Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Reviewed by Susan J. Maskin
Librarian, writer and composer
An historical event is never more poignant than when it is seen through the eyes of those living through it. It is also true that these events, especially traumatic ones, affect future generations.
In the late 1970's to the early years of the decade that followed, a dictatorship ruled Argentina, and the resulting consequences on the lives of many thousands were to be tragic. For reasons difficult to understand -or for no reason at all- perhaps at least 30,000 people were abducted, tortured and killed.
For all the families of "The Disappeared" the trauma was extreme, and passed down through the generations. The play, Memory is a Culinary Affair, written by Argentinean Graciela Berger Wegsman, shows the emotional effect the era of "the Disappeared" had on some young people living in the aftermath.
Carina, a 36 year old woman, brilliantly played by Mariana Parma is caught between two worlds: her new life in New York with her boyfriend Marc, portrayed by Ben Joseph and her life, family and former boyfriend still living in Argentina. Marc is insistent that Carina make a commitment to him and share an apartment. Carina is hesitant. The problem comes to the surface when Carina's sister Flor played by Ydaiber Orozco visits Carina.
The drama is excellent; the acting superb. When riding home with other people who attended the performance, there was a discussion about the characters as if they were real people that we all knew. My husband and I were talking about Carina and Flor several days later. What could be a better testament to the quality of a play than the audience reacting in such a way?
I am hopeful that this drama will be produced again so that others can have the same meaningful experience that I and my husband had.
Reviewed by Mariela Dreyfus, PhD
DGS, Creative Writing in Spanish
New York University
"Memory: you have the key"
Cito de memoria un verso de T.S. Eliot en el titulo para decirte que me gusto mucho tu obra; el modo en que la memoria se vuelve el eje para hilvanar una historia rica, compleja y sobre todo, bastante intensa y conmovedora. Excelente la manera en que elegiste las canciones para tu obra, desde el dramatismo de la Negra Sosa hasta ese final divertido con el estribillo mas famoso de Blades: "La vida te da sorpresas". Me gusta mucho tambien como manejas los distintos registros emocionales, desde la risa (muy bien dosificado el humor) hasta las lagrimas.
Reviewed by Barbara Haimowitz, PhD
We wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed "Memory is a Culinary Affair." The play was outstanding, the dialogue lively and intense, the actors entrenched in their roles...loved Blanca as mother and "ghost" steering her daughter Carina to make her own decisions in her life. Great portrayal of the tight-knit bond between the sisters carina and Flor. What an excellent use of voice overs in the letter from Jorge! Striking contrast between the Buenos Aires -born and typical American Marc!
We think that this play should be adapted for a movie...
Many thanks and much continued success, here is to Broadway!
Barbara and Ira
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
The three shows were sold out and there was a waiting list.
Memory is a Culinary Affair explores the impact of the 1970's dictatorship in Argentina through the eyes of Carina, who was a small child at the time. Now in her mid-30s and living in New York, Carina must decide whether to return to Argentina and her former boyfriend, who is still in love with her, or to stay in New York and make a new life with her current boyfriend. As she ponders her choices, Carina must confront the scars left by events that tore her family apart during her childhood. Her family is Jewish.
A Spanish-language version of the play was a recipient of an award in the 2007 MetLife Nuestras Voces National Playwriting Competition at Repertorio Espanol.
PRESS ABOUT THE PLAY
The NY Daily News
Two Latina playwrights draw on childhood experiences for new works "Memory is a Culinary Affair" and "Viva la Evolucion! open this week.
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/latino/2010/08/18/2020-08-18 stages of life.html#ixzzOxTZOSZOJ
Channel 1 Noticias
Interview in Spanish
Arte y Cultura: Drama de una Dictadura
Daily News/Hora Hispana
El Blog de Pablo
I'm trying to bring the play to a bigger venue.
Thank you for your support.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Also check the article in El Diario: Drama de una dictadura.
Check my last posting about the Daily News/Hora Hispana.
And we are in many blogs and listings including the Village Voice.
Don't forget to get tickets. Wednesday is sold out with a waiting list but there are tickets left on Friday and Saturday.
For reservations please call:646-329-6588 $20
It opens tomorrow!
