South and Central American filmmakers continue to direct and produce some of the finest movies. You can expect exciting, thought-provoking films topped with beautiful cinematography. It’s been difficult to pick from such a wealth of talent, but here’s our pick of the best films of 2017.
Director: Fernando León de Aranoa
With the massive success of the TV series Narcos, the fascination with the enigmatic Pablo Escobar continues to grow. Loving Pablo is based on the book by Escobar’s mistress Virginia Vallejo and explores the rise and fall of the drug lord from a different perspective. After the TV journalist meets Escobar, she quickly falls for his charm and charisma, but this is short lived as she begins to understand the destructive side of the cocaine kingpin.
Una mujer fantástica
Director: Sebastían Lelio
Una Mujer Fantástica (A Fantastic Woman) follows the story of Marina, a transgender woman whose boyfriend accidently dies when having an aneurism and falling down the stairs. After taking him to hospital, she tries to flee the glare of his family who disapprove of their relationship, but is forced to clear her name and regain respect when accusations are brought to her by a detective from the Sexual Offenses Investigation Unit.
Director: Violeta Ayala
Two Bolivian teenagers are drawn into the drug trade with the promise of money which they want to use to start a band. After being caught smuggling 2 kilos of cocaine across the border, they’re sent to the infamous San Sebastian. With few guards in the open-air prison, it’s run by the inmates. The film follows the struggle of the two teenagers who desperately look for a way to shorten their sentence against all odds. Interestingly, the film was created by giving the cameras to real prisoners, offering a unique perspective into their world.
Director: Lucrecia Martel
Zama transports viewers back to the lives of those in 18th century South America. It follows the story of Don Diego de Zama, a government clerk who lives in what is now Paraguay. The film follows the strained relationship with the other European colonists and the indigenous people. The lack of contact with his wife and children leads Zama to become increasingly paranoid and hostile.
Sergio & Serguéi
Director: Ernesto Daranas Serrano
While much is known about the dissolution of the Soviet Union, far few know about the impact this had on Cuba. Much of the Caribbean Island’s economic support came from the USSR, and its loss hit the country hard. Sergio & Serguéi follows the story of the cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev who spent 4 months longer than expected in orbit while his country went through its turbulent time. Sergio is an amateur radio operator in Cuba who develops an unlikely friendship which leads to profound consequences.
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