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International Cinema

¡Globalquerque! and the National Hispanic Cultural Center are excited to announce the 2016 selections for the 3rd Annual International Cinema Series, taking place throughout September at the NHCC in Albuquerque as part of month-long ¡Globalquerque! events, culminating in the festival itself on September 23 and 24. The ICS kicks off September 1 with the Spanish/Colombian drama "Embrace The Serpent."

All films screen at the National Hispanic Cultural Center Bank of America Theatre at 7 PM unless otherwise noted.  All films are free.

International Cinema Series 2016 Schedule

Sept 1: "Embrace of the Serpent" (2015, Spain/Colombia)
Sept. 8: "The Owl and The Sparrow" (2007, Vietnam)
Sept. 14 (NOTE: Wednesday screening): "The Farewell Party/Mita Tova" (2014, Israel)
Sept. 22: "Mongol: The Rise of Genghis Khan" (2008, Russia/Mongolia)
Sept. 24 (12 PM screening during the ¡Globalquerque! Free Global Fiesta): "Benda Bilili!" (2010, Democratic Republic of Congo/France)
Sept. 24 (2 PM screening during the ¡Globalquerque! Free Global Fiesta): "Favela Rising" (2005, Brazil/USA)
Sept. 29: "The Dark Horse" (2014, New Zealand)


Embrance of the SerpentSeptember 1, 7 PM
"Embrace of the Serpent" (2015, Spain/Colombia)
Director: Ciro Guerra
125 Minutes

At once blistering and poetic, the ravages of colonialism cast a dark shadow over the South American landscape in "Embrace of the Serpent," the third feature by Ciro Guerra. Filmed in stunning black-and-white, “Serpent” centers on Karamakate, an Amazonian shaman and the last survivor of his people, and the two scientists who, over the course of 40 years, build a friendship with him. The film was inspired by the real-life journals of two explorers (Theodor Koch-Grünberg and Richard Evans Schultes) who traveled through the Colombian Amazon during the last century in search of the sacred and difficult-to-find psychedelic Yakruna plant.

2016 Oscar Nominee: Best Foreign Language Film
2015 Cannes Film Festival Art Cinema Award

"'Embrace of the Serpent' is the type of film we're always searching for, yet seems so obvious once we've found it.” ***** —Guardian (UK)

"Creating this kind of otherworldly mood takes exceptional talent, and this is a film worth experiencing.” —San Francisco Chronicle

"Like Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness (and the movie it inspired, 'Apocalypse Now'), the drama examines the idea of progress and what it means to be civilized.” —Washington Post

“A fantastical mixture of myth and historical reality, shatters lingering illusions of first-world culture as more advanced than any other, except technologically.” —New York Times

"A visually mesmerizing exploration of man, nature and the destructive powers of colonialism.” —Hollywood Reporter

"It is gripping, challenging, engrossing stuff, beginning to end. Seriously, what a film.” —Detroit News


The Owl and The SparrowSeptember 8, 7 PM
"The Owl and The Sparrow" (2007, Vietnam)
Director: Stephane Gauger
97 Minutes

"The Owl and The Sparrow" follows a young girl who refusing to surrender her optimism despite difficult circumstances brings two unlikely strangers together in this comedy drama from Vietnam. Thuy is an orphan who, after the death of her parents, has been sent to live with her uncle Tran Le Minh. Tran runs a company that processes bamboo, and he puts Thuy to work in his factory, where's she puts in long hours and is treated poorly by her uncle and his associates. Convinced life has better things to offer, Thuy runs away to Saigon, and she soon makes friends with a handful of plucky fellow orphans who survive on the street and look out for one another. Thuy supports herself by selling flowers, and during her rounds she meets Hai, a friendly zookeeper who is looking after a baby elephant that is soon to be sold. Thuy and her friends meet every day at a diner where a boy serves the kids soup; another regular at the restaurant is Lan, a stewardess who takes a liking to Thuy and lets the girl stay with her when she's in town on layover. Thuy senses that Lan is lonely, much like Hai, and she decides that with a little intervention on her part, Hai and Lan might make a good couple and she could become their adopted daughter. However, Thuy soon learns that matchmaking is a more challenging task than she realized.

