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Habana Eva

Looking at Habana Eva

Habana EvaHabana Eva is no your typical romantic comedy. Fina Torress, the film’s director, provides a refreshingly modern spin the tired story of romantic love triangle.

Eva, a young seamstress in modern day Cuba, is stuck with a stifling job in a dress factory and with her clueless slacker fiancé. When she meets Jorge, a charming and intelligent ex-patriot, her worldview expands. Eva becomes torn between her simple fiancé Angel, and the alluring new man in her life.

Torres utilizes this love triangle not to stifle Eva’s development, but to propel Eva as a protagonist. Eva shows warmth and incredible talent as a seamstress, but she is settling in a life she knows she doesn’t want.

Throughout the film, Eva undergoes a transformation and emerges as a strong and liberated female character. She begins to make decisions on her own terms by defying conventions and using her talents.

The film’s brilliance is also due in large part to the supporting cast. Eva’s best friend Teresa, is an escort who became self-sufficient and happy on her own terms. She is incredibly honest, racy, and energetic.

Equally fun to watch was Eva’s father, mother, and sister, whom together represent a more traditional mindset. The cast represents a tension between modernity and tradition in Cuba, a dominant theme in this film.

Torres’ desire to challenge gender and relationship norms with unconventional stories truly makes this film an enjoyable, surprising, and thought-provoking film. The humor in this story and energy filled dialogue enhance Torres’ commentary on modern women and their relationships.

Torres and her cast prove that women can and should have it all.

Hermano Kicks-off Latino Film Festival

Hollywood’s Grauman’s Chinese Theater hosted Latino talent and supporters for the opening night of the 14th Annual Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF) providing an outlet and distribution opportunities for exceptional new stories created by or about Latinos.

The festival commenced with the film Hermano, Venezuelan filmmaker Marcel Rasquin’s first feature-length film, a family drama and sports film about disillusionment and motivation.

Hermano follows two Venezuelan teenagers, brothers by fate, after Julio and his mother saved Daniel from a dump when he was a baby. In a destitute neighborhood ruled by crime, making it on to the Caracas Futbol Club is the only way out for these brothers. They both have proven his talent, but each must make his own decisions about life, growing up, and getting out.

More than a compelling film about family, survival, and determination, Hermano exhibits incredible story-telling, outstanding actors in demanding roles, and impressive cinematography. The slum of La Ceniza is transformed into a central character, engulfing and spitting out its distressed inhabitants, as well as a rich postcard-like backdrop for viewers.

Rasquin described his process of reconnecting with his Venezuelan identity as personal motivation for Hermano. While studying film in Australia, Rasquin was exoticized because of where he came from, although growing up he was always interested in the world outside of Venezuela. This sparked a growth in interest for his culture.
LALIFF Opening night

Edward James Olmos, co-director of LALIFF, actor, and director, noted that audiences do not have the opportunity to view about 90% of the films featured by the festival in commercial venues. Olmos stressed that audiences should come out to support and “see the best films that they can see from outside the United States of America.”

Marlene Dermer, executive director of LALIFF commented on the importance of showcasing foreign and independent Latino films. “We [as Latinos] need to define ourselves. I love Hollywood films as much as anyone else, but it makes me feel good when I see a film about my community,” she said.

Find out more about the program, schedule, and tickets at www.latinofilm.org

Festival Latino 2010

On April 3 the Latin American Student Association (LASA) held its twelfth annual Festival Latino, which took place on campus at UCLA’s Wilson Plaza. The strong winds did not stop LASA nor student volunteers from putting the festival together early that morning, and it certainly did not stop spectators from attending.

This year’s Festival Latino had positive changes, according to several members of the LASA committee. “Our goal was to establish unity among Latino organizations at UCLA,” said Elba Solis, director of Festival Latino.

Solis explained that in the past, Latino organizations have never truly been united nor have they truly supported one another. LASA board members collectively decided to use the festival as a method of establishing unity with other Latino student organizations by inviting them to participate. Unity within the student Latino community is important to the LASA committee because it provides a safe space for Latino students to become conscious of issues that pertain Latina/o communities. This is why it took committee members all of last summer, fall, and winter to plan and organize the event.

The committee attended meetings with Latino organizations to invite them to assist with the festival while establishing a union with them. The participating organizations included Improving Dreams Equality Access and Success, Latinas Guiding Latinas, MEChA Calmecac, Hermanas Unidas, and La Familia. Most of these organizations collaborated with the LASA committee by promoting the event or by volunteering that day. Additionally, the LASA committee formed alliances with the Latino Greek council, which consists of Lambda Theta Nu, Phi Lambda Rho, Lambda Theta Alpha, Gamma Zeta Alpha, and Nu Alpha Kappa (NAK) who supported the festival with funding and volunteers.

“It was a really good experience and I would definitely participate again,” explained Alfredo Calderón, a NAK member. Calderón participated during the event by assisting children to color in the outlines of works by Diego Rivera at a children’s station. The point of this station, he explains, was for children to learn about Art and Diego Rivera while having fun.

The day of the festival the students volunteering guided performers, assisted decorating the plaza with Latin American flags and a fake wall known as the “walk through,” which displayed adornments representing countries in Latin America. The festival included performances by Mariachi UCLAtlán, Pilar Díaz, and Banda Flor de Piña among others. Most spectators mingled while dancing to the beats and rhythms of the music. The delicious food was the most popular attraction with food stations representing countries like El Salvador, Columbia, Cuba, Peru, Mexico, and the U.S.

Festival Latino provided an opportunity for Latino student organizations to unite in solidarity. It was not just a regular day on campus; it was a day to celebrate the Latino culture and most importantly a day for these students to work together.