The Lips (Los Labios)

The Lips (Los Labios)
Educational/Institutional DVD: $298
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A film by Iván Fund and Santiago Loza. Argentina, “Los Labios,” 2010, 100 minutes. In Spanish with English subtitles.
For classroom use in: Argentina, Film Studies, Health and Healthcare, Latin American Studies, Sociology, Women’s Studies

About the Film
Winner of the Cannes Film Festival Certain Regard Award for Best Actress, a prize shared by the film’s three leads (Adela Sanchez, Eva Bianco, and Victoria Raposo), this subtle, challenging mix of documentary and narrative filmmaking follows a trio of women who deeply inhabit their cinematic roles as social workers interacting with members of an impoverished rural Argentine neighborhood. Facing poverty that threatens to overwhelm even the greatest reserves of calm, humor, and empathy, the three move into makeshift living quarters in a run-down hospital. They then begin the work of recording data on the needs of the community and getting to know each other, while trying to make their living quarters habitable… and still find time for an occasional night out. Written and directed by Iván Fund and Santiago Loza, with cinematography by Maria Laura Collasso, The Lips is minutely observed, naturalistic, and haunting.

About the Filmmakers
Co-director Iván Fund was born in San Cristóbal, Argentina, in 1984 and grew up in Crespo, Entre Ríos. In 2005, he directed his first short film, Vals, which received a Special Jury Mention at the Mar del Plata International Film Festival. In 2006, he directed the short films Sirenas and El Baile, and received, among other awards, a Georges Meliés Short Film Prize from the Alliance Française. In 2007, he directed the short films Divergir and Un Punto Fijo, as well as the short feature Cicope, made in collaboration with Patricio Toscano. In 2009, he directed his first feature film, The Laugh (La Risa). The Lips is his second feature film.

Co-director Santiago Loza was born in Córdoba, Argentina, in 1971. In 1998, he directed his first short film, Lara y Los Trenes. In 2003, his first feature film, Strange (Extraño), won the Tiger Award for Best Film at the Rotterdam Film Festival. Loza subsequently directed the feature film Four Barefooted Women (Cuatro Mujeres Descalzas) in 2005; Arctic (Artico) and Pink Motherland (Rosa Patria) in 2008; and The Invention of Flesh (La Invencion de la Carne) in 2009. He is also a playwrite and the co-founder of the Elefante Theater Club. The Lips is his seventh feature film.  

In the Press
This documentary offers a fascinating and realist view of the sacrifices of three social workers as they endeavor to improve the living conditions for the victims of poverty in rural Argentina. The film should be recommended for mature viewers in higher education who are interested in social services and the Hispanic culture.”—Dana Ward, Arkansas Tech University, Anthropology Review Database

“The closely framed shots offer, literally, the face of compassion.”—Steve Dollar, The Wall Street Journal

“Moving [and] remarkably organic.”—Benjamin Mercer, The Village Voice

“Critic’s Pick! A small film with a gigantic heart, The Lips casts a spell far greater than its modest narrative. Shadowing three government social workers (perfectly embodied by Victoria Raposo, Eva Bianco and Adela Sanchez) on a trip deep into the impoverished Argentine countryside, this affecting merger of fact and fiction unfolds so naturally that the line between becomes immaterial. …A minimalist poem to the not-so-simple act of survival.”—Jeannette Catsoulis, The New York Times

“What is unique about this film is the manner in which it weaves dramatic fiction film techniques with non-fiction documentary approaches… The film is a simple portrait of 3 women working together, revealing themselves to each other slowly and to the audience at the same time. Questions are left unanswered as they would be in a Fred Wiseman documentary. …it provides the kind of immediacy that has been popular for a number of years in the tightly framed close-ups found in the films of the Dardenne brothers among others. This is a method that gives the look of a documentary in fiction films. The film thus continues the contemporary tradition of docudrama. Recommended for Latin American studies and film studies areas as well as for anyone interested in contemporary Argentinian film. Recommended.”—Educational Media Reviews Online

Festivals & Awards

Winner, Un Certain Regard Best Actress, Cannes Film Festival
Nominatee, Heterodox Award, Cinema Eye Honors
Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente (BAFICI)
Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival Festival de Cine de Lima Festival Internacional de Cine de Gijon
Hamburg Film Festival
Warsaw Film Festival
Thessaloniki International Film Festival
Villeurbanne Festival
Reflets du cinéma ibérique et latino-américain
Migrating Forms
Nominatee, Best Feature Film, Cinema Tropical Award

Watch the Trailer

Press Material
Click to download the “The Lips” Press Kit
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