Paul Schrader, writer of ‘Taxi Driver,’ and Willem Dafoe are among the big names at the 53rd International Film Festival of Cartagena de Indias.
The festival, which runs through January 27, exhibits selections from around the world, favoring Colombia only slightly, and awards prizes to outstanding films, including $10,000 for best picture.
Making a big splash this year is Eric Cantona, ex-soccer star turned actor turned documentary filmmaker. His movie, “The Rebels of Soccer” focuses on soccer studs Pedrag Pasic, Didier Drogba, and the Brazilian known as Sócrates.
As might be expected, the “100% Colombian” category captivates festival-goers attention, showing what for many freshly cut films will be their international premier. “Roa” by Colombian director Andra Baiz will open the festival. It tells the story of the asassination of Jorge Eliecer Gaitan, the event which set off a decade-long period of violent unrest in Colombia known as La Violencia.
The 15 films of the Gemas category resemble a delicious pu pu platter composed of those films which have recieved special recognition in other festivals around the world. Among these are the Oscar-nominated “Beasts of the Southern Wild” — a Louisiana bayou-set drama helmed by first-time director Behn Zeitlin that follows a young girl, Hushpuppy, as problems from the adult world threaten to swallow her innocence. “No”, starring Gael Garcia Bernal, presents an incisive look at the unrest in Chile in the late 80’s and will also be shown.
Alongside the competitive categories, the festival presents several tributes including one to writer, Paul Schrader, a heavy-hitter during the second half of 20th century American cinema. Among those to be presented from Schrader’s prolific career are two unflinching films that look deep into the troubled American psyche: “Taxi Driver” and “Raging Bull.”
Willem Dafoe will also attend the festival. He played the big guy in Schrader’s “The Last Temptation of Christ.”