Forced to slow down by the COVID-19 pandemic, Film Quarterly columnist Manuel Betancourt found himself drawn to films that embraced stillness. Marking a refreshing change from the urban settings that dominate much Latin American cinema, Los silencios (Beatriz Seigner, 2018), Selva trágica (Tragic Jungle, Yulene Olaizola, 2020), and Ceniza negra (Land of Ashes, Sofía Quirós Úbeda, 2019) are set in jungle and rural landscapes complete with lush, dreamy soundscapes. Privileging mood over plot, these films revel in their sense of being unmoored from familiar locales, becoming portals that open onto a different way of looking at the world.

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