Latino film fest rides Hispanic Wave

With names such as Pedro Almodóvar, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Guillermo del Toro, Alfonso Cuaron and Salma Hayek in the spotlight, it's Spain's and Latin America's turn in the ever-changing cavalcade of headlines in the world of cinema. You remember the Italians after World War II, the French, the English — peaking and receding — then East Europeans, the Japanese, the Chinese, the Koreans … now is the time for Hispanic film.

In a fortuitous coincidence with the Hispanic Wave, San Francisco begins its 11th International Latino Film Festival Friday.

Running through Nov. 18, the event features 90 films from 20 countries screening around the Bay Area, in San Francisco, Redwood City, San Jose, Larkspur, Berkeley, San Rafael, San Mateo and San Bruno.

Among the themes explored within the festival: Women & Film, the Environment, Immigration, War & Politics, the Jewish Experience, Queer Latino Cinema, and others.

Visting filmmakers include Mexican actor Diego Luna (“Y Tu Mamá También,” “Frida,” “Terminal”), who will speak about “Chávez,” a new documentary he directed, about Mexican boxer JC Chávez.

Directors Diego Lopez Rivera and Gabriel Figueroa Flores will also be in San Francisco, attending a tribute to Diego Rivera at the San Francisco Arts Institute, and a new documentary about the artist.

Today’s Day of the Dead opening festivities at the Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St., San Francisco feature a 7 p.m. screening of “El viaje de la Nonna” (“Nonna’s Trip”) directed by Sebastian Silva. It’s the story of a forgetful grandmother whose final wish is to visit Italy, the land of her beloved late husband, along with her family. The event also includes a party.

Screening at 9:15 p.m. Saturday at the Castro is “Lola, la película” (“Lola, the Film”), a new movie from Miguel Hermoso, about legendary Flamenco dancer Lola Flores.

Music, of course, is at the heart of “Fabricando Tom Zé” (“Fabricating Tom Zé”), a feature documentary by Décio Matos Jr. about experimental musicians Zé, a presence for four decades, one of the leaders of the early “Tropicália” movement — the “Brazilian revolution in sound.”

Cuba's entry in the Academy Awards race, Jorge Luis Sánchez's “El Benny” is a feature film about the great Cuban singer Benny Moré (1919–1963), who mastered all genres from mambo, to guaracha, to Afro-Cuban, to canción, and bolero.

On closing night, Nov. 18, a reception and party at the San Mateo County History is sponsored by Redwood City and the Latino Leadership Council. The film is “La gran final” (“The Great Match”), Gerardo Olivares' comedy-adventure about soccer fans in Mongolia, the Amazon and the Sahara — places quite without TV sets — traveling hundreds of miles to catch telecasts of the World Cup.

IF YOU GO

11th International Latino Film Festival

Where: Throughout the Bay Area

When: Nov. 2 through Nov. 18

Tickets: $6 to $12 for most films; more for special programs

Contact: (415) 392-4400 or visit www.latinofilmfestival.org  

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