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Top Latin American films to be showcased during April festival


"The Violin"
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"The Violin," a 2006 Mexican film directed by Francisco Vargas about humble farmer-musicians who surreptitiously support a homegrown guerrilla movement, is among the films featured in the festival.

Melissa Mitchell, News Editor

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Some of the best new films from Latin America will be screened locally during the second annual Latin American Film Festival April 4-10.

The festival is organized by the University of Ilinois’ Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies with collaboration and support from Boardman’s Art Theater. All screenings will take place at the theater, 126 W. Church St., Champaign. Tickets, priced at the theater’s standard rates, will be available for sale at the box office in advance of each showing.

Films featured this year are “The Violin,” a 2006 Mexican film directed by Francisco Vargas about humble farmer-musicians who surreptitiously support a homegrown guerrilla movement; “Cocalero,” a 2007 documentary on the grassroots campaign of Bolivian president Evo Morales that is the directorial debut of Alejandro Landes; “The Aura,” a 2005 thriller directed by the Argentine filmmaker Fabián Bielinsky, who died in 2006; “Alice’s House,” a 2007 film about domestic drama by Brazilian director Chico Teixeira; and “Madeinusa,” Peruvian director Claudia Llosa’s depiction of how life in a remote mountain suddenly changes with the arrival of an outsider.

“All of the films have been awarded prestigious national and international prizes and have never been shown in commercial movie theaters locally,” said festival coordinator Angelina Cotler, the U. of I. center’s associate director.

Cotler said the festival was designed to appeal not only to university students and faculty and staff members but also to the community – “with the goal of strengthening and disseminating knowledge of the cultural diversity and creativity of the Latin American region.”

“Given the increased importance of the region and the Spanish and Portuguese languages for U.S. society and culture, a film festival of this nature will benefit the community and the university by offering representations and portraits of different cultural, political and social phenomena in Latin America,” Cotler said.

Films will be screened throughout the week on the following rotation:

April 4: “The Violin,” 7:30 p.m.; “Cocalero,” 9:45 p.m.

April 5: “The Aura,” 5 p.m.; “Alice’s House,” 8 p.m.; “Madeinusa,” 10:10 p.m.

April 6: “Cocalero,” 6:30 p.m.; “The Violin,” 8:50 p.m.

April 7: “Alice’s House,” 6:30 p.m.; “Madeinusa,” 8:50 p.m.

April 8, “Madeinusa,” 6 p.m.; “The Aura,” 8:15 p.m.

April 9, “The Violin,” 6:30 p.m., “Cocalero,” 8:45 p.m.

April 10: “The Aura,” 6 p.m.; “Alice’s House, 8:55 p.m.

More information about the festival, including a printable schedule and movie trailers, is available online at