World Cinema Amsterdam | Internationaal filmfestival | 18 – 27 Augustus 2016

South America’s third-smallest country, Uruguay, was long known as the 'Switzerland of South America' as everyday life there was characterised by peace, political stability and economic prosperity. In 1973, a military coup changed all that, marking the beginning of a cruel dictatorship. Before long, the country was being called 'South America’s retirement home', as so many young Uruguayans fled abroad.

Eventually, the dictatorship was overcome. Uruguay now has a reputation as one of Latin America’s fastest-growing economies, as well as one of the most progressive countries in the world: same-sex marriage and the sale and use of cannabis have been legalized and the country's children are given their own laptops when they start school. In short, Uruguay is doing really well, and this is reflected in the quality of films produced there.

Uruguay has a long filmmaking tradition. the first Uruguayan film was shot as early as 1898: CARRERA DE CICLISMO EN EL VELODROME DE ARROYO SECO (A Bicycle Race at the Arroyo Seco Velodrome). Since then, the development of the local film industry has more or less kept pace with industries in other major film countries, although of course there are ups and downs. Most prominently, documentaries have always done well in Uruguay.

Everything changed with the advent of the military dictatorship. Major filmmakers were forced to leave the country and film production more or less stagnated. The few films produced with military approval were massively ignored. The return of democracy and the economic recovery marked the revival of Uruguayan cinema. During the past ten years this has become particularly visible, for instance in the films by the two Pablos (Pablo Stoll and the now deceased Juan Pablo Rebella), as well as Adria?n Biniez; films that show everyday life in Uruguay with loads of understated humour. In the style of Aki Kaurisma?ki, but with a uniquely Uruguayan flavour.

 Retrato 6

Time and again, new film talent emerges. World Cinema Amsterdam has previously screened several Uruguayan films. It is high time to take a closer look at this film nation, with four long films and four shorts. The competition and open-air programme also feature films from Uruguay.

Directors Gonzalo lugo, Florencia Colucci, Emilia Carlevaro, Alicia Cano and Agusti?n Banchero will all be present during the festival.

For a complete overview, see Films A-Z