December 9, 2011 | 6:30pm
The 29th Annual Miami International Film Festival is about 80 days away, but the board has broken us off a little sumthin' sumthin' to give us film junkies a reason to salivate for the next few months. Namely, the titles of the first ten films in the 2012 MIFF lineup, which will be competing for the Knight Ibero-American Grand Jury Prize. Four of the films have never been shown in North America before. Two others have never been seen in the United States. And not only will the films be in town, but their directors are also slated to hit the Magic City in order to present their films personally. Here's what event organizers are telling us so far:
1. The Porcelain Horse (Mejor No Hablar de Ciertas Cosas) is an Ecuadorian film directed by Javier Andrade. Making its North American debut at the MIFF, the film features two troubled brothers who steal a porcelain horse from their parents in order to buy drugs. This weird theft leads to a family feud that has lasting repercussions.
2. I'd Receive the Worst News From Your Beautiful Lips (Eu Receberia As Piores Notícias De Seus Lindos Lábios) A Brazilian film directed by Beto Brant and Renato Ciasca, this flick follows a beautiful woman caught in a tenuous love triangle between two men. To add to the sensuality, the melodrama is set against a steamy Amazonian backdrop.
3. Blood of My Blood (Sangue do Meu Sangue) In this film from Portugal, directed by João Canijo, two adult sisters fight to keep their family together in the face of the hardships of living in a Lisbon slum. But despite their efforts, the already ugly situation promises to get a lot uglier, fast.
4. Pescador In this film shot in Ecuador and Colombia and directed by Sebastián Cordero, a drug shipment washes up on a beach at the feet of Blanquito (Andrés Crespo). The guy has the opportunity to take his valuable surprise and leave his small fishing village for the big city. Making its North American premiere, the film is said to be a major breakaway from Cordero's previous work.
5. Bonsái Shot in Chile, Argentina, Portugal, and France and directed by Cristián Jiménez, this film is based on the seminal novel by Chilean author Alejandro Zambra. Julio, a struggling writer, pens a book about his first experience with love simply for the sake of keeping up a lie he told his lover.
6. Zoo (Zoológico) In the North American premiere of this Chilean film directed by Rodrigo Marín, we observe three teenage girls in an affluent Santiago suburb as they lap up American customs - among them malls, the Internet, pornography, skateboarding, and angst.
7. The Cat Vanishes (El Gato Desaparece) In this Argentine film from director Carlos Sorin, Beatriz picks up her husband Luis from the sanatorium, but she she's not convinced that he is cured. After the family cat vanishes in a peculiar manner, she begins to question her own sanity as well. This film will make its U.S. premiere at the MIFF.
8. Madrid, 1987 In this Spanish film from director David Trueba, the balance of power and desire shift during the meeting of an older journalist (José Sacristán) and a young student (María Valverde). Making its East coast premiere, the film is a meditation on youth, age, and the rhythms of relationships.
9. Violeta Went to Heaven (Violeta se Fue a Los Cielos) In this Chilean film from director Andrés Wood, we witness a portrait of famed Chilean singer, folklorist and multifaceted artist Violeta Parra (Francisca Gavilán).
10. The Sleeping Voice (La Voz Dormida) in this Spanish film from director Benito Zambrano, we meet two sisters caught in the dark days following the Spanish Civil War. They soon find themselves wrapped up in the frightening politics of the divided country. Its appearance at the MIFF marks the film's U.S. premiere.