Mexican Wrestler vs. Martian Invasion & Helen Mirren: Rio Film Festival

Santo Mexican Wrestler vs. the Martian InvasionMexican Wrestler Santo vs. the Martians, Bhutanese fantasy-adventure, Helen Mirren in 'The Queen': Rio Film Festival 2006 (image: Mexican mix of wrestling and science fiction 'Santo el Enmascarado de Plata vs la invasión de los marcianos')

Rio de Janeiro is currently hosting the 8th Rio Film Festival, reportedly the largest film event in Latin America, with screenings of more than 300 films from 64 countries. The festival – which this year has focused on Canadian cinema – officially ends its run tomorrow, October 5, 2006. However, beginning Friday, it unofficially continues with screenings of films “without guaranteed distribution” in Brazil.

Among the movies in question are Stephen Frears' The Queen, starring likely Academy Award contender Helen Mirren and Michael Sheen (and which will surely get distributed in that country); Neten Chokling's Bhutanese-made fantasy adventure tale Milarepa; and Fernando León de Aranoa's Princesas, a Spanish drama about the lives and loves of street prostitutes, featuring Candela Peña and Micaela Nevárez.

Rio Film Festival 2006: Mexican sci-fi cult classic 'Santo el Enmascarado de Plata vs la invasión de los marcianos'

The image at the top of this article is from Alfredo B. Crevenna's 1967 Mexican sci-fi flick Santo el Enmascarado de Plata vs la invasión de los marcianos, which more or less translates as “The Silver-Masked Santo [a.k.a. Samson in English-language versions] vs. The Invasion of the Martians.”

Screened at the 2006 Rio Film Festival's “Sci-Fi Mex” sidebar, Santo el Enmascarado de Plata vs 'La invasión de los marcianos' pits the masked wrestler Santo (played by Santo himself) against Martians in tights and blond wigs who want to impose world peace – or else. Shades of Michael Rennie's alien invader in Robert Wise's The Day the Earth Stood Still.

Mexican wrestler Santo movies

Born in 1917 in Tulancingo, in the state of Hidalgo, Santo starred in more than 50 low-budget Mexican movies according to the IMDb. The first one listed is Santo vs. the Evil Brain / Santo contra cerebro del mal, released in 1961. The last Santo movie, The Fist of Death / El puño de la muerte came out in 1982. Santo died on February 5, 1984, in Mexico City.

Santo's son, known as Hijo del Santo (“Son of Santo”), donned the silver mask after his father's retirement. As per the IMDb, he was featured in a handful of Hijo del Santo (later just “Santo”) movies in the '80s and '90s. His final movie, ¡Esta máscara es mía! o Santo contra los burócratas (“This Mask Is Mine! Santo Against the Bureaucrats”), was released in 2006.

Santo el Enmascarado de Plata vs la invasión de los marcianos photo via the 2006 Rio Film Festival.

New York Film Festival

Among the upcoming screenings at the New York Film Festival, which runs until Oct. 15, are:

Alain Resnais' Coeurs / Private Fears in Public Places (Fri Oct 6: 6pm; Sat Oct 7: 3pm) winner of the Best Director Award at this year's Venice Film Festival;

Pedro Almodóvar's Volver (Sat Oct 7: 9pm; Sun Oct 8: 12pm), starring Penélope Cruz and Carmen Maura, and the winner of the Best Screenplay Award at the Cannes Film Festival;

David Lynch's Inland Empire (Sun Oct 8: 8:30pm; Mon Oct 9: 11:30am);

and the closing night gala presentation of Guillermo del Toro's El Laberinto del fauno / Pan's Labyrinth (Sun Oct 15: 8:30pm), Mexico's submission for the Foreign-Language Film Academy Award.

Tom Bell dies

British actor Tom Bell has died after a short illness. Bell, perhaps best known today for playing opposite Helen Mirren in the first three seasons of the British TV series Prime Suspect, appeared in numerous films – usually in supporting roles – including The L-Shaped Room (as Leslie Caron’s romantic interest), Royal FlashWish You Were Here, and The Krays.

In Prime Suspect, Bell played Detective Sergeant Bill Otley, a sexist officer who frequently clashed with Mirren’s character Jane Tennison.

Tom Bell was 73.

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