The festival opens with a gathering at Café Sintra, (1024 NW Bond St) at 5:30, with drinks, snacks, and a brief presentation. Afterward, film-goers can walk to the theater.
The Samba Poet/ Noel Poeta de Vila
(Portuguese, with English subtitles). The first film is a musical from Brazil, which sets the story of Noel Rosa's life to the music he wrote. Though studying medicine, the odd-looking Rosa favors music, poetry and hookers over academics, eventually becoming the most famous composer/songwriter in his country. His reckless life and loves combine with tuberculosis and alcohol to wreak havoc on the musician's short existence. Though ultimately a tragedy, the movie's music and colorful sets prevent it from becoming overly gloomy.
Directed by Ricardo Van Steen. February 29, 6:30pm. Rated R.
(Spanish, with English subtitles). This hauntingly poetic film from Mexico is shot entirely in black and white. The Violin invites us into a family of musicians, farmers and campesino guerilla fighters living under an oppressive government. Plutarco, the elderly patriarch, risks everything, by riding a burro daily into the enemy camp to play violin while smuggling the ammunition buried in his cornfield. The result is so suspenseful that I had to look away from the screen more than once. The film delves into envy and ambition, as well as sacrifice and courage. Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth) calls this film "one of the most amazing Mexican films in many a year."
Directed by Francisco Vargas. February 29, 8:30pm. Rated R.
(Spanish, with English subtitles). Carol, a 12-year-old Spanish-American from New York, travels to Spain in order to meet her mother's family. The year is 1938, during the Spanish Civil War, and her father serves as a pilot in the International Brigades. Carol's arrival creates a stir in their secretive environment, and her rebellious nature soon leads her to oppose convention in the family's village. Carol picks up life lesson about friendship and love from her grandfather, among others, along the way.
Directed by Imanol Uribe. March 1, 6:00pm. PG-13
Longings of the Heart
(Spanish, with English subtitles). The final offering is an Argentine romantic comedy investigating the interweaving of fate, horoscopes and love. The story follows Fernando, a young businessman living in Buenos Aires, as he makes decisions based on his horoscope in a magazine called Suspiros de Corazon (longings of the heart). While searching for the answer to an important business decision, he finds something far more meaningful than that which he seeks.
Directed by Enrique Gabriel. March 1, 8pm. PG-13.
Ticket prices: $8 presale; $10 day of show. Buy online at www.towertheater.org or at the Tower Theater Box Office Mon-Fri, 10:30am-4:30pm.