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The ‘Ties That Bind’ film festival comes to a close with ‘Julia, Toda En Mi’

The poetic Spanish language film, “Julia, Toda En Mi,” drew a crowd at the last showcase of the Ties that Bind Latin American Film Series festival Thursday night.

 

“Julia, Todo En Mi,” or “Julia, All In Me” translated in English, is directed by Ivonne Bel (“Una Pasión Llamada Clara Lair”) and is a true story based on the life of the great Puerto Rican poet Julia de Burgos.

 

“It’s not a movie,” Chicano and Latino Studies instructor Victor Rodriguez said. “It’s basically a documentary.”

 

Burgos’s story was told in a series of letters that she wrote to her sister, Consuelo. She talks about the hardships that she experienced being away from her home in Puerto Rico and traveling between New York and Cuba.

 

Actors such as Benicio del Toro (“Snatch”) and Jacobo Morales (“Lo Que Le Pasó A Santiago”) were among the various artists, directors and writers that read Burgos’s poems in-between segments of the film.

 

Of the poems read, Del Toro gives the most powerful reading of a touching poem called “Dame Mi Numero” (“Give me my Number”). It is a beautiful poem with the closing line in English, “Give me my number, because if not, I will die after death.”

 

This film is definitely geared toward fans of her work. Those who are not familiar with her poems or her life will have a hard time watching the film.

 

The film tells her story almost entirely in Burgos’s own words through her letters and poems.  It is a unique way to tell the story of her life, rather than presenting only straightforward interviews. 

 

The film’s style was fitting for the life of a poet. The way it was presented in Burgos’s own words makes the film feel like a poem itself.

 

Unlike previous films in the series that were presented in 35 mm film print, this feature was presented on a DVD.

 

Unfortunately, at the end of the film, the disc had some problems, making the final poem unwatchable because it kept skipping and ended up pixilated.

 

“It was a tragic end to a beautiful film,” Jerry Mosher, chair of the Film and Electronic Arts department said.

 

This film concluded the ‘Ties that Bind’ series that was put together by José Sánchez-H. from the film department. According to Mosher, Sánchez has put on this film festival for the past 10 years.

 

“In each of the films presented, the main characters have ties that bind them to other people and their countries,” Sánchez said via email. “The theme ‘Ties that Bind’ focuses on the way we are connected with places and people.”

 

Sánchez didn’t attend film screenings this month because he is on medical leave.

 

Despite the abrupt ending due to technical problems, the Ties that Bind Latin American Film Series festival featured an array of life stories that was both interesting and insightful toward that culture.

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