The 13th edition of Ecuador’s Encuentros del Otro Cine, better known as EDOC, begins tomorrow, Thursday May 22 in Quito, where it runs through Sunday, June 1, with screenings also held in Guayaquil between May 24 and June 3. Focused on championing free speech and building up national nonfiction, the event annually promotes cross-cultural awareness, showcasing not only Ecuadorian and Latin American documentary, but works from all over the world in the approximately 120-strong line-up. Non-competitive, the event features thematic programming and retrospectives, with some highlights indicated below.
Ancho y Ajeno (broad and strange) offers a panoramic view of documentary world cinema, including David Rubio’s 13 PUERTAS (13 DOORS), a verité look at a year of sociology classes taught to prisoners and guards at an Argentinean prison; Jorge Gil Munarriz’s EL MÉTODO ARRIETA (THE ARRIETA METHOD), about disabled sisters who are able to communicate through eye movements; and Sandra Rozental and Jesse Lerner’s LA PIEDRA AUSENTE (THE ABSENT STONE) (pictured), on the legacy of the removal of an antiquity from a Mexican town in 1964.
Ecuadorean subjects take the spotlight in the fest’s annual How We Are Seen, How We See Ourselves sidebar, which this year includes: Tito Molina’s SILENCIO EN LA TIERRA DE LOS SUENOS (SILENCE IN THE LAND OF DREAMS) (pictured), an evocative profile of a widow’s daily life; Andrés Cornejo Pinto’s LA CLARA Y OSCURA (THE LIGHT AND DARK), on a small community’s struggle with industrial pollution; Libertad Gills Arana’s COMUNA ENGABAO (ENGABAO COMMUNE), a portrait of an indigenous fishing community’s resistance to the encroachment of development; and José Antonio Guayasamin’s CARLITOS, which follows a young disabled man for three years.
Additional recent docs featured in the festival include Mary Jiménez and Bénédicte Liénard’s SOBRE LAS BRASAS, about a family of artisanal coal merchants in the remote Peruvian Amazon, in the fest’s Frontera Sur section; Khristine Gillard’s COCHIHZA, a dreamlike exploration of the significance of dual volcanoes on a Nicaraguan island, in the Landscape section; George Walker Torres’ SIN VUELTA (NO RETURN), about an imprisoned mother and daughter living in Caracas, in the Portrait section; and Anna Recalde Miranda’s PODER E IMPOTENCIA, UNA TRAGEDIA EN 3 ACTOS (POWER AND POWERLESSNESS, A TRAGEDY IN 3 ACTS), a look at the rise and fall of Paraguay’s political leaders between 2008-2013, in EDOC’s Word Politics sidebar. Other sections include contemporary views of Russian life in Putin’s Russia, a focus on youth in The Early Years, looks at love in The Divine Romance, and a retrospective of Czech director Helena Trestiková.