Los Angeles Film Festival Audience Award Winner

“[Director] Stephane Gauger... brings a tonic freshness to his simple, even simple-minded tale of a plucky orphan, Thuy (Pham Thi Han), playing cupid in Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon.” —New York Times

“What [director] Gauger has created is a quietly affecting fairy tale.” —Los Angeles Times

“Stephane Gauger's keenly observed debut feature, 'The Owl and The Sparrow,' takes vérité-style filmmaking to the streets of Saigon. With a captivating central performance by 10-year-old newcomer Pham Thi Han and an empathetic storyline depicting the ordeals of urban alienation, 'The Owl and The Sparrow' should nest comfortably on a strategically positioned specialty theatrical slate.” —Film Journal International

“Sentimental without being cloying, the film is a charmer, just like the gravely wide-eyed Pham.” —Time Out


The Farewell PartySeptember 14 (NOTE: Wednesday screening), 7 PM
"The Farewell Party (Mita Tova)" (2014, Israel)    
Directors: Tal Granit & Sharon Maymon
95 Minutes

"The Farewell Party" tackles an extremely sensitive issue in a vibrant, humorous way. Well into their 70s, Yehezkel and his wife Levana are living contented lives inside a Jerusalem retirement home. But they are shocked when their dear friend Max falls prey to an irreversible illness. Looking to escape a slow, painful death, Max asks Yehezkel for help to end his suffering.

A longtime amateur inventor, Yehezkel rises to the challenge by constructing a machine that will allow Max to self-administer a fatal dose of tranquilizers. Levana, however, believes that such a device is immoral, and expresses her passionate disapproval. But when Levana herself begins to face a serious health issue, Yehezkel finds that his feelings about his new contraption become increasingly complicated.

Winner of 4 Ophir Awards (the Israeli Oscars), including Best Actor for Ze'ev Revach
14 Ophir Nominations, including Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Actress

"'The Farewell Party' not only thinks the unthinkable, it laughs at the unlaughable. A comically delicate balance to the end." —Los Angeles Times

“A bittersweet, wryly comic, keenly observed look at senescence from Israeli directors Sharon Maymon and Tal Granit.” —Boston Globe

“I can't recall any film ever making me laugh and cry in complete comic and dramatic balance like 'The Farewell Party.'” —Minneapolis Star-Tribune

"A terrific ensemble cast." —The Philadelphia Inquirer

“Hands down the best euthanasia comedy ever made.” —Patriot Ledger


Mongol posterSeptember 22, 7 PM
"Mongol: The Rise of Genghis Khan" (2008, Russia/Mongolia)
Director: Sergey Bodrov  
126 Minutes

Award-winning Russian filmmaker Sergei Bodrov illuminates the life and legend of Genghis Khan in his stunning historical epic, "Mongol." Based on leading scholarly accounts, "Mongol" delves into the dramatic and harrowing early years of the ruler who was born as Temudgin in 1162.  As it follows Temudgin from his perilous childhood to the battle that sealed his destiny, the film paints a multidimensional portrait of the future conqueror, revealing him not as the evil brute of hoary stereotype, but as an inspiring, fearless and visionary leader. Mongol shows us the making of an extraordinary man, and the foundation on which so much of his greatness rested: his relationship with his wife, Borte, his lifelong love and most trusted advisor.  Bodrov conjures up authenticity through detailed costumes, Mongolian dialogue, and remote Central Asian locations.

2008 Oscar Nominee: Best Foreign Language Film

“'Mongol,' from its thrilling battles to its intimate romance, has the look, scale, story and feel of an old-fashioned epic in the best and biggest sense of the word.” ***** —Miami Herald

“There are plenty of haunting landscapes... along with the sort of warfare scenes that define epics, but also an unexpected take on one of history's most fearsome leaders.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“The action sequences here are first-rate, the performances are uniformly excellent, the cinematography as good as I've seen in any film this year.” —Richard Roeper, "Ebert & Roeper"

“'Mongol' is a sweeping and quasi-mythical epic that recalls 'Lawrence of Arabia.'” —USA Today

“History's greatest subjugator finally gets the respect he deserves with a no-nonsense drama and an all-Asian cast, shot in the very lands he once ravaged.” —Seattle Post-Intelligencer


Benda BililiSeptember 24, 12 PM
(during ¡Globalquerque! 2016 Free Global Fiesta! A World of Culture!)
"Benda Bilili!" (2010, Democratic Republic of Congo/France)  
Directors: Renaud Barrett & Florent de La Tullaye
85 Minutes

