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Ism, Ism, Ism: Dreams of Suitcases and a Blue Lobster

Ism, Ism, Ism: Dreams of Suitcases and a Blue Lobster

La langosta azul (The Blue Lobster)

Los Angeles Filmforum is pleased to launch Ism, Ism, Ism: Experimental Cinema in Latin America (Ismo, Ismo, Ismo: Cine Experimental en América Latina) at REDCAT. Ism, Ism, Ism is an unprecedented, five-month film series —the first in the U.S.—that surveys Latin America’s vibrant experimental production from the 1930s through today. Revisiting classic titles and introducing recent works by key figures and emerging artists, Ism Ism Ism takes viewers on a journey through a wealth of materials culled from unexpected corners of Latin American film archives. This marathon opening weekend includes a panel with curators and scholars and six film programs: Latin American surrealist shorts; films made in Southern California by Latinas and Latin American women; a solo presentation by veteran Chicano filmmaker Willie Varela; “camera-less” films by artists from several countries; documents of diverse countercultural movements; and revelatory shorts regarding revolutionary icon Che Guevara.  The panel is free. 

Ism Ism Ism is accompanied by a bilingual publication (from University of California Press) placing Latino and Latin American experimental cinema within a broader dialogue that explores different periods, cultural contexts, image-making models, and considerations of these filmmakers within international cinema. 

Ism, Ism, Ism is part of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, a far-reaching and ambitious exploration of Latin American and Latino art in dialogue with Los Angeles. 

The film series will continue through January 2017 at multiple venues, organized by Filmforum.

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Major support for Ism Ism Ism is provided through grants from the Getty Foundation. Significant additional support comes from the Andy Warhol Foundation for Visual Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts.
Pacific Standard Time is an initiative of the Getty. The presenting sponsor is Bank of America.

Our first screening of thie weekend highlights historical short films influenced by surrealism, including Álvaro Cepeda Zamudio’s and Gabriel García Márquez’s renowned La langosta azul (The Blue Lobster, 1954, 29’), Raúl Ruiz’s previously lost La maleta (The Suitcase, 1963, 20’), and Argentinian photographer Horacio Coppola’s landmark Traum (Sueño, 1933, 2’).

“Lost, and only found and re-edited towards the end of Ruiz’s career, La maleta contains a unique surreal and symbolic idea. A man packs his things into a suitcase, but it seems his possessions possess him as they take on a life of their own and turn into a human being.” –

“Considered a key film of Latin American experimental cinema, The Blue Lobster is the cinematographic testimony of an unfulfilled filmmaker called to become a giant of literature.” – Faena Aleph

“In Traum, Coppola constructs his own experience of passage from the avant-gardes to high modernism.” – David Oubiña

In Person: Colombian curator Marta Lucía Vélez