IN A TOWN flush with film festivals, the Portland Latin American Film Festival still manages to stand out. Now in its fifth year, the 2011 edition showcases eight films from five countries.
Kicking things off is Mexico's Chicogrande, which screened earlier this year at the Portland International Film Festival. Felipe Cazals' drama features a Pancho Villa (Alejandro Calva) who's on the run from the Americans, and Chicogrande (Damián Alcázar), a hero of the Mexican Revolution. The next six days run the gamut: There's Cuba's Old House, a drama about an estranged son returning to Cuba; the Mexican comedy Hell, which also stars Alcázar, this time as a man deported from the United States who finds work in the exhilarating field of narcotics; the 2006 Cuban coming-of-age film The Silly Age; Sins of My Father, a documentary about Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar that's told through the eyes of his son, Sebastian; the Colombian The Wind Journeys, which also screened at the Portland International Film Festival (in his review for the Mercury, Andrew R Tonry called it "a crisp, colorful odyssey across a land of magic realism"); and another PIFF-approved film, Colombia's The Colors of the Mountain, which Marjorie Skinner called "a sad, gently paced look at ordinary victims of political strife." The fest closes out with the Brazilian Besouro, a film based on the life of Besouro Mangangá, the most famous practitioner of capoeira who isn't named "Tekken 3's Eddy Gordo."