Travel to Latin America with these films at the Brisbane International Film Festival 2020

Brisbane International Film Festival

Travel to Latin America with these films at the Brisbane International Film Festival 2020

The Brisbane International Film Festival (BIFF) program has officially been released! Screening over 70 films from around the world – including feature films, shorts, documentaries and experimental pieces – the program is sure to appeal to a very diverse audience.

From October 1-11, BIFF will present an in-cinema program across several COVID-safe venues in Brisbane. In addition to film screenings, audiences can also look forward to various special events, such as panel discussions, live music and dining experiences.

The films chosen this year showcase both emerging filmmakers and seasoned professionals from Australia and abroad. Here are our picks of the must-see Latin American films to catch at the Brisbane International Film Festival this year.

Valley of Souls (Colombia & Belgium)


When his two sons are killed by a death squad and thrown in Colombia’s Magdalena River, a grieving father embarks on a dangerous journey to recover their bodies.

This powerful debut recalls a Colombia ravaged by civil conflict in the early 2000s. First-time actor Arley de Jesús conveys a haunting intensity as ageing fisherman José, who must come to terms with the country’s turmoil while grieving the loss of his sons. José’s quiet determination is challenged by the draining humidity and the untamed, often dangerous, landscape, as he follows the river’s edge in his wooden fishing boat. Valley of Souls is a deftly handled and exquisitely shot film of few words but layered experiences that will resonate long after the closing credits.

Los Conductos (France, Colombia and Brazil)


After fleeing a religious sect that preys on Colombia’s underclass, Pinky finds himself working menial jobs to support his drug habit even as the cult leader, whom he aspires to assassinate, haunts his days and nights.

A rich, 16mm chiaroscuro that tells as much with what it conceals as what it shows, Los Conductos is a vivid, hypnotic ride through the backstreets of Medellín with a man seeking revenge against the cult that ensnared him. The unique visual language of first-time feature director Camilo Restrepo packs dreamlike meaning into his fixed frames, while Luis Felipe Lozano is magnetic as Pinky in this story drawn from his own life experiences. Winner of the 2020 Berlinale Best First Feature award.

A Yellow Animal (Brazil)


An intergenerational tale exploring themes of race, colonisation and national identity, A Yellow Animal is a gobsmacking adventure of gold prospectors, gem smugglers and a filmmaker, whose spirit guide may — or may not — be maliciously following him.

While trying to make a film, Fernando (Higor Campagnaro) must trace his history back to his grandfather in order to understand his present. His reckoning with the past takes him from urban Brazil into the muddy goldfields of Mozambique. Writer and director Felipe Bragança harmonises multiple story threads into a provocative and profound film that boasts bold visuals and brims with complex ideas.

Vivos (Germany and Mexico)


World-renowned artist and political activist Ai Weiwei tells a story of Mexican government corruption through the families of 43 forcibly disappeared students.

Vivos crackles with the political fire that burns in the wake of the mass vanishing of students on their way to a protest in September 2014, illuminating the torment for the students’ families. Documenting rampant corruption in Mexico’s military, police and legal establishments, Ai Weiwei crafts a haunting expose through reserved photography and patient editing and places the families’ emotional pleas for justice at the core of this powerful film.

For more information on BIFF 2020, or to purchase a ticket, head to their website HERE.

Isabel Zakharova

Isabel Zakharova is a final-year student at UTS, studying Communications and International Studies. She loves reading, writing and exploring other cultures - through travel, film and cuisine. Got a story to tell? Get in touch: [email protected]