In conjunction with the recently renamed Latin American and Caribbean Studies program, formerly known as the Latin American Studies Program, we’re pleased to present four films during Latinx Heritage Month (nationally known as Hispanic Heritage Month), September 15–October 15, including three Ithaca premieres.
We begin with the Ithaca premiere of Los Hermanos/The Brothers on September 16, a documentary about two Cuban-born brothers, both virtuoso musicians—Aldo and Ilmar López-Gavilán—who live on opposite sides of the geopolitical chasm that separates the U.S. and Cuba. Following their parallel lives in New York and Havana, the film offers an amazingly heartfelt view of estranged nations through the lens of music and family. In capturing their momentous reunion and electrifying first performances together, the film shows how family bonds can transcend politics. Featuring an electrifying, genre-bending score composed by Aldo and performed with his brother, Ilmar, with guest appearances by maestro Joshua Bell and the Harlem Quartet.
Isabella is the latest in Argentinian filmmaker Matías Piñeiro's series of films inspired by the women of Shakespeare's comedies, and it is his most structurally daring and visually stunning work to date. Using a local theater troupe’s production of Shakespeare's Measure for Measure as a jumping off point, the film focuses on two women invested in an audition for the role of Isabella. Ultimately, the film is about the ongoing battle between doubt and ambition, and the possibility of new beginnings.
Alexis Gambis is a French-Venezuelan filmmaker and biologist. His films combine documentary and fiction, often embracing animal perspectives and experimenting with new forms of scientific storytelling. In 2008, he founded the Imagine Science Film Festival that showcases science in film from around the world. In 2016, he launched the sister portal Labocine. Coined the “Netflix for science,” the VOD platform provides a virtual ecosystem to experience science cinema in all its flavors, fostering a dialogue between scientists, artists and educators. His latest film, Son of Monarchs, was awarded the Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, which honors the best of science in film. Gambis will join us in-person for a screening of the film on October 5 and participate in a post-screening panel that will include Cornell professor Robert Reed, a butterfly biologist, who was the inspiration for the main character in the film, a Mexican biologist living in New York who returns to his hometown in the monarch butterfly forests of Michoacan, Mexico. Gambis’ visit to Ithaca is supported by Cornell’s Migrations Initiative.
The acclaimed musical In the Heights takes place in New York’s Washington Heights neighborhood, known as the Little Dominican Republic, and has been commended for its portrayal of a vibrant Latinx community, but it has also been criticized for its lack of casting Black Latinos, when “as much as 90% of Dominicans are of Afro-descent” (globalcitizen.org) As such, the film offers a wonderfully entertaining evening, but food for thought as well, as we consider representation, diversity and inclusion in the film industry.
Cosponsored by the Latin American and Caribbean Studies program.
The films are screening as part of Ithaca's Cine con Cultura Latinx American Film Festival, an annual event that brings Latin American and Latinx films to the Ithaca area to commemorate Latinx Heritage Month. The festival is made possible by a collaboration of the Latino Civic Association of Tompkins County, Cultura Ithaca!, Cornell Cinema, Cinemapolis, FLEFF, Cornell University and Ithaca College. Learn more about it and other films screening in the festival by visiting: https://www.culturaithaca.com/cine-con-cultura-2021