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Movies with a Flare

A look at the 9th Festival íCine Latino!

With the world on the edge of something frightening and confusion surrounding us like dust, a movie might just be what you need to get your mind off the matters at hand (especially when all you've been doing is watching CNN for eight hours). The perfect remedy for news overdosing can be found at !Cine Latino!; with its myriad of shorts, features and documentaries the festival has a great deal from which to choose.

There are several special programs that delve into issues particular to the Latin world that you won't find at any other fest. For example, Voices of our Ancestors explores mysticism and religion. Shorts from this segment include "Havana Witch Club", about a 'gringa' who's been touched by magic while on a trip to Cuba, and "Spirit Doctors" which follows three female healers.

Screening on Mexican Independence Day is the Mexican Short program which features the shorts "Malos Habitos" about a nun and priest doing the nasty and 'Los Zapatos de Zapata" in which the cultural impact of the peoples' hero Emiliano Zapata is explored through testimonials, animation and historical footage.

The Cantos del Alma is a series of shorts that focus on queer Latino identity such as: the touching "De Colores" by Peter Barbosa and Garrett Lenoir in which various queers recount their experiences with being both GLBT and Latino through candid interviews; Luna Luis Ortiz's "Luv Me Latex" a cut-and-paste animated call for safe sex; "Your Denim Shirt" by Samuel Rodriguez, a lyrical anecdote about how we find comfort in every day things like personal belongings; "The Tampon Thieves" by Jorge Lozano, a comical look at women's monthly business; and Luna Luis Ortiz's "Out on the Scene" about AIDS awareness. The Latino Shorts program offers local Director Jonathan Parra's "Dogs Make Great Pets", a comedy about man's best friend among others.

There are also a variety of documentaries being offered this year like Passages, a journal-like documentary by filmmaker Gabriel Bohm who tracks her travels around Israel, South America, Eastern Europe and the U.S. while embarking on a personal discovery of her family and In Cane for Life directed by Jorge Wolney Atalla about the struggles, dreams and tribulations of Brazilian sugar cane workers during the six-month harvest.

A retrospective of work from Brazilian cult horror filmmaker Josi Mojica Marins (aka Coffin Joe) includes such ghastly delights as At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul and the psychedelic trip Awakening of the Beast both of which contain Marins own brand of terror with lots of drugs, satanic worship, cannibalism, necrophilia and torture. Another treat is the opening film The Bronze Screen: 100 Years of the Latino Image in American Cinema, which, as the self-explanatory title indicates, pays homage to the great, and many times overlooked, stars of the silver screen, like: Rita Hayworth; Cesar Romero; Raquel Welch; Lupe Onteveros and Edward Olmos along with many others.

If these don't take you to another place then nothing save highly illegal debauchery will. Why not try a bit of both? Take a break from your regular fare and check out íCine Latino!.