Azougue Nazaré (Brazil)
Brazilian writer-director Tiago Melo debuts his first feature and keeps it close to home, setting it in the northern state of Pernambuco where Taio, the main character, has to battle to keep his Maracatu roots as his Christian wife and the town’s evangelical pastor believe his cultural heritage and its strong ties to the dark days of slavery are an embarrassment and should be eradicated to make room for their God.
Pájaros de Verano (Colombia)
While many Spanish movie titles have unrelated translations into English, this film’s title was adjusted only slightly when translated into Birds of Passage (the more accurate translation is Birds of Summer). Nothing, however, is lost in translation in the brutal depiction of director Ciro Guerra’s country, Colombia. His film showcases a family of farmers who becomes caught in the middle of a drug trafficking scheme, an industry that offers many humble Colombian families who have few opportunities a false sense of security and success.
Set in Petrópolis, just outside bustling Rio de Janeiro, this film from director Gustavo Pizzi is about a tight-knit family of six living a modest yet rewarding lifestyle, with parents who work as booksellers to make ends meet. Suddenly, when their eldest son Fernando is given the opportunity to play handball for a professional team in Germany, his parents, especially his mother, have to deal with the departure of their son much earlier than they had anticipated.
La Quietud (Argentina)
Argentine director Pablo Trapero co-wrote, alongside Alberto Rojas Apel, and directed this thriller, a follow-up to his box office hit The Clan, which garnered him some attention and led to his partnership with Sony. Two siblings are reunited over the ill health of their father and as they try to move on, they are faced with challenges that force them to look at their troubled past.
Las Herederas (Paraguay)
Though it’s not a country known for its cinematic history, Paraguay came into 2018 with Marcelo Martinessi’s film, The Heiresses. Money has never been a problem for Chiquita and Chela, but when they run into hard times and have to sell their inherited possessions, Chiquita is sent to prison on fraud charges. Having to work again, Chela begins driving a taxi for a group of elderly ladies and meets a young, enticing woman with whom she makes an intimate connection.
An all-too-real possibility in the age of social media, this uneasy thriller from director Aly Muritiba follows the aftermath when a teenage girl, Tati, accidentally has a cell phone video of her partaking in a sexual act made public. The movie splits the narration between the person who leaked the tape and the girl featured in it. As Tati tries to figure out who leaked the video, she also has to deal with some bad decisions, a series of unfortunate events and how she is now being perceived by her classmates.
Bixa Travesty (Brazil)
Coming from the very flamboyant country of Brazil is a documentary that is equally so, addressing the personal and professional life of Linn da Quebrada, a black, transgender pop singer. Transgender celebrities have been making the headlines as of late and this documentary shows Linn’s attempt to break down not only the barriers of gender, but race at the same time.