Festival '90 : MOVIE REVIEWS : Vivid South American Images

More than 100 films and videos representing 25 Pacific Rim cultures are being screened through Sunday. Highlights of programs today and Thursday are reviewed here:

Today

Love, Women and Flowers

Colombia Today at 10 p.m. at AMC Theaters, 1310 Third St. Promenade, Santa Monica; Friday at 8 p.m., AFI Marta Rodriguez and Jorge Silva's documentary is a hard-hitting expose of intolerable working conditions in what might seem one of Colombia's more benign industries: the flower exporting business. Rodriguez and Silva focus on flower handlers and pest controllers, many of whom become poisoned by long-term exposure to dangerous pesticides--controlled in the United States but not in Colombia--which leave their bodies ravaged by disease. Are inhumane practices here less important than the ravages of the cocaine trade, which has plunged Colombia into its current chaos? Perhaps; but the filmmakers uncover links there as well: Flower shipments are often used as covers for drug smuggling. Rodriguez and the late Silva--her longtime companion, who died before this film's release--are brave and progressive chroniclers in a country where such courage is presently at a premium.

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