WHAT DO Malaysians have in common with Latin Americans?
A lot, according to the deputy head of mission of the Colombian embassy, ââRaul Sanchez, who sits on the organizing committee of the Latin American Film Festival, which is now in its 19th series.
âThe first is football. Next come the telenovelas. The third is food, âSanchez said.
Chocolate, coffee, beef and wine were other favorites, he added.
No wonder the organizers chose to combine gastronomy and art during the opening night of the festival, which presented a selection of films from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Mexico and Peru in Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC) at Mid Valley Megamall, Kuala Lumpur.
The festival ended yesterday.
All screenings were free. The tickets provided could be redeemed at the ticket offices of the cinemas one hour before the screening time.
âWe also sent out invitations to Latin American communities here,â Sanchez said.
Known for their lively street parties – which, before the Covid-19 pandemic period, had drawn as many as 8,000 visitors – organizers admitted they need to cut it down this year.
Nonetheless, in his speech at the launch, Brazilian Ambassador to Malaysia Ary Norton de Murat Quintella said he was happy that the organizers had the opportunity to host a physical event rather than an online affair. .
âThis is the first on-site film festival in Malaysia since the start of the pandemic. It is an honor to be here today to greet you all in person â.
“This would not have been possible if the vaccination rate in Malaysia had not been as high as it is,” he said, praising Malaysians and the government for the excellent vaccination program. and the high level of adherence to it.
“I sincerely hope that this festival will pave the way for other cultural events on site and help us evolve towards a more normal way of life, in a post-pandemic reality,” said de Murat Quintella.
Singapore High Commissioner Vanu Gopala Menon (who is also the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps), Undersecretary for International Relations of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Dr Christina Yeo, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Business Foreign Minister for the Americas, Wan Aznainizam Yusri Wan Abdul Rashid, GSC group, also acknowledged in his speech. General Manager Koh Mei Lee and former Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry Ong Kian Ming.
Argentine Ambassador Manuel Balaguer Salas said that although the organizing committee managed to reduce the event in terms of guests at the GSC foyer, the atmosphere was no less strong.
The guests were entertained by dance performances, namely capoeira, tango and tapatÃo jarabe, the latter of which is known to Malaysians as the Mexican hat dance.
On the food side, Cuba offered a menu of chicken nuggets and guava paste while Argentina had its Malbec, which is a red wine made from purple grapes, as well as beef empanadas that looked a lot like curry puffs. local.
Brazil offered its national cocktail in the caipirinha, which is made with distilled fermented sugar cane juice and cheese bread.
The Colombians brought their arequipe – a milk jam that looks like our pandan kaya. It was spread on platelets.
The Peruvians brought pisco, which is their version of brandy.
âI’m having so much fun. For a moment, I thought I was back in Peru, which I visited,â Russian Ambassador Naiyl M. Latypov said, summarizing his experience of the event.
The Latin American Women’s Association sold cookbooks on Latin American cuisine at the event. Profits from the sale will be donated to charity.
The Latin American Film Festival is an annual event presented by the Latin American and Caribbean Embassies in Malaysia.
It aims to allow Malaysian audiences to experience Latin culture through films.