies it’s ever been my pleasure to experience, comes another crop of films not likely to pass this way (at least on the big screen) again.

Designed with an eye toward smaller films from the festival cir- cuit, and a something-to-please- everyone attitude (after all, it is summer), “Cinema en tu Idioma XII” is poised to once again trans- form the UltraStar Mission Valley Cinemas at Hazard Center into a week-long mini-film festival. The series runs from Aug. 5 – 11, with additional monthly screenings through November.

The series title, which literally translates into “film in your lan- guage,” was originally intended


of comfort, touching on issues such as womanhood and mental illness. “Manic,” for instance, asserts that one has no control over one’s own life and contains a bizarre little story typed on a frenetic, multi-colored yet gor- geous background, while “Blue Anger” shows a woman in shades of black and blue screaming out against a blood-red backdrop. That same black and blue also features in Nelson-Rodriguez’s other paintings, such as “Insan- ity” and “Chemical Imbalance.” Most startling and revealing is her self portrait, titled “Blue Me.” (She also has happier painting so don’t be concerned!) A graduate of several art schools, L. Frank speaks for the disenfranchised through art. Wolves, which jump out from the

as a spoof on Landmark Theatres’ old “the language of cinema” ad campaign.

The August offerings include

a romcom starring Eva Longoria and Christian Slater (“Without Men”), a teen coming-of-ager (“All She Can”), Bigas Lunas’ tale of an aspiring Hollywood star (“Di Di Hollywood”), a hard R-rated cop melodrama (“Blue Eyes”), a drama centered around four men who meet up at a fleabag Hollywood hotel (“When the Road Meets the Sun”), and a father/son relationship ripped apart by the murder of the child’s mother (“Forged”). Without having seen all this year’s entries, there’s half a movie and one of this year’s most complex characterizations to be found in “Blue Eyes.” The darkest, far-reaching, and easily most personal performance you are likely to see at this year’s Latino Film Festival series comes courtesy of a 66-year-old white guy from St. Louis. Even where I come from (and in spite of his accomplishments) David Rasche is far from a house-

walls in bright reds and oranges, the acrylic paint seeming to shim- mer and howl, are a favorite motif. Perhaps the exhibit’s pièce de

résistance, however, are the works of Billy Soza Warsoldier, who favors very black backgrounds on which oil colors applied with a palette knife or straight from the tube stand out. One series is a tribute to the Gaan spirit of his Apache culture, illustrating ceremonial dancers in various moods, and his diptych, “Moun- tain Spirit at Night with Campfire,” is both surreal and serene. Yet his most colorful achievement is the series he finished during a stint in prison, when, restricted to ink, pencil and paper, he created two gorgeous explosions of color in contrast to two subdued, mostly black and white, drawings. The se- ries, an outlet for his anger due to injustices endured by his people, is arresting and bold.

At the end of the show is a Journeyman character actor David Rasche stars with sizzling newcomer Cristina Lago in “Blue Eyes.” (Courtesy Imagen Filmes)

hold name. The character actor assumed John Belushi’s spot at Chicago’s Second City when the comedian headed east to join the cast of SNL. In 1974, Rasche was one of the co-founders of the world-renowned Victory Gardens Theatre, now located in the equally illustrious Biograph Theatre, the backdrop for John Dilinger’s last picture show. One glance at his face, and it’s a cinch that several of his multitu- dinous television and movie char- acters will immediately spring to mind. In my case, it’s Robert Wellesly, Libby Wolfson’s political nemesis in the “Melonvote” epi- sode of SCTV. He made his film

see Festival, page 20

classic belt depicting five Arctic shamans with spirit helpers in the act of transformation, a process all too familiar to Native Ameri- cans over the centuries. This quartet of artists gives voice to the Native American struggle, each in his or her own way. The exhibit continues through Sept. 5. At the Mingei International Museum, 1439 El Prado, Balboa Park. For more information, call (619) 239-0003 or visit

San Diego Uptown News | Aug. 5–18, 2011


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