There was a lot of competition but a lot of hope for Latin American films in the international feature film category of the 2022 Oscars. In early December, the Academy ruled that films from 92 countries were eligible. They included the following 14 from Latin America and one from Spain:
El Buen Patrón (The good boss) – Spain, El Prófugo (The Intruder) – Argentina, El Gran Movimiento (The Great Movement) – Bolivia, Particular desert (Private desert) – Brazil, White in White (White on white) – Chile, Memory – Colombia; Clara Sola – Costa Rica; La fiera y la fiesta (Holy Beasts) – Dominican Republic, Sumergible (Submersible) – Ecuador, Noche de Fuego (Prayer for the Stolen) Mexico, Cathedral Square – Panama, Apenas el Sol (Nothing but the Sun) -Paraguay, Manco Cápac (Mighty Chef) – Peru, La Teoría de los Vidrios Rotos (The Broken Glass Theory) – Uruguay, and A Destello Interior (The Inner Glow) – Venezuela.
However, only Mexico Prayers for the Stolen and that of Panama Cathedral Square Latin America and Spain The good boss listed the 15 films selected for Academy members to vote on from January 27. Three out of 15 isn’t that bad, considering that there was a competition at 92.
Film critic Carlos Aguilar says Mexico, Panama and Spain are serious competitors tackling issues of violence, social injustice and economic inequality.
“Cathedral Square is a drama directed by Abner Benaim, with Mexican actress Ilse Salas, about a friendship that is born between a street child and a Mexican woman working in Panama, “he says.” It deals with the social and economic disparity that exists in Panama and many places in Latin America.
Salas, who plays Alicia in the film, mourns the loss of her young son in an accident and connects with “Chief”, a child facing abandonment and violence on the streets.
Tragically, the film’s young protagonist, Fernando Xavier de Casta, was killed earlier this year in an act of violence, underscoring the film’s relevance.
“It’s a very strong film from a country that we’re not quite used to seeing good films about,” Aguilar says.
from Mexico Prayer for the stolen, directed by Tatiana Huezo and distributed by Netflix, is a hot drama that explores how innocent children are caught in the crossfire of the war against the drug cartels.
“But it’s told from the unique perspective of a group of girls who live in a small town, and how their childhood and adolescence is affected by fear,” says Aguilar.
The Spanish black dramatic comedy The good boss, directed by Fernando León de Aranoa, stars Oscar-winning actor Javier Bardem as the owner of a struggling family factory of professional-grade scales.
“He’s a nasty character who will do anything to keep control of his factory.” But the film and the factory scales, Aguilar emphasizes, highlight “the social balance between who has power and who is subject to that power”.
The Academy will announce the five international nominees for feature films on February 8, 2022.