Diana Bustamante Escobar
Artistic Director

We all seem to find ourselves meeting a transitory fate damaged by a fracture that may yet be reparable. We are on our way, perhaps headed down a mistaken or devious path, without knowing where we’re going, in a rift that at times would appear eternal and incurable and that compels us to move toward some place that resembles the future. It is a future that cannot be defined without the past, like the Roman god Janus with one face looking toward what was and another toward what is to come; simply put, he is in the present.
We all seem to find ourselves meeting a transitory fate damaged by a fracture that may yet be reparable. We are on our way, perhaps headed down a mistaken or devious path, without knowing where we’re going, in a rift that at times would appear eternal and incurable and that compels us to move toward some place that resembles the future. It is a future that cannot be defined without the past, like the Roman god Janus with one face looking toward what was and another toward what is to come; simply put, he is in the present.

And it is in this Ibero-American present in which we find ourselves, on the continent and its islands of surprises that continue to cultivate an unbreakable bond with Portugal and Spain, whose multitude of dialects, accents and idiosyncrasies are now recognized more than ever. There are two faces to this one region that is also that of cinematographic surprises, of films that transcend physical, geographic and “earthly” limits and go beyond what is expected of us, beyond our forecasted destinies. A new kind of human lives among us, like the being with gills in the work of Baricco: a human that is unknown to us, that is no more and no less than the previous one, just different. It is capable of forming connections of the most sensitive, even mystical or metaphysical sort, and is open to all possibilities, aided by technology that came to mutate us as individuals and as a society and that has transformed the way we relate to one another: from a place of solitude that is counterproductive to desires.

There exists a kind of Ibero-American cinema that is spiritual, cosmic, futuristic, everyday, crude and melodramatic, ill and curative. Contradictory, and with no boundaries or limits. Headed on its way. This cinema excites and astonishes me above all else, perhaps because the idea of Gabriel García Márquez’s Latin American being has always been the object of my obsession. How can we keep from sounding tacky and vulgar? How can we avoid it being what we are, and how can we deny the emotion that comes over us so often, in which both tortured and visionary perspectives intervene? This single and yet multiple being built on the profound differences that define us is what this event has dedicated itself to since the 1970s.

So many years! I never tire of saying it. For so many years FICCI has focused on what was once difficult to imagine, but was nevertheless stubbornly willed: cinema from Ibero-America that is divergent yet consistent and that today is a solid body in its own right. Films that leave profound marks not only on the making of a local film scene but also on the development of our own narrative, understood as the way in which we describe, define and visualize ourselves. What are our identitary, or perhaps desired, images? The India Catalina, this year’s image and symbol, reminds us of the need to understand the images created by our past and the symbols it has left for us. Whatever they may be; they are part of what we are today. But how do they speak to us and what are they saying?

In 2017 we are being presented with 78 competing films, long and short, that are weaving a text that subtly affirms the image that serves as our symbol this year. The body, the sensuality, the mysticism, what we are, what we were, our rifts and our marks, what we will be. A kind of cinema that opens the door to a new idea of utopia, and though its shape is not yet clear, it stammers out our very own narrative, savage perhaps, but which we appear to be taming.

The language that filmmakers of this region reinterpret and make their own expresses the vitality of our cinema and its role—no longer secondary or marginal—in a wonderful year for world cinema. Where the stylized and self-aware return of classical forms in no way devalues more contemporary endeavors. A reality that at times appears to be seen through the eyes of an extraterrestrial. Like splitting ourselves in two in order to see ourselves again. Fractured, yes, but on the path.

Photo: Salvatore Salomone Revista Diners