Podcast from Intelatin: Casa Grande + Nicolá Cruz

This month at Intelatin, I am featuring the following films: The Second Mother, Neon Bull, The Moving Creatures, Finding Gastón, The Man and Le Mans and Casa Grande. Interviews with Fellipe Barbosa for Casa Grande and Orlando Spigno for Eqeko Cocina Peruana. Music for the podcast is performed by Nicolá Cruz, Tao Boa, Seu Jorge (Captain Planet), Tarancon (El Buhó), Antonio Carlos Jobim and Ellis Regina, Chabuca Grande, Tribilin Sound, Rafi El and Willie Colón and Hector Lavoe (Nguzunguzu Remix).

This month we’ll travel to four locations in the Americas: Ecuador, Perú, Brazil, and Ciudad Juárez in México.

According to Glenn Kenny at RogerEbert.com:

By the end of “The Second Mother,” one feels enough at home with the characters to leave the theater with a healthy concern with where they’re going to end up next. This isn’t the kind of film one associates with potential sequels, but I wouldn’t mind seeing Muyleart follow up with [protagonist] Val and [her daughter] Jéssica some time.

According to Eric Kohn at Indiewire:

“Neon Bull” provides a striking response to questions surrounding the precise nature of the movies. It’s a cinematic achievement that works on its own terms, beyond any semblance of marketplace pressure, and speaks to the unique power of the medium. [Director Gabriel] Mascaro offers a window into a world that not only promises an original milieu, but invites viewers to become a part of it.

According to Daniel Gold at the New York Times:

Stripped of all but basic plot components, the stories focus on the core emotional demands of these events. [Director Caetano] Gotardo uses long, slowly unfolding shots and extended close-ups to aid our familiarity with each set of characters — almost by osmosis, we grasp their domestic dynamics, the rhythm of their routines.

Avoiding melodrama with its quiet portrayal of crushing losses, “The Moving Creatures” is a chilling reminder that a simple life is no shield against the disastrous or the devastating, and that the parent-child relationship is at least as essential to the parent as it is to the child.

Brazilian films are typically sexy on the surface but under the skin, there is a theme that has run through the lineage of Brazilian cinema — the theme of income inequality which leads to the reality of a classist society. With us at Intelatin is the director of Casa Grande, Fellipe Barbosa.

West of Brazil and south of Ecuador is Perú. The essence of Perú can be distilled into four elements of the Earth: seafood, potato, quinoa and ají amarillo. The film Buscando a Gastón highlights the story of one man as he develops his cuisine around those four elements and creates an incredible international empire of alta cocina peruana. As he closes his landmark restaurant in Lima, he collaborates with Phaidon to create the gorgeous and definitive cookbook about Peruvian cuisine with 500 recipes.

The chef was born in Lima, Perú, in 1967. He owns more than 44 international restaurants, including three locations of La Mar restaurant in the United States. He plans to open more restaurants around the world in the next two years, including in Washington, D.C. The director of the film Buscando a Gastón (Finding Gastón) is Patricia Pérez. Find the film at FilmMovement.com and find the book Peru: The Cookbook at Phaidon.com

I talked with my homeboy Orlando Spigno, chef at Eqeko Peruvian Cuisine in downtown Santa Ana, to get a better understanding of how we in Los Angeles went from Acurio to Chef Ricardo Zárate to the cuisine at Eqeko.

Our last film feature for the month is The Man and Le Mans featuring Steve McQueen. However, I am going to start my feature at the end of the film rather than at the beginning. Let me see if I can explain: Steve McQueen was essentially an orphan jumping around from relative to relative in the Midwest. Through a stroke of luck and opportunity, he lands a few films with no experience and transforms himself into the biggest box office star in the United States. At the height of his career, at age 39, he decides that he is going to dedicate a few years of his life to filming his passion for motorcar racing in the mecca of the motorcar racing world: Le Mans in France.

At the end of the film, McQueen loses his wife, his production business and the beginning of his health which in ten years will lead to his death in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, México. The film tries its best to paint the picture of a strong man chasing a dream without lingering to long on the downside. As an impartial witness to the life of Steve McQueen with an appreciation of one of his films, The Thomas Crown Affair, I found it all to be rougher than I imagined.

After filming on Le Mans closes, after a driver had lost his life and after another driver had lost his leg, McQueen comes home to a wreckage. He attempts to bounce back with The Getaway and with his second marriage to Ali MacGraw but neither hit the right note. He divorces again and re-marries a third time to a woman named Barbara. They settle in Santa Paula and McQueen starts having chronic respiratory and pain problems. He is diagnosed with a severe cancer that doctors in Los Angeles tell him is incurable. He searches for an alternative cure and finds himself in Ciudad Juárez, México at an experimental clinic with a formidable success rate for curing incurable cancers. As he goes up and down with his health, the clinic also goes up and down with their finances. Both begin to merge and when McQueen dies on the operating table, the clinic ransoms the body before release. Lawyers in the United States have to begin a negotiation for approximately $170,000 to get McQueen’s body released. They do so. A green hearse is sent to El Paso to a waiting lear jet back to Ventura. He has a memorial service and then is cremated and his ashes spread in the Pacific Ocean. As of 2007, McQueen’s estate entered the top 10 of highest-earning deceased celebrities.

This is our last broadcast for the year. We’ll be back in February 2016. My name is Sergio Muñoz, and this is Intelatin.

***

The radio broadcast for Intelatin was started in 2012 at California State University Long Beach as outreach for their majority Latin@ campus. The broadcast aired on KBeach Global and KKJZ 88.1 FM. It podcasts on iTunes and is marketed by Audioboom. The next Intelatin episode will be released on the supermoon of February 2016. Connect on Twitter @Intelatin.

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