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Chicago Latino Film Festival Announces Opening Night and Centerpiece Screenings

(Last Updated On: March 16, 2022)

The 38th Chicago Latino Film Festival announced today its selections for their Opening Night and Centerpiece screenings at ChiTown Movies Drive-In, 2343 S. Throop St

The Festival opens Thursday, April 21st with Abner Benaim’s heartbreaking tale about Panama’s class and racial divides, Plaza Catedral. The Festival’s Centerpiece selection, Ángeles Cruz’s feature debut, Nudo Mixteco, will screen on Wednesday April 27th. The gates open at 6:30 pm with both films scheduled to start at 7:30 pm. Both films will screen exclusively at the Drive-In. 

Here is your first look at Plaza Catedral…

Benaim’s third film to be selected as Panama’s official entry for the Academy Awards for Best International Feature Film after 2014’s Invasion (an official selection of the 32nd Chicago Latino Film Festival) and Ruben Blades Is Not My Name (2018), Plaza Catedral tells the story of Alicia (Mexican actress Ilse Salas), still in mourning after the death of her six-year-old son in a freak accident and now divorced from Diego (Manolo Cardona), and 13-year-old Alexis, a.k.a. Chief (Fernando Xavier de Casta), who makes a living “taking care” of parked cars. Trained as an architect but now making a living as a real estate agent selling luxurious condos, she meets Chief when she tries to park her car right in front of her building. Days later he appears at her doorstep, bleeding from a gunshot wound. She reluctantly lets him in. What she could not imagine is that   by opening the door to Chief, she would also open the door to an unforeseen emotional bond. Anchored by Salas’ subtle performance and de Casta’s charismatic turn in his first starring role (sadly, he was murdered before receiving the Best Actor award at the Guadalajara Film Festival), Plaza Catedral is a devastating portrait of the divide between the haves and have nots.

In Nudo Mixteco, Ángeles Cruz intertwines the stories of three Mixtec women determined to take control of their lives as the residents of their fictional town of San Mateo gather to celebrate their patron saint. María returns to San Mateo to bury her mother and ask her childhood love Piedad to leave with her. Esteban returns to the village after three years to discover that his wife Chabela is living with another woman and demands that a community tribunal prosecute her. Toña wants to rescue her daughter from her abusive uncle. Nudo Mixteco’s poignant tales of migration, poverty and sexual identity introduces audiences to a community and a culture whose stories are seldom told on the big screen.

“Since the beginning, the Chicago Latino Film Festival has showcased films that speak to the experiences of marginalized communities across the Americas, particularly Indigenous and Afro-Latino communities. These two selections, Plaza Catedral and Nudo Mixteco, portray them and the hurdles they face, from within and without, with honesty and empathy,” said Pepe Vargas, founder and executive director of the International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago.

Produced by the International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago, the 38th Chicago Latino Film Festival, April 21st-May 1st, will showcase films from all over Latin America, Spain, Portugal and the United States. The Festival will once again adopt a hybrid format with in-person screenings at the Landmark Century Center, 2828 N. Clark St., several Drive-In presentations at ChiTown Movies, 2343 S. Throop St., and with virtual screenings via Eventive accessible to residents of Illinois and the Midwest states of Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana. 

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