Mexican Wrestler Santo vs. the Martians + Bhutanese fantasy-adventure & Helen Mirren: Rio Film Festival
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, Oct. 5. 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.
Nicole Kidman & Gillo Pontecorvo: RomeFilmFest
“I wanted to support this festival and Italy. Film festivals are very good for small films like this one, the more we have the better.”
That’s Nicole Kidman, referring to her “small film” Fur, which premiered at the RomeFilmFest last night.
Directed by Steven Shainberg, Fur follows a shy 1950s housewife, who, following a passionate love affair with her mentor (played by Robert Downey Jr.) turns into an artiste. The film is based on the life of photographer Diane Arbus.
Also at the RomeFilmFest, a screening of La Battaglia di Algeri / The Battle of Algiers will be held in memory of director Gillo Pontecorvo, who died this past Thursday, Oct. 12.
List of Films in the Cinema 06 Section:
A casa nostra by Francesca Comencini – Italy
Akumu Tantei / Nightmare Detective by Tsukamoto Shinya – Japan
Bes Vakit / Times and Winds by Reha Erdem – Turkey
Cages by Olivier Masset-Depasse – Belgium, France
Chand Rooz Ba’d… / A Few Days Later… by Niki Karimi – Iran
Fu Zi / After This Our Exile by Patrick Tam – Hong Kong
Izobrajaya Zhertvy / Playing the Victim by Kirill Serebrennikov – Russia
Jardins en automne / Gardens in Autumn by Otar Iosseliani – France, Italy, Russia
L’ aria salata by Alessandro Angelini – Italy
L’ Héritage / The Legacy by Temur Babluani, Gela Babluani – Georgia, France
La strada di Levi / Primo Levi’s Journey by Davide Ferrario – Italy
Le Voyage en Arménie / Armenia by Robert Guédiguian – France
Mon Colonel / The Colonel by Laurent Herbiet – France, Belgium
Nacido y criado / Born and Bred by Pablo Trapero – Argentina, Italy, U.K.
This Is England by Shane Meadows – U.K.
Wu Qingyuan / The Go Master by Tian Zhuangzhuang – China
Out of Competition:
Efter Brylluppet / After the Wedding by Susanne Bier – Denmark
Les Ambitieux / Ambitious by Catherine Corsini – France
Offset by Didi Danquart – Germany
‘Curse of the Golden Flower’: Gong Li ‘comeback’ to have AFI FEST 2006 World Premiere
The 2006 AFI Los Angeles International Film Festival a.k.a. AFI FEST 2006, to be held in Hollywood between Nov. 1–12, will present the World Premiere of Zhang Yimou’s Curse of the Golden Flower as its Closing Night Gala screening. Written and directed by Zhang, Curse of the Golden Flower stars Chow Yun-Fat and Jay Chou, and marks the return of former Zhang Yimou muse Gong Li (Ju Dou, Raise the Red Lantern).
Set at the time of China’s 10th-century Tang Dynasty, the (judging from available stills) massively sumptuous Curse of the Golden Flower starts out on the eve of the Chong Yang Festival, described by the AFI FEST press release as “a celebration of family, ancestry and escape from evil fortune that is traditionally associated with chrysanthemum blossoms.”
Presumably, the members of the highly dysfunctional imperial family will need loads of chrysanthemum blossoms to ward off “evil fortune,” as things start out badly in Curse of the Golden Flower: The Emperor (Chow Yun-Fat) returns unexpectedly with one of his sons – purportedly to celebrate the holiday with his family, but the ailing Empress (Gong Li) believes there are ulterior (and shady) motives on his part. Indeed, both Emperor and Empress “harbor equally clandestine plans.” With the Chong Yang Festival as a grandiose background, “surprises and secrets are revealed.”
‘Curse of the Golden Flower’: What gay subplot?
Curiously, the Curse of the Golden Flower plot synopsis found in the AFI FEST press release makes no mention of the film’s much discussed – but as yet unconfirmed – gay love affair. Of course, it could be that it’s all an unfounded rumor; or perhaps the gay subplot is one of the various family “surprises and secrets” to be revealed during the course of the film.
Unsurprisingly, Curse of the Golden Flower has been chosen as China’s official selection for the 2007 Academy Awards’ Best Foreign Language Film category. Equally unsurprising is its AFI FEST screening, as the Los Angeles-based film festival has been a launching pad for dozens of movies – frequently from overseas – considered as potential Oscar contenders.
Gong Li Curse of the Golden Flower photo: AFI FEST.
Arab movies in São Paulo
São Paulo’s Arab Cultural Institute and the Museum of Images and Sound are currently sponsoring the exhibit Mundo Árabe (Arab World), with a screening of seven films from Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Mauritania.
Among the titles are Jillali Farhati’s La Plage des enfants perdus / The Beach of Lost Children (1991, Morocco), the story of a pregnant girl who discovers that her stepmother wants to take her child from her after its birth; Atef al-Tayeb’s Leila Sakhina / A Hot Night (1994, Egypt), which follows two Cairo residents in dire financial straits; and Danielle Arbid’s Maarek hob / In the Battlefields (2004, Lebanon), set during the 1983 civil war.
All films are being screened with Portuguese subtitles.
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;
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.