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Thursday, July 1, 2010
MANHATTAN REPERTORY THEATRE
WRITTEN AND PRODUCED BY GRACIELA BERGER WEGSMAN
DIRECTED BY HEATHER VIOLANTI
WITH: MARIANA PARMA, MICHELLE CONCHA, YDAIBER OROZCO, MIGUEL BELMONTE, BENJAMIN JOSEPH AND JUAN VILLARREAL
SET DESIGN: MARIANO CINAT
WEDNESDAY AUGUST 18 AT 9 PM
FRIDAY AUGUST 20 AT 9 PM
SATURDAY AUGUST 21 AT 9 PM
TICKETS ON SALE NOW! PLEASE CALL: (646) 329-6588 $20
After moving from Argentina to New York City, Carina, 36, learns that is never easy to leave the past behind-especially when that past is a childhood lived during a dictatorship that destroyed her family.
MANHATTAN REPERTORY THEATRE
303 WEST 42ND STREET 3RD FLOOR
NEW YORK CITY
Friday, June 4, 2010
I WANT TO ANNOUNCE THAT MY PLAY "MEMORY IS A CULINARY AFFAIR" WAS SELECTED TO PARTICIPATE IN SUMMERFEST AT MANHATTAN REPERTORY THEATRE IN NYC!
MEMORY IS A CULINARY AFFAIR
Wednesday August 18 at 9 PM
Friday August 20 at 9 PM
Saturday August 21 at 9 PM
For tickets call: (646) 329-6588 $20
MANHATTAN REPERTORY THEATRE
303 W. 42nd St. Suite 308 Third Floor
Hope to see you there!
For press inquiries please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Graciela Berger Wegsman
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
The Secret in their Eyes
Director: Juan Jose Campanella, Argentina
Ricardo Darin, Soledad Villamil, Guillermo Francella, Javier Godino, Pablo Rago.
I went with a friend to the Angelika to see the Argentinian movie "The Secret in their Eyes" and I suggest you do the same. You will enjoy the complexity of the intertwined stories and the good acting. The theatre was packed, thanks to the Oscar the movie received for Best Foreign Film. I was so proud...I felt like shouting: Viva Argentina!!!
How many movies from my country have opened in a commercial theatre in Manhattan? Few. I remember Nine Queens which also starred Ricardo Darin, one of the leading Argentinian actors. But it's hard to find a Latin American movie playing in a theatre and the rare opportunities are usually confined to film festivals. That's why I like to promote Latin American cinema.
"El secreto de sus ojos" centers on a violent crime that took place in Buenos Aires in 1974. We get a glimpse of the political times that preceded the 1976 dictatorship. Isabelita Peron appears on a TV screen and the character of Gomez as her bodyguard caused me to have goosebumps. The movie switches from past to present portraying the country 25 years earlier. The corruption of the legal system and its consequences are at the core of the movie.
Ricardo Darin plays Exposito, a court investigator who after retiring wants to write a novel about a case that he investigated 25 years before. Soledad Villamil plays the character of his boss. Lawyer Menandez-Hastings, an attractive woman that is the love of his life, but whom he never dared to date. Argentinians can translate the name Menandez-Hastings as indicating upper class upbringing, money and power.
Campanella also depicts the urban differences among the poor who need the train or -as an irony of the film- bus 96 to reach Capital Federal coming from the poor suburbs of Laferrere, Isidro Casanova or Gonzalez Catan to work as construction workers or maids.In a country like Argentina that has gone through six dictatorships and many financial crises in the 20th century we need to deal with many painful memories, and that is why the issue of memory is central to our lives. How we remember, what we remember, what we choose to forget, and how we deal with victims and murderers are issues still current. Just recently "The Museum of Memory" ("El Museo de la Memoria") was unveiled in Buenos Aries, at the ESMA (Escuela de Mecanica de la Armada) the largest concentration camp that functioned during the last dictatorship (1976-1983.)
For more information (in English) please visit the site: http://www.memoriaabierta.org.ar/
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
A new exhibition of Latin American photographers opens today at Instituto Cervantes.
It's free and open to the public.
Fotografía emergente latinoamericana
20 de abril
Instituto Cervantes Nueva York
211E 49th st, entre las avenidas 2 y 3.
