Film News: 32nd Chicago Latino Film Festival Opens on April 8, 2016 with ‘Illusions S.A.’

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CHICAGO – The 32nd edition of the Chicago Latino Film Festival Kicks Off on Friday, April 8, 2016, with the Mexican film “Illusions S.A.” (“Illusiones S.A.”). All films are at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago.

This year’s festival promises another huge array of films originating from Latino countries all over the world, and runs from April 8th through the 21st. The kick-off film “Illusions S.A.” will be followed by a reception at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Chicago. For details and to purchase tickets click here.

Chicago Latino Film Festival
’Illusions S.A.’ is the Opening Night Film at the 32ndst Chicago Latino Film Festival
Photo credit: Chicago Latino Film Festival

The Opening Night Capsule and the highlights of WEEK ONE are as follows…

StarOPENING NIGHT: “Illusions S.A.”

Starring Jaime Camil (“Jane the Virgin”) and set in Campeche, México in the 1950s, “Illusions S.A.” centers around an agency that turns your deepest fantasies, wishes and even lies into reality. A noble grandfather has, through fictitious letters, lied to his wife about the true nature of his grandson who left their house more than 20 years ago. After the grandson apparently dies when the ship carrying him back to México sinks in the ocean, the firm’s director (Camil) and a recent recruit (Adriana Louvier) take on the mission of posing as the grandson and his wife. But things get out of hand when the real grandson pops up with demands of his own. México. Directed by Roberto Girault. Just the film will screen again at 6:30pm on Saturday, April 9th, and Thursday, April 21st at 7pm.

Friday, April 8th, 6pm

Star”The Similars”

Isaac Ezban follows up his unnervingly original debut “The Incident” (shown at our Festival last year) with this equally trippy homage to the paranoid science-fiction films of the 1950s and 60s. On the rainy night of October 2, 1968, after hundreds of students were massacred by government forces in what became known as the Tlatelolco Massacre, eight characters wait inside an isolated station for the next bus to take them to Mexico City. Suddenly, each character undergoes a slow, unexpected, and mysterious genetic mutation. México. Directed by Isaac Ezban.

Saturday, April 9th, 8:30pm
Monday, April 11th, 8:45pm


Photojournalist Tatiana Fernández Geara’s feature documentary debut explores the sacrifices three Dominican mothers have made to provide for their children. Employed as nannies outside their country, some spend years without seeing their own children, becoming surrogate parents for the ones they are hired to take care of. Back on the island, grandparents and other relatives become surrogate parents of their own. What started out as a master thesis project turned into a heartbreaking and intimate film about motherhood and the immigrant experience. Dominican Republic. Directed by Tatiana Fernández Geara.

Sunday, April 10th, 3:45 pm
Tuesday, April 12th, 7:00 pm


Joe Houlberg makes his feature film debut with this eerie psychological thriller about a fun getaway that turns into a nightmarish ordeal for its protagonists. Twenty-three year-old Sara, visually impaired since the age of 10, and her cousin Carolina leave for the family’s country house for the weekend with their respective boyfriends. Something happened to Sara in that house many years ago, something that will come back and haunt the quartet. They begin to taunt and tease each other until the taunts become more vicious and violent. Ecuador. Directed by Joe Houlberg.

Sunday, April 10th, 6:00 pm
Wednesday, April 13th, 6:45 pm

Star”Murder in Pacot”

Renowned Haitian filmmaker Raoul Peck follows-up “Fatal Assistance,” his 2013 documentary about the January 2010 earthquake that devastated his country, with this claustrophobic, thought-provoking drama about class resentment. Days after the disaster, a group of engineers inform a bourgeois couple that their ruined home must be totally renovated or it will otherwise be razed. The penniless couple reluctantly rent the only livable portion of the villa to a foreign relief worker and Andremise, his 17-year-old Haitian girlfriend who has renamed herself Jennifer to attract foreign prospectors. Her presence will tip over what little stability the couple had left. Haiti/France/Norway. Directed by Raoul Peck.

Sunday, April 10th, 3:15 pm
Monday, April 11th, 6:15 pm


What connects the perfectly preserved remains of a Neanderthal man with the lives of two women? In the case of Catarina, she is the product of a genetic experiment where the DNA of that man was injected into a woman’s egg. For film student Joana, the corpse’s discovery serves as inspiration to a story that contains some eerie parallels to Catarina’s. Starring Ivana Baquero (“Pan’s Labyrinth”), “Gelo” is a mind-bending inquiry into the nature of stories, of reality and of free will. Portugal/Spain. Directed by Gonçalo Galvão Teles and Luís Galvão Teles. Also screening at 6:30pm on Thursday, April 21st.

Wednesday, April 13th, 8:45 pm

Star”From Afar”

Armando, a 50-year-old denture technician with paternal issues (Alfredo Castro, “Tony Manero” and “The Club”), lures young men to his home with the promise of money. He doesn’t want to touch, only to watch them strip from a discreet distance. His first encounter with 17-year-old Elder turns violent but this doesn’t stop Armando from seeking him out. A bond develops between these two very different men but Armando’s family past and Elder’s tough life and his mother’s homophobia soon get in the way. Based on a story idea by producer Guillermo Arriaga and winner of the Venice Film Festival’s Golden Lion (the first Latin American film to win the Festival’s top prize), “From Afar” heralds the arrival of a distinctive voice. Venezuela/México. Directed by Lorenzo Vigas. Also screening at 8:45pm on Friday, April 15th.

Wednesday, April 13th, 9:00 pm


Luciana and Pedro meet at a costume party and, after an impulsive kiss, decide to spend the night together. But this is not your stereotypical one night stand. They both feel a connection and, the following morning, Pedro invites her to join him for the weekend after revealing that he has to leave for a three-week assignment at a biological research station. And so begins a journey that may or may not cement their relationship. Shot in lush black-and-white, this simply-told and beautifully acted story is refreshing, tender and full of heart. Costa Rica. Directed by Paz Fábrega. Also screening at 5:45pm on Saturday, April 16th.

Thursday, April 14th, 8:30pm

The 32nd Chicago Latino Film Festival opens April 8th, 2016, and runs through April 21st. All films at the AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois, Chicago. Click here for full schedules and to purchase tickets. senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Writer, Editorial Coordinator

© 2016 Patrick McDonald,

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