Friday, May 7, 2010

Film News Update by Luis Reyes

Four Independent Films Showcase Latino Talent 

Mother and Child is a beautiful and delicate woman’s film from the accomplished director/ writer Rodrigo Garcia that opens in theatres on Friday May 7th. It brings together the various stories revolving around a teenage mother who is forced to give up her daughter for adoption and what happens 37 years later when that child grows up. It is a film of insight, feelings and strong human emotions and the cycle of life. Annette Benning is sure to be nominated for an Academy Award as Best Actress for her nuanced and raw portrayal of Karen and Jimmy Smits give a performance in so few words and emotions as Paco, a man who awakens deep emotions in Karen, that should earn him an Oscar nomination for Best supporting actor. The melodramatic film presents an ethnic cross-section of fully realized character that offers a contemporary realistic portrayal of America today that is rarely seen on screen. The ensemble all star cast also includes Naomi Watts, Samuel L. Jackson, Elpidia Carrillo (in a strong supporting role) young child actress Simone Lopez and Elizabeth Pena. The beautiful and artful cinematography is from Xavier Perez Grobet. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu serves as one of the producers.

Princess Kaiulani opening on May 14th is the inspiring true story of the Hawaiian princess who was forced to flee her homeland for Victorian England as the kingdom she was to inherit faced civil unrest. Actress Q’orianka Kilcher secured the title role of Princess Kaiulani after the production auditioned over 60 candidates in Los Angeles for the adult Kaiulani role. Kilcher had previously portrayed Pocahontas in the The New World, opposite Colin Farrell. Kilcher’s origins are part Huachipaeri and Quechua Indian on her father’s Peruvian side and she was born in Germany to a Swiss mother but lived in Hawaii until she was 10 years old. Kilcher recently said she believes she was cast as Kaiulani as much for her activism as her acting. Kilcher stars in Princess Kaiulani alongside Barry Pepper (Flags of Our Fathers, The Green Mile, Saving Private Ryan), Will Patton (A Mighty Heart, Armageddon) and Shaun Evans (Being Julia, Cashback).

There are four independent modest budget films in theatres that are showcasing Latino talent in front of and behind the camera including Petter Bratt's La Mission, Andy Garcia's City Island, the aforementioned Mother and Child and Princess Kaiulani. Celebrate these artists filmic accomplishments by going to see their films. The commercial and artistic success of these films will allow for more Latino talent and stories to flourish on the screens. 

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