Nueva York, NY 10002
El Instituto Cervantes Nueva York se complace en anunciar la recepción
inaugural de Resiliencia, una exposición de fotografía latinoamericana
emergente considerada una de las mejores muestras de arte realizadas
en España el año pasado. Ganadora del Premio del Público M2 EL Mundo
como mejor exposición de PhotoEspaña 2009, Resiliencia presenta la
obra de diez jóvenes fotógrafos latinoamericanos que participaron en
de la sección Discoveries del prestigioso festival de fotografía. De
un total de 342 fotógrafos de la región, un jurado nombrado por
PHotoEspaña hizo una selección de 40 proyectos para participar en la
panorámica de portafolios que tuvo lugar en los Centros Culturales de
España en Ciudad de México y Lima. Posteriormente, el comisario
designado por el Instituto Cervantes, Claudi Carreras, identificó el
trabajo de 10 creadores para componer esta exposición que representa
un recorrido heterodoxo por el quehacer fotográfico contemporáneo de
América Latina, donde todo tipo de estilos y temas encuentran su
En Latinoamérica el proceso artístico surge en medio del caos
político, económico y social. La mayoría de obras alude, desde una
variedad de puntos de vista, a la capacidad de adaptación y
supervivencia de una sociedad que está sujeta a constantes
fluctuaciones; una necesidad de adaptación que afecta no solo los
puntos de referencia de estos proyectos, sino también a los artistas y
sus modos de representar.
Los fotógrafos escogidos por PHE Discoveries, Ciudad de México son
Dante Busquets, Ramiro Chaves, Livia Corona, Nicola Okin Frioli, Oscar
Fernando Gómez Rodríguez, Mark Powell y Pavka Segura. Los
seleccionados por PHE Discoveries Lima son Ana Cecilia Gonzales Vigil,
Morfi Jiménez y Tomás Munita.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
15 FILMS COMPETE FOR THE HAVANA STAR PRIZE.
HERE IS THE PRESS RELEASE:
April 16-23, 2010 with special events April 7 & 9
New York City, March 26, 2010. The Havana Film Festival New York (HFFNY) launches its second decade, April 16-23, with a program of award-winning films, panel discussions, and Q&A sessions with noted international filmmakers, actors and producers. Special events are scheduled for April 7th at El Museo del Barrio and April 9th at the Bronx Museum of the Arts. Over 40 highly anticipated and influential films from and about Latin America, the Caribbean and Latinos in the U.S. will be screened. A variety of genres and themes from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Cuba, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, U.S. and Uruguay, ranging from comedy, thrillers, drama, film noir and children’s tales, as well as films and documentaries about the influence of music and dance are all part of this year’s Festival.
On April 16th, HFFNY opens with the New York premiere of the Brazilian film, Veronica, 1 pm at the Quad Cinema, the Festival’s primary screening venue. The Opening Night Ceremony and Screening takes place at the New York Directors Guild Theatre, 110 West 57th Street, at 7 pm with the New York premiere of Los Dioses Rotos, the box office sensation and award-winning film by Cuban director Ernesto Daranas. Actress Silvia Aguila will present the film.
Since its inception, HFFNY has recognized and celebrated some of the most illustrious Latin American filmmakers in the industry. Continuing this tradition, HFFNY 2010 honors renowned Cuban writer, director, poet, actor and dramatist Enrique Pineda Barnet, who has given the public more than 4 decades of unforgettable cinema. HFFNY pays him tribute with screenings of Cosmorama, considered the precursor to the contemporary video art movement, and today is part of the permanent collection at the Centro Reina Sofia de España (Queen Sofia of Spain Center); La Bella de la Alhambra, Best Picture winner of the prestigious Goya award; and La Anunciación, his most recent film about the reunion of state-side Cubans and their families.
As the festival enters its second decade, HFFNY established the Havana Star Prize to recognize the work of outstanding filmmakers in the categories of Best Film, Best Director, and Best Screenplay. The first Havana Star prizes will be awarded at the Closing Night Ceremony on April 23rd at 7 pm at the New York Directors Guild Theatre. Internationally renowned Cuban artist, Yoan Capote, designed the Havana Star Prize especially for HFFNY. The recipients will be chosen by three prominent members of the film industry, producers Michael Hausman (Gangs of New York, Brokeback Mountain, The People vs. Larry Flynt), and Sandy Lieberson (The Rolling Stones’ Rock and Roll Circus, Stardust) and director Louis Perego (President of National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP) NY Chapter, owner of Skyline Features, a bilingual (English and Spanish) multimedia and educational production company.
FOR MORE INFORMATION GO TO: www.hffny.com
I didn't see it yet, but as an Argentinian I'm very proud that the movie by Juan Jose Campanella opens in a commercial theatre in New York City. It was a huge success in Argentina and I hope it will be successful here too.
You can see a full review in the New York Times.
I found out that will be shown in:
Angelika Film Center New York
18 West Houston Street
I don't know yet about another theaters.
