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A Matter Of Faith: Three Films By Luis Ospina

MUBI Special

We are terribly saddened by the passing this September of Luis Ospina, one of Latin America’s greatest cinema heroes. He leaves behind a career spanning six decades, more than thirty trailblazing films, and the inextinguishable fire of an unmatched faith in the seventh art.

His was a life devoted to the movies––first as a cinephile, then as a writer, director, editor, thinker, festival director, teacher, and as an actor. A founding member of the legendary Cali Group, a self-declared new generation of filmmakers that took cinema by storm in 60s Colombia, Ospina embodied the resistance to the official cinema he so stubbornly questioned.

MUBI is proud to present a triptych of his films, a small sample of his genius, that revolve around some of the recurring themes in his impressively rich body of work. Welcome to a cinema where lies are indiscernible from truths and where life and death coexist. Ospina’s is a cinema that exudes playfulness and celebrates self-reflexivity, one that defies conventions and puts the suspension of disbelief to test, a cinema eternally concerned with language and memory⁠—all this while being gracefully punctuated by an exquisite sense of humor.

Luis Ospina and Carlos Mayolo’s Vampires of Poverty, which opens this series, is, at only 28 minutes, one of the most important Colombian films ever made, and a landmark of Latin American cinema that not only coined the term “pornomiseria” (poverty porn) but also posed questions that changed the course of documentary cinema forever. Presenting it in a new restoration, this is a rare chance to see this groundbreaking work in its full splendor.

We had the pleasure and honour of working closely with Ospina on this selection, and we can only thank him once again for his generosity and for his paramount legacy that will keep inspiring and enlightening generations to come.

It All Started at the End

Luis Ospina Colombia, 2015

Our focus on Luis Ospina comes to an end the way he would have wanted: with the beginning. As much a personal memoir as an account of the history of Colombian cinema, this magnum opus confronts the inevitability of death by celebrating life: a life well lived, and unconditionally devoted to film.

A Paper Tiger

Luis Ospina Colombia, 2008

Next in our Luis Ospina tribute is this apocryphal doc playfully braiding reality, fiction and historical revisionism. Inviting the audience to participate in a game of deception, A Paper Tiger is a smart meditation on the elusive meaning of art—and cinema—where truth and lies become indiscernible.

The Vampires of Poverty

Luis Ospina, Carlos Mayolo Colombia, 1977

We were shaken by the recent death of Colombian legend Luis Ospina, whom we had the honor to work with on this selection. Presented in all its restored glory, Vampires is a Latin American cinema landmark—it coined the term pornomiseria (poverty porn), changing the course of documentary film forever.

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