"Benda Bilili!" follows an unlikely group of musicians in Kinshasa, capital of the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo. The band, Staff Benda Bilili—in English, "look beyond"—is a group of street musicians composed of four paraplegics and three able-bodied men. The core of the group is four singer/guitarists disabled by polio, who use customized tricycles to get around: Ricky, the eldest and a co-founding member of the band; Coco, the band's composer and co-founding member with Ricky; Junana, the member most disabled by polio, yet the official choreographer; and Coude, a bass player and soprano singer. Joining them is a young and entirely acoustic rhythm section, led by Roger, a teenage prodigy on the satonge, a one-string guitar he designed and built himself out of a tin can. French film directors Florent de la Tullaye and Renaud Barret encountered the extraordinary group in 2004 as they played their music on homemade instruments in the area around the Kinshasa Zoo and began documenting the band's struggles to survive—through music—in the volatile city. The result is an exuberant film that follows the band's journey from the streets to the world's stages. Benda Bilili! is not a music film, it's the story of a dream that became reality. And a plunge into the streets of Kinshasa without a safety net.

2011 Les Etoiles d’Or Du Cinema, France: Best Documentary

“Benda Bilili! earns its exclamation point. It's a feel-good movie that actually makes you feel good, a story that will have you shaking your head in astonishment and moving your feet to some unstoppable rhythms.” — Los Angeles Times

"Benda Bilili! is brutally real, a document of willpower that shows not only the magic of transcendence - which may be fleeting - but also the transformation of aspiring to it, every struggling step of the way.” — New York Times

“From out of the gloom comes the hypnotic grooves of a band called Staff Benda Bilili. The name means 'look beyond appearances,' and the members of this remarkable musical collective do just that.” —Toronto Star


Favela RisingSeptember 24, 2 PM
(during ¡Globalquerque! 2016 Free Global Fiesta! A World of Culture!)
"Favela Rising" (2005, Brazil/USA)
Director: Matt Mochary & Jeff Zimbalist
80 Minutes

"Favela Rising" documents a man and a movement, a city divided and a favela (Brazilian squatter settlement) united. Haunted by the murders of his family and many of his friends, Anderson Sá is a former drug-trafficker who turns social revolutionary in Rio de Janeiro's most feared slum. Through hip-hop music, the rhythms of the street, and Afro-Brazilian dance he rallies his community to counteract the violent oppression enforced by teenage drug armies and sustained by corrupt police.

At the dawn of liberation, just as collective mobility is overcoming all odds and Anderson's grassroots Afro Reggae movement is at the height of its success, a tragic accident threatens to silence the movement forever.

Tribeca Film Festival: Best Emerging Documentary Filmmaker
NY Latino Film festival: Best Documentary
International Documentary Association: Best Feature 2005

"...A powerful new documentary [that] has revolutionized cinema..." —SPIN magazine

"...A worthy contender for best documentary feature... Embued with Passion..." —New York Times

"...Undeniably seductive. Poetic and compelling. Captures both the horror and the beauty. Startling..." —Boston Globe

"...Vibrant, memorable and significant. High energy. Remarkable story of human transformation..." —Los Angeles Times

"...An important reminder of how human beings can unite to effect grass-roots social change..." —BBC


The Dark Horse posterSeptember 29, 7 PM
"The Dark Horse" (2014, New Zealand)
Director: James Napier Robertson
124 Minutes

"The Dark Horse" is based on the true story of Genesis "Gen" Potini (Cliff Curtis), a Maori speed-chess champion seeking redemption and a new purpose in life despite his struggles with bipolar disorder. A former chess prodigy, Gen is brilliant and charismatic, bringing unusual, potent energy to a game most often played with quiet reserve. Upon his release from an institution, he is remanded into the custody of his older brother Ariki (Wayne Hapi), the leader of a rough street gang planning the initiation of Gen's reluctant teenage nephew Mana (James Rolleston). When Gen volunteers to coach the ragtag young members of the Eastern Knights chess club, Mana is inspired by his uncle's determination to bring hope to the children of the club and turn his troubled life around, while seeing it as a chance to possibly save his own.

"There are heroes to root for in "The Dark Horse," and you'll feel mostly good about humanity walking out the door.” —San Francisco Chronicle

"If there were any justice in the Academy Awards, Curtis would be a front runner for Best Actor for this 'Raging Bull'-level performance.” —Boston Herald

"The movie's portrayal of the complex dynamic involving the brothers and Mana conveys a potentially explosive mixture of fear, love and anger.” —New York Times


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