Hola Mexico Film Festival’s return to the Frida Cinema is good news for cinema fans on this side of the border. Well, at least for this particular cinema fan because last year’s run included one of the best pictures I saw in 2018, Issa López’s Vuelven (Tigers Are Not Afraid).
Here is what’s on tap at this year’s fest, where films are presented in Spanish with English subtitles:
Las Niñas Bien (The Good Girls). In Alejandra Márquez Abella’s 2018 drama, a socialite (Ilse Salas) uses her infatuation with Spanish singer Julio Iglesias to escape the reality of her wealthy husband’s downfall amid Mexico’s 1982 economic crisis. Fri., 7:30 p.m.
Mirreyes vs. Godinez. Chava Cartas’ new comedy is about Genaro (Daniel Tovar), a young godín (a colloquial term for a low-level office worker), banding together with fellow employees against Santiago (Pablo Lyle), their new spoiled mirrey (which refers to the spawn of the wealthy) boss. Sat., 1:30 p.m.
El Ombligo de Guie’Dani (Guie’dani’s Navel). Xavi Sala’s 2018 drama is about the racism encountered by the indigenous people of Mexico, as seen through the eyes of a Zapotec teenager (Sótera Cruz). Sat., 4 p.m.
108 Costuras (108 Stitches). Fernando Kalife’s 2018 drama is about two pals (Kuno Becker and Jose Angel Bichir) who see their childhood pro baseball dreams realized. But their lifelong bond is fractured by fame, success and contracts. Sun., 3:30 p.m.
Como si Fuera la Primera Vez (It’s Like the First and Last Time). Mauricio Valle’s new rom-com is about a young man (Vadhir Derbez) who has a meet-cute with a young woman (Ximena Romo). When he tries to continue the magic the next day, he learns she has no memory of the night before and must re-woo her, again and again. Sun., 6 p.m.
Dulce Familia (Sweet Family). Nicolas Lopez’s bittersweet new comedy is about a talented baker (Fernanda Castillo) whose family is adamant she lose weight before marrying her loving fiancé (Vadhir Derbez). Mon., 7:30 p.m.
Si Yo Fuera Tú (If I Were You). Alejandro Lubezki’s 2018 comedy—which is a remake of the 2006 Brazilian film Se Eu Fosse Você (If I Were You)—has a bickering married couple (Sophie Alexander and Juan Manuel Bernal) switching consciousnesses after a rare cosmic event. Tues., 7:30 p.m.
La Boda de Mi Mejor Amigo (My Best Friend’s Wedding). Does the English title sound familiar? That’s because Ceslo Garcia’s new rom-com is a remake of the 1997 American version starring Julia Roberts and Cameron Diaz. When her longtime best friend (Carlos Ferro) pops the question to someone else, Julia (Ana Serradilla) realizes she loves him and tries to stop the wedding at any cost. Wed., 7:30 p.m.
Ocho de Cada Diez (Eight Out of Ten). Sergio Umansky Brener’s new psychological drama is about a man (Noé Hernández) whose son was violently murdered in broad daylight. After meeting a woman (Daniela Schmidt) who was also unjustly separated from her child, they form a dangerous alliance. Thurs., Nov. 21, 7:30 p.m.
Hola Mexico Film Festival at the Frida Cinema, 305 E. Fourth St., Santa Ana; thefridacinema.org. $7.50-$10.50.
UC Irvine has four intriguing-sounding films coming up that allow attendees to create their own mini-festival. Each includes an audience Q&A, refreshments and—get this—free admission!
The Infiltrators. Cristina Ibarra and Alex Rivera’s excellent new “hybrid” documentary, which I recently recommended when it played at OC Film Fiesta, mixes footage of real-life activists with re-creations made with actors. It depicts Dreamers who infiltrated a privately run Homeland Security detention facility in Florida to, at best, win detainee releases or, at worst, prevent deportations. Rivera attends a reception before and audience Q&A after the screening. Fri., 4 p.m.
Cry Out Loud. Dr. Ethiraj Gabriel Dattatreyan’s 2016 documentary explores the challenges that African nationals face as they make their lives in Delhi, India. Afterward, Anneeth Kaur Hundle, the Dhan Kaur Sahota Presidential Chair in Sikh Studies, leads a Q&A with the filmmaker. Tues., 3 p.m.
Tazzeka. Jean-Philippe Gaud’s 2018 French/Moroccan comedy is about a young man (Mahdi Belemlih) who is tempted to leave his Moroccan village after meeting a top Parisian chef (Olivier Sitruk) and a young woman (Ouidad Elma). European Languages and Studies professor Laura Klein leads a post-screening discussion. Tues., 5:30 p.m.
Containment. Harvard professors Peter Galison and Robb Moss’ 2015 documentary wonders what society will do with some of the deadliest, longest-lasting substances ever produced. A Q&A with Galison follows. Thurs., Nov. 21, 7 p.m.
UCI screenings at McCormick Screening Room, Humanities Gateway 1070, Irvine, (949) 824-6117, except Cry Out Loud, which screens at Social and Behavioral Sciences Gateway 1517, 234 Pereira Dr., Irvine, (949) 824-6803. Free.
OC Weekly Editor-in-Chief Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the alternative newsweekly’s first calendar editor.