Sunday, April 04, 2010

Searching for Honduran Cinema

Last year, when I decided to track down a film from all the 32 countries taking part in this summer’s soccer world cup, I had not realized that searching for a Honduran film would prove to be such a difficult task. I always expected that an entry from North Korea would be a tough find but ultimately a Honduran film was the last found title of the 32 candidates. Five possible candidates were identified early on:

  • Spirit of My Mother (1999, Ali Allie)

  • No hay tierra sin dueño (The Land of the Ogres) (2002, Sami Kafati)

  • Amor y frijoles (2009, Mathew Kodath/Hernan Pereira)

  • Corazon Abierto (2005, Katia Lara)

  • El porvenir (2008, Oscar Estrada)

  • Amor y frijoles had a limited release in the US last year but all the trailers indicated a print existed without English subtitles. Spirit of My Mother and The Lang of the Ogres were not found on DVD although prints of Sami Kafati’s feature appear to be available for film festival purposes. Sami Kafati’s name came up quite a bit in searching for Honduran cinema as he is credited with making the first ever Honduran film in 1962 -- a 31 minute short film called Mi Amigo Angel. However, none of his short films appeared to be available.

    The last two entries in the list, Corazon Abierto and El porvenir, were found for viewing thanks to DocsOnline, the documentary film library. Interestingly, Corazon Abierto is a documentary about how Kafati’s No hay tierra sin dueño finally saw the light of day as Kafati died before he could finish the film. The documentary includes footage from the film and interviews with some of the actors and Kafati's family. Corazon Abierto is probably the closest I can get to seeing anything by or about Kafati.


    DocsOnline has some films available for free viewing but all films require creation of an account. And I only found two ways to create an account -- by buying a monthly subscription (around 9 euros a month) or by purchasing a pay per minute plan. I opted for the latter and the minimum available minutes for purchase are 100 minutes for a total of 3 Euros, which depending on the day of the week might end up being anywhere from 4-5 Canadian dollars. It turned out the running time of both Corazon Abierto and El porvenir was 98 minutes so 3 Euros were more than enough to end my quest for finding not one but two Honduran films. DocsOnline has interesting documentaries from all over the world and is also a very good resource for finding films from countries with limited cinematic output such as Nicaragua, Guatemala and Bolivia (to give three examples besides Honduras). Some of the listed films have no entries in and might be co-productions but they are the closest to finding films from certain countries.

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