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Hundreds of languages are spoken in Latin America, beyond the Spanish and Portuguese imposed by the European conquest. Unleashing the multiplication of heritage and affiliation in our contemporary landscape, these films reveal language as a will to power. They range from explicit negotiations about land ownership in The Land Belongs to Those Who Work It to a more abstract exploration of an Inca religious celebration in Pawqartampu. The chief of the Guarani Mimbiá tribe narrates the extinction of the Tupinambá tribe in Sérgio Péo’s Ñanderu Panorâmica Tupinambá, while Bruno Varela’s Estela tells the story of a missing woman. Vincent Carelli and the Centro de Trabalho Indigenista have for many years used video as a tool for activism and intercultural communication in remote Amazonian regions, as Meeting Ancestors vividly illustrates. Ximena Cuevas takes a humorous approach with a poolside language lesson for a North American tourist. In Dilemma I: Burundanga Boricua, Poli Marichal combines the official representations of Puerto Rico as a shining star with a shining scar, mixing animation, documentary footage, and hand-painted film.

—Los Angeles Filmforum

Films in this program:

Meeting Ancestors

(A arca dos Zo’é)

Vincent Carelli, Dominique Gallois, Video in the Villages, Brazil, 1993

22 mins, Color, Digital

Ñanderu Panorâmica Tupinambá

Sérgio Péo, Brazil, 1991

8 mins, Color, 16mm transferred to digital

The Land Belongs to Those Who Work It

Chiapas Media Project, Mexico, 2005

15 mins, Color, Digital


Felipe Esparza, Peru, 2015

8 mins, B&W, Digital


Bruno Varela, Mexico, 2012

8 mins, B&W/Color, Super 8 transfered to digital

Dilemma I: Burundanga Boricua

Poli Marichal, Puerto Rico, 1990

18 mins, Color, Super 8 transfered to digital

Estamos para servile

(We’re Here to Serve You)

Ximena Cuevas, Mexico, 1999

3 mins, Color, Digital

Introduction by Jesse Lerner, a documentary filmmaker, curator, and writer and the coeditor of Ism, Ism, Ism: Experimental Cinema in Latin America.

  • Year
  • Runtime
    4 minutes
  • Language
  • Country
    United States