Movies: Cinema Latino

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Films about a housekeeper, white gold and an FDR-organized trip with Walt Disney are the latest entries in the monthlong Cinema Latino series at the Wex.

Created four years ago by assistant film and video curator Chris Stults as a showcase for the explosion of new Argentinean filmmakers, Cinema Latino has since broadened its scope to encompass the best new and classic flicks from Latin America.

Thursday brings a double feature of Walt & El Grupo and The Maid, followed by a weekend run of Araya.

A fascinating study in unlikely alliances and unexpected repercussions, Theodore Thomas' 2007 film Walt & El Grupo utilizes vintage newsreels, interviews and home movies to document a 1941 goodwill tour of Latin America.

Organized by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Walt Disney and more than a dozen of his studio's artists traveled urban and rural areas in several countries, returning to create The Three Caballeros. The tour also influenced many Disney ride attractions to this day.

Following El Grupo is Sebastian Silva's 2009 award-winning film The Maid.

Set within a wealthy Chilean household, Catalina Saavedra's turn as the emotionally stunted title character is a refreshing mix of unflinching awkwardness, unexpected humor and believable outcomes.

Rounding out this week's lineup is Margot Benacerraf's Venezuelan documentary Araya.

Never released in the States - and only recently saved from obscurity - the 1959 Cannes-winner deftly distills five centuries' worth of history on salt ("white gold") through the lives of the workers on the namesake Venezuelan peninsula. Simultaneously sobering and insightful, Araya is an unexpected precursor to the recent spate of micro histories.

"Walt & El Grupo" & "The Maid"

7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 21


7 p.m. Friday & Saturday, Jan. 22-23

Wexner Center Film/Video Theatre