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Central American Film Festival in Tokyo

Scenes and stories of contemporary Central America will be shared through films in Tokyo next week.

The embassies of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua are organizing the Central American Film Festival as part of the events to celebrate 80 years of diplomatic relations between Japan and the five Central American countries.

“It’s a good opportunity for us to work together, which may enhance the sense of unity among us as a region,” Ambassador of Nicaragua Saul Arana said. “Also, it’s very important for us to introduce more of our cultural aspects to Japanese audiences.”

During the five-day event, each evening is dedicated to one of the five countries.

On June 1, the festival will open with “Princesas Rojas” (“Red Princesses”) from Costa Rica, a film that tells the story of a family of Sandinista activists — who fled from Nicaragua to Costa Rica in the 1980s — through the eyes of an 11-year-old girl.

Laura Astroga, the director, is scheduled to travel to Japan and attend a Q&A session after the screening on the day.

“The story is based on her own experiences as a child,” Charge d’Affairs of Costa Rica Lilian Rodriguez said.

Salvadorian Oscar Torres’ “Voces Inocentes” (“Innocent Voices”) to be screened on June 4 also depicts a family affected by social events, portraying an 11-year-old boy during the civil war.

“I chose this film because it shows an important part of the Salvadorian spirit; even under terrible circumstances, Salvadorian people have positive attitudes and a love of life,” Ambassador of El Salvador Martha Zelayandia explained.

Another Japanese-subtitled film is “Lubaraun” from Nicaragua to be shown on June 2. Directed by Maria Jose Alvarez and Martha Clarissa Hernandez, the ethnographic film features Garifuna people in the setting of the Caribbean coast, revealing their world-view, highlighting a journey back to their roots, a reunion with their ancestors and a story of a family.

“El Vuelo del Azacuan” (“The Flight of the Swainson’s Hawk”) from Guatemala to be screened on June 5 with English subtitles is a documentary that depicts the life of the indigenous people living in the mountains of Guatemala and their relations with migratory Swainson’s hawks. Also, there will be a screening of selected short films from Honduras on June 3.

The Central American Film Festival takes place from June 1 to 5 at 7 p.m. (6:30 p.m. on June 1) at the Instituto Cervantes in Tokyo (2-9 Rokubancho, Chiyoda Ward). Admission is free. Reservations are required and can be made at reservas.palabras.jp. For more information, call 03-5210-1800 or visit tokio.cervantes.es.