Colombian Celluloid

If you thought smuggling cocaine from Colombia was difficult, try importing 14 films on old-school 35mm reels. "I am still struggling with the transportation of 400 pounds of film from Bogotá to Fort Lauderdale," Luis Duno-Gottberg, an assistant professor in the department of languages and linguistics at Florida Atlantic University, told us recently. "I was able to negotiate so I don't have to cover the cost of sending the film back!"

By seeing Colombia through the eyes of Colombian filmmakers during Duno-Gottberg's Colombian Film Festival, you'll learn that the country isn't all about drug deals, prostitutes, and gunfire... although that is a big part of it. But you'll be surprised. For example, when director Víctor Gaviria did research for his film Sumas y Restas (Additions and Subtractions), he found that dealers spent more time pushing calculator buttons than pushing the actual dope. Sumas y Restas is set in Medellín in the 1980s, when Pablo Escobar's drug cartel was at the height of its power. Using handheld cameras, high-speed montages, and nonactors (like a real-life taxi driver) playing many roles, Gaviria shows us how the deals really went down (hint: The cops in pursuit did not go sockless and wear pink blazers, à la Crockett and Tubbs). Three films by Gaviria will be shown on Saturday -- Rodrigo D. No Futuro (1988) at 4 p.m., La Vendedora de Rosas (1998) at 6, and Sumas y Restas (2004) at 8. The director will be present for a discussion after the screenings.

Other films on tap are Bajo el Cielo Antioqueño (Under the Antiquarian Sky, a 1925 silent film), showing at 8 p.m. Friday; Cóndores No Se Entierran Todos los Días (A Man of Principle, 1984), which screens at 4 p.m. Sunday and will be introduced by a video letter sent by author Gustavo Alvarez Gardeázabal; and La Primera Noche (The First Night, 2003) at 6 p.m. Sunday. The festival continues next weekend too.

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Deirdra Funcheon