Luis Ospina is a penetrating observer and commentator on Colombian reality and cinema. A founder of the Grupo de Cali / The Cali Group, a pioneering group of filmmakers, artists and writers active in Cali, Colombia, whose influential exploration of social reality and popular genres extends from the 1970s into the present. Presented together with the 10th Discovering Latin America Film Festival, this season will be accompanied by a rare London appearance by Luis Ospina who will present the screenings and discuss his remarkable body of work.
The Grupo de Cali was composed of Carlos Mayolo, Andrés Caicedo, Hernando Guerrero, and other artists in Cali, the third largest city in Colombia. Together they founded the Cali Cine Club, the magazine Ojo al cine and the artistic community Ciudad Solar where they held many screenings, events and discussions. Helping each other to make work, the group ushered in a vibrant cinema culture in Colombia and produced a critical body of work unique in the context of Latin America.
This series will explore the legacy of this group with a selection of rare films from the 1970s. Luis Ospina made his first films in the early 1970s collaborating with fellow filmmaker Carlos Mayolo on two milestones in history of Third Cinema. Their film Oiga Vea / Hear, See 1972 explores class conflict in Cali under the guise of documenting the Pan-American games and Agarrando Pueblo / The Vampires of Poverty 1978 criticised the ‘pornomisery’ prominent in political film of the period. These classic works critique the divisions in society and the spectacle of ‘poverty’ in political cinema. Ospina’s personal essay film Andrés Caicedo: Unos Pocos Buenos Amigos 1986 is a portrait of one of the most important writers in Latin America, the cult author Andrés Caicedo (1951-1977) who committed suicide on the day of the publication of his groundbreaking novel ¡Que viva la música! / Liveforever 1977.
Exploring the legacy of this period, two later works show the different directions Ospina explored in his work. The allegorical thriller Pure Blood is a commentary on the vampirism at the heart of capitalism in Latin America made in the guise of a B-Movie. The season will conclude with Ospina’s most recent film, Un tigre de papel / A Paper Tiger 2007. This essay film explores the 20th Century through the life of artist Pedro Manrique Figueroa, a pioneer of collage in Colombia whose adventurous life is filled with contradictions that draw together art, politics, truth and fiction.
Curated by George Clark and organised together with Agata Lulkowska as part of the 10th Discovering Latin America Film Festival, 27 November – 4 December. With additional support from the Colombian Ministry of Culture.
Listen to the event recording: