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November 8-14, 2006

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Armed to film: The women of Carmen record their lives in 'Maquilapolis.'

Wide Angle

The Latino Film Festival unreels on almost a score of screens in the Bay Area

By Richard von Busack

MOST OF A hemisphere and half of Europe—that's the stomping grounds of the 10th International Latino Film Festival. The festival's latitude is so wide that it is screening, in Larkspur, Like a Fish Out of Water, which is also playing at the San Jose Jewish Film Fest this week (the plot: Argentine boy meets Jewish girl). The two-week Latino festival sprawls over nearly 20 venues from UC-Berkeley to Santana Row's Consuelo Mexican Bistro; while it spreads out wider next week, the Latino Festival offers five films in our precincts this week.

First up: Lalo Guerrero: The Original Chicano by Nancy de los Santos (Nov 10, 6pm, at San Jose's MACLA). O, rare Guerrero: born in 1916 in Tucson's Barrio Viejo, the singer/songwriter's 70-year career connected the era of Lola Beltran to Los Lobos. Guerrero may be best known to gueros as the composer of the Dr. Demento-friendly 1955 "The Ballad of Pancho Lopez" ("King of Olivera Street"), an answer record to the inescapable 1950s megahit "The Ballad of Davy Crockett." But Luis Valdez included Guerrero's songs in Zoot Suit, and the musician's "El Corrido de Delano" became an anthem of the farmworkers movement. Interviewees include Cheech Marin and Edward James Olmos. It's co-billed with Orozco: Man of Fire, a documentary on the world-famous muralist. (Wait, was the title of that lousy Denzel Washington thriller supposed to refer to Orozco's mural in Guadalajara? Now I get it.)

The Nov. 10, 8:30pm, show at MACLA features Magaly Solier as Madeinusa, a girl of a Peruvian village. The custom in her hamlet is that sin doesn't exist between Good Friday and Easter morning; during the riotous carnival annually held during these days, she meets a geologist from Lima and decides to see the big city. Claudia Llosa directed this Sundance 2006 favorite.

On Nov. 14, the festival shifts to the Martin Luther King Jr. Library for a 6pm show of Maquilapolis (City of Factories), Vicki Funari and Sergio de la Torre's documentary about Carmen, a poisoned and exploited NAFTA casualty, living in the border interzone. Carmen and other women like her were trained in the use of digital cameras to record their lives. She and the other novice filmmakers confront the companies that paid them as little as $6 a day, even as these same manufacturers are heading overseas in search of far cheaper labor.

On the following night at the MLK Library (Nov. 15, 6pm), the festival screens State of Fear (2005). Pamela Yates' documentary follows 35 years of uprisings in Peru, including the formation of the Shining Path, the government crackdown and the reign of terror that followed—and, finally, the epic kleptocracy of the Fujimori government.

Next week's lineup includes eight films at the CinéArts in Santana Row and the Century 20 in Redwood City, including a gala event at the newly restored Old County Courthouse in Redwood City and a wrap-up Fin de Fiesta at Santana Row.

Movie Times The International Latino Film Festival runs through Nov. 19 at various venues. See for details.

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