Thursday, March 17, 2016

The great actress Marisa Paredes and versatile actor-singer Miguel Bosé will take part in a unique opportunity: an entertaining Q&A session with IFF Panama’s audience following the screening of High Heels.

High Heels, by Pedro Almodóvar.

IFF Panama blends a selection of special presentations, visionary films and unique experiences that correspond to the times they illustrate; among them a delightfully fun early work from Spanish master Pedro AlmodóvarHigh Heels. This deliriously entertaining film is a frenetic melodrama about a mother, a daughter, a lover, a drag queen—and a murder. Following many years of estrangement, Madrid broadcaster Rebeca (Victoria Abril) is reunited with her mother, Becky (Marisa Paredes), a famous torch singer who abandoned Rebeca as a child. Manuel (Féodor Atkine), Rebeca’s husband and employer, was once Becky’s lover. Rebeca, Becky and Manuel attend a performance by female impersonator Letal (Miguel Bosé, son of this year’s guest of honor, Lucía Bosé), whose act is based on Becky’s persona. Rebeca winds up making love with Letal, while Manuel wants to leave Rebeca for Becky. When one month later Manuel is murdered this jumbled geometry of desire becomes only more complicated, more bizarre, and more intriguing. Miguel Bosé and Marisa Paredes will personally attend this screening, to be held at the Teatro Balboa on Sunday, April 10th, 6:30 pm.

Three Lives and Only One Death, starring Marcello Mastroianni.

1996’s Three Lives and Only One Death is considered one of late Chilean auteur Raúl Ruiz’s most accessible films. The film stars Marcello Mastroianni in his penultimate role, and the great Italian actor’s charisma and dexterity is showcased in this elegant grafting of four distinct narratives, each involving ardor, crime, desire and time—and all of them linked by Mastroianni’s mysterious changeling. One story involves an enchanted apartment, another a millionaire who willingly transforms into a panhandler. There is the tale of a young husband and wife (played by Chiara Mastroianni, Mastroianni’s daughter with Catherine Deneuve) who are invited to occupy a luxury chateau, and the tale of the affluent industrialist who learns that he is to receive a visit from a family he thought he invented. If you’re unfamiliar with Ruiz’s magical worlds, this is an excellent point of entry. 

Happily Married, directed by Aluzio Abranches.

Once an aspiring filmmaker, Hector (Alexandre Borges) now makes a living as a wedding videographer. A bachelor sliding deeper into middle age, Hector’s days of partying all night are over. Above all, he aspires to keep his life simple. Things start getting complicated, however, when Hector meets the beautiful Penelope (Camila Morgado), who, desperate to ruin her lover’s wedding, crashes one of Hector’s gigs. Brazilian filmmaker Aluzio Abranches delves into new territory with Happily Married with this frothy delight romantic comedy. 


Kenke, directed by Enrique Pérez Him.

The film screening will be followed by a question and answer session with director Enrique Pérez Him. Back after having participated in last year’s “Primera Mirada” showcase, the latest from Panama’s own Enrique Pérez Him is a rollicking, satirically hued study of family squabbles, everyday hypocrisies and petty crimes. When teenage Kenny (Milko Delgado) gets busted buying weed, his mother solicits Kenny’s respectable cousin Josué (Eric De León) to help her boy conquer his addiction—not knowing that Josué himself smokes weed and is also dealing with a pregnant girlfriend. Energetic, resourceful and shot-through with smart humor, Kenke—named after a Panamanian colloquialism for weed—hits a winning balance of cultural specificity and universal themes. 


El Cheque, directed by Arturo Montenegro.

The film screening will be followed by a question and answer session with director Arturo Montenegro. The hilarious feature debut of Panamanian director Arturo Montenegro is a sly, class-conscious comedy that tells the story of a man in need of a maid and the beguiling, larger-than-life angel who promises to fulfill all his needs—at a cost. Diego Vinda (Rogelio Bustamante) was living in chaos. His maid Magdalena was spectacularly incompetent, his Panama City high-rise apartment in shambles. Everything changes after Diego’s mother, Rosa (Diana Young), meets Dominga (Nilka Denny) one day in church. Poor, black and wise, a devout Christian with a lively sense of humour, Dominga quickly becomes an all-in-one friend, confidant and charity project to Rosa. El Cheque employs stereotypes around race and class only to turn them on their head.

Portraits: Street Name: Pirate and Zachrisson 

These extraordinary mid-length documentaries offer intimate, affectionate, deeply compelling portraits of two very different figures. Zachrisson portrays a charismatic Panamanian artist who has lived in Madrid the last 50 years, while Street Name: Pirate follows a homeless Miami man whose funky monologues serve as a testament to surviving in society where far too many individuals fall through the cracks.

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Street Name: Pirate, directed by Patricio Castilla.

The first screening of the Portraits section will be followed by a question and answer session with director Patricio Castilla, to be held at Cinépolis Multiplaza on Friday, April 8th, 6:00 pm. Homeless yet always flamboyantly dressed, a man of numerous monikers yet an absolutely singular character, Pirate, a.k.a. Monarch, a.k.a. Kevin, is homeless. Or, as Pirate himself puts it, he is the resident of a Miami “sandiminium.” This funky, poignant film finds Pirate discoursing on his life’s adventures from various street corners, in a parkade, or while using the public exercise equipment on South Beach. Chilean Patricio Castilla’s Street Name: Pirate speaks to the alarming ease with which individuals fall through the cracks of a supposedly affluent society. But it is also a tribute to one man’s formidable survival skills and insistent joie de vivre.

Zachrisson directed by Abner Benaim.

The second screening of the Portraits section will be followed by a question and answer session with director Abner Benaim, to be held at Cinépolis Multiplaza on Monday, April 11th, 6:00 pm. Panamanian artist Julio Augusto Sigfrid Norman Zachrisson Acevedo has lived the last 50 years in Madrid. He is now aged and blind, but his lust for life remains robust. Panamanian filmmaker Abner Benaim captures Zachrisson in his home, dancing, listening to music and reminiscing with his equally charismatic life partner Marisé. One particularly lovely sequence finds Zachrisson going through his paintings, describing from memory works that he can no longer see. He speaks of travel and the importance of timing in determining one’s destiny, and he ponders the strange nature of art. “It’s useless,” says Zachrisson, “yet we can’t live without it.”

The Special Presentations of the fifth edition of IFF Panama are:

  • High Heels, dir. Pedro Almodóvar, Spain, 113’, 1991
  • Three Lives and Only One Death, dir. Raoul Ruiz, France, 123’, 1996
  • Happily Married, dir. Aluizio Branches, Brazil, 91’, 2015
  • Kenke, dir. Enrique Pérez Him, Panama, 83’, 2016
  • El Cheque, dir. Arturo Montenegro, Panama,100’, 2016
  • Portraits: Zachrisson, dir. Abner Benaim, Panama, 27’; and Street name: Pirate, dir. Patricio Castilla, USA, 20’



The IFF Panama Foundation
The International Film Festival of Panama Foundation (IFF Panama Foundation) is a non-profit organization created to support the realization of IFF Panama and promote the cultural & educational activities that are an integral part of the event’s structure. The Festival is sponsored primarily by: the Ministerio de Comercio e Industrias (MICI), Autoridad de Turismo de Panamá, MasterCard®, Copa Airlines, 507 Red Lager, Alcaldía de Panamá, Revista K, TVN FIlms, and many other generous sponsors.