I wrote a previous post about this movie.
Please support Latin American Cinema!
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
After Passover I'm ready to write again.
Bolivia by Adrian Caetano
Argentina, 1hr. 15 min.
The plight of the immigrant is universal. In this movie set up in "a parrilla" in Buenos Aires we encounter Freddy, a Bolivian who had left his family behind to try his luck in Argentina.
He finds a job in a restaurant cooking "parrillada", an assortment of meats, including the famous Argentinian "chorizo sandwich."
The movie takes place in 2001, the year of a major financial crisis in Argentina. There are many unemployed; some people feel threatened about immigrants taking their jobs. Does it sound familiar?
For many years Bolivians, Paraguayans and Peruvians had come to Argentina to escape poverty in their homelands. Their struggle to make ends meet and send money home it is not an easy one.
Because of financial constraints, Adrian Caetano had to film this movie in three day intervals over a three year period.
Monday, March 8, 2010
EL SECRETO DE SUS OJOS won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film!!!
I didn't see it yet but it was seen by 2,5 million Argentinians, a record in the country.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Today I want to write about the second movie by Argentinian filmmaker Lucrecia Martel.
The Holy Girl/La nina santa.
Lucrecia Martel, 2004
Argentina, 104 minutes
Lucrecia Martel writes and directs her movies. It's cinema d'auteur. The films are set on the North of Argentina where she's from. She was born in Salta and if you pay attention and know enough Spanish you can hear a slightly different accent that the Argentinian accent from Buenos Aires (porteno) usually heard in Argentinian movies.
This film is set in a crumbling Hotel Termas where a medical convention is being hosted.
As a child, Lucrecia used to stay with her parents in this hotel on winter vacations.
The film captures the lives of Amalia and Josefina, two teenagers who are best friends.
Amalia is the hotel owner's daughter. Her mother is played by Mercedes Moran, an actress that we encountered before on 'La Cienaga." She is a divorced woman who is very closed to her brother (Alejandro Urdapilleta.) They have an interesting relationship. Together they run the hotel as a pair of children-grown up adults.
The two girls attend Catholic groups and Catechism lessons. This is based on Lucrecia's life too. She used to attend these type of groups.
After an encounter with Doctor Jano (Carlos Belloso) Amalia will get in touch with her own sexuality and would like to deliver him from inappropriate behaviour.
Monday, February 1, 2010
When my editor wrote me an e-mail telling me that Tomas Eloy Martinez had died I got goose bumps. He was one of my favorite novelists. He was also a well-known journalist writing for many newspapers. I tried to interview him last year for the Daily News/Hora Hispana after he published "Purgatorio" but I didn't succeed. I didn't know then, that he was not living in New Jersey anymore or teaching at Rutgers University. He was living again in Argentina and he was battling cancer.
His novels are translated into many languages, so i suggest that if you never have read " La Novela de Peron"/ "The Peron Novel" about Domingo Peron or "Santa Evita" about Evita Peron please go ahead and pick up a copy. You will not regret it. You will be immersed in the world of Peronism and Argentina's history by the hand of a great novelist and you won't be able to stop reading.
He met Peron and interviewed him so he used his tapes to create a portrait of a very controversial man who still has a big presence in Argentina.
"Santa Evita" is Evita's life before and after she died. Yes, you will not believe what happened to her body after she died. Sometimes life doesn't seem verosimil. The flames that Evita ignited didn't die with her and when she died her body was robbed and finished in different hands. If you want to know more about the real Evita, not the one in the Broadway show but the human being you have to read it.
Another book I enjoyed is "El Vuelo de la Reina" /"The Flight of the Queen".
Monday, January 25, 2010
One kept secret is Repertorio Espanol, the leading Spanish theatre in the city which presents plays by Jorge Amado (Dona Flor and sus dos maridos), Mario Vargas Llosa (Pantaleon y las Visitadoras), classics like the works of Federico Garcia Lorca or Cervantes or plays by emerging Latino playwrights.
During January the theater is offering a$ 10 discount to some plays. The plays are performed in Spanish with English translation.
The Off Broadway Theatre is located at 138 East, 27 Street near Lexington Avenue in Manhattan.
For more information go to: www.repertorio.org or call: 212-225-9920.
Let's talk about the film:
The Aura/El Aura
As I already wrote about Nine Queens, I want to share with you another film by Argentinian director Fabian Bielinsky.
Ricardo Darin, the same actor who appeared in Nine Queens, is Espinoza, a taxidermist who suffers random bouts of epilepsy.
Before the attacks he gets an aura. He also has a photographic memory and he dreams about using it in a major robbery.
He will have the opportunity during a trip to the south, to Patagonia.
A fast thriller, Argentinian style.
Unfortunately the last movie made by Bielinsky who died in his forties.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Although I write mostly about Latin American films in this blog, I decided to incorporate worthwhile exhibitions and shows by Latin American artists as well.
Don't miss Gabriel Orozco's exhibition at MOMA!
Let's face it...not everyday a Latin American artist -in this case a Mexican- gets a major retrospective of his wok in one of the best American museums.
I am following his career since I first encountered his work: "My hands are my Heart", 1991: two photos of himself holding a piece of clay shaped as a heart with the imprints of his fingers. I bought the postcard and still is on a shelf in my bedroom.
You can visit this exhibition with your children. I think kids will enjoy the grey whale turned sculpture hanging up in the second floor. Pay attention to the graphite drawings. They are astounding. "Mobile Matrix" is on view for the first time outside Mexico.
The exhibition runs from December 13, 2009 until March 1, 2010 in the second floor and the sixth floor.
According to the Museum of Modern Art:
It is the first major museum retrospective of the artist Gabriel Orozco (Mexican, b. 1962), who since the early 1990s has forged a career marked by continuing innovation and has become one of the leading artists of his generation. This midcareer retrospective examines two decades of Orozco’s career in an exhibition of some 80 works, revealing how the artist roams freely and fluently among drawing, photography, sculpture, installation, and painting to create a heterogeneous body of objects that resists categorization. Works in the exhibition come from international public and private collections, including the collection of The Museum of Modern Art. Gabriel Orozco is organized by Ann Temkin, The Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis Chief Curator of Painting and Sculpture, The Museum of Modern Art, with Paulina Pobocha, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Painting and Sculpture, The Museum of Modern Art. It will be on view in The International Council of The Museum of Modern Art Gallery, sixth floor.
For more information go to: www.moma.org
Thursday, January 7, 2010
La Cienaga/The Swamp won the first place as the Best Latin American movie of the decade on a survey organized by Cinema Tropical. Please check my previous post "Survey" for more details about the poll.
Director Lucrecia Martel portraits the lives of two women and their families during a hot summer in the North of Argentina. Martel was born in Salta and I like the fact that she sets her movies in this province, instead of Buenos Aires.
As I have family in Tucuman, the province next to Salta I have visited the region several times and I suggest that if you ever have a chance to travel to Argentina you do too. In Spanish Salta is called "Salta la linda" because it's a very pretty place.
The landscape is very different from urban Buenos Aires, the food is amazing...how to forget the empanadas saltenas and the humitas...
People have a different accent (if you know Spanish pay attention!) Even the sense of time is not alike... Because of the summer heat, stores close around noon and reopen many hours after. City dwellers go home to take a "siesta", a nap.
In this movie Graciela Borges -a very well known Argentinian actress- plays Mecha, an alcoholic and mother of four teenagers who is afraid to finish her days lying in bed for years as her mother once did, but doesn't do too much to avoid that fate. Her husband doesn't help her too much to improve the situation. The movie follows her family and her cousin's (the great Mercedes Moran) during a hot summer that seem endless and that revolves around a pool...
La Cienaga/The Swamp
1 hour.40 min
I can't believe we are in 2010 already!
I hope 2010 brings salud, dinero, amor y tiempo para disfrutarlos!
Health, money, love and time to enjoy it all.
On December 31st 2009 I watched with my husband and children an Argentinian movie that I want to recommend: "Nine Queens" and I 'm happy to report that my tween daughter liked it!!!
Nine Queens/Nueve Reinas, 2000
Arghentina, 115 min.
I have to say that the movie has some bad language, but that's how it's in Argentina's streets these days...
In any case perhaps some of you remember the movie because it was shown in New York cinemas, an amazing acomplishment for an Argentinian movie. I remember going to watch the movie near Lincoln Center and feeling so good about it...
Unfortunately , Fabian Bielinsky, the film's director died of a heart attack in 2006 at only 47 years old.
The movie is a puzzle and a thriller and has an interesting ending...Oh! I can't say anymore...Sorry. You have to watch it!
And remember apart from Netflix if you live in New York City (sorry Gerardo!) you can get it at the NYPL (you can book it online and send it to the library closer to your address.)