Interview with Filipe Matzembacher & Marcio Reolon, directors of ‘Tinta bruta’

Wrapped around feelings of abandonment against a dull city of Porto Alegre, Tinta bruta [Hard Paint] — Brazilian film making pair Filipe Matzembacher & Marcio Reolon’s second feature after their marvelous Beira mar [Seashore] — follows Pedro’s painful journey of self-discovery as a young loner who makes money performing in front of a webcam.

This emotion-driven, greatly acted Berlin Teddy Award winner touches upon the interesting topic of online personas and how people portray themselves in an idealized way on social media. It set against a somber city and wrapped around feelings of abandonment.

At the 33rd Guadalajara International Film Festival in Mexico, we talked with Matzembacher, Reolon, and protagonist Shico Menegat about the feelings of anger and abandonment, the city of Porto Alegre, social media, and the filming of Tinta bruta.

Berlin, Guadalajara… Tinta bruta is following Beira mar’s same exhibition path. What’s been different in producing your second feature?
We produced Beira Mar completely independently. Even though we got some funds for post production but we had no money for the shooting. Alternatively, Tinta bruta was a story we had been developing for some time and we had the time to apply for funding. We got a grant from the Hubert Bals Fund to do the film. It would have been so much harder to make this film without money.

How did the idea of Tinta bruta come about?
(Filipe) The film is based in a short film, Empty Room, that I directed where Marcio is the main actor. We worked around the idea of feelings of abandonment. After finishing it we wanted to make it a feature film.

You guys have a great ability to portray human emotions a love story between Pedro and Leo. And the film also has a social media, technological aspect. What’s your take on technology shaping human interactions nowadays?
(Filipe) With technology and social media, you make connections in a virtual space, not with actual people but with personas who are very different from the original ones. They are more about what they want to be.

(Marcio) You can filter what you’d like to the online personas. They’re not necessarily a reflection of yourself but they’re their own creation. That’s what we wanted to portray in terms of social media and technology. We do not feel the film is a love story, we think of the film more like the internal journey of Pedro. Of course love comes in between and it’s a huge part of it, for him to outgrow his situation, but in the end it’s about him struggling almost for survival.

It does feel like an ordeal for Pedro. He goes through some dramatic changes. In the end, he is a very different Pedro.
(Shico Menegat) He is a very complex character with a lot of feelings, a lot of anger, this feeling of abandonment. He has these sad eyes. It was very complex to mix all of these feelings. This journey of Pedro self-discovering himself and his body, connecting with other people to find himself, meeting Leo, and dealing with his sister.

The relationship with his sister is very touching, and with the grandmother later in the film. Very different from the relationship with Leo.
(Shico) Yes, they connect in a very different way. They have respect for each other’s space. They don’t talk too much, they just have this feeling that they can trust each other. And the scene in the shower is very emotional, when his grandmother hugs him. The grandmother is really special for Pedro.

How did you guys work Pedro’s character? I remember that with Beira Mar you spent several months rehearsing…
(Marcio) We did a very similar process. We rehearsed for 7 months. Filipe and I were actors before being directors, so we like this long process that is closer to stage acting than film acting. We really like to take the time to get to know the actors, and them to know us. We get confidence and develop trust. This is one of our favorite steps in the process of making a film, so we really invest a lot on it.

(Filipe) Bruno Fernandes, who plays Leo, had experience acting for the stage but he had never made a film before. We saw him act in a play in Porto Alegre and we liked him. While for Pedro’s character we were looking for an actor with a fragile look and at the same time with aggressiveness. We met Shico at a party and we told ourselves, ‘we can think about that guy when we write the script.’ So we started doing that with a draft of the script and afterwards we contacted him. He said he had never worked as an actor before. It was a very nice process the 7 months of rehearsing with both actors.

How did you feel about being an actor in a movie?
(Shico) We talked about the project and they told me about the story. I really connected and told them ‘let’s do it.’ I really liked being challenged to do something that I had never done before. They told me that the film would have some really intense scenes, sex scenes, really emotional. They asked me whether I’d be prepared to do it and I said ‘yes, I trust you.’ So we had this process of 7 months of watching movies, talking about our feelings and connecting between Pedro & Leo, Chico & Bruno, the actors and the characters. It was a beautiful process.

And after the 7 months of rehearsal, with a tight script I suppose, were one or two takes enough during the shooting?
(Marcio) Apart from a couple more improvised scenes like the dancing and party scenes, most of the film is very faithful to the script. We’re very strict during rehearsals and on the set, we do as many takes as necessary. It is very rare that we’re satisfied with just two or three.

(Filipe) It’s usually more like 8, 9 or 10 takes.

(Shico) Once on the set it was very different with the camera and the crew. It was really intense. But everybody was respectful and talking in low voice, trying to focus on the scene. Right before shooting we had time to concentrate and rehearse. And the guys were pushing us to put all the energy that we had in every scene. So every time that we shot one take we’d stop and talk about it, what was good and what we could do better. They’d tell me ‘you have to…’ and then another take. It was really good to know how they felt about each take.

That energy certainly comes through in the final cut.

In one of the scenes you can see ‘for sale’ signs in an apartment building. Are you guys thinking about moving from Porto Alegre and making a jump in your film career?
(Marcio) Not necessarily that we’re thinking about it, but many people are. Those signs were there when we were filming.

(Filipo) In the past few years a very right wing mayor was elected in Porto Alegre. The city is becoming more violent and empty. You do not see many people walking on the streets. And at the same time the city is becoming sadder, which is funny, given the name of the city.

(Shico) Youth specially, they rather go somewhere else.

Wouldn’t you rather be making films in more thriving towns like Sao Paulo or Fortaleza?
(Marcio) So far it is the place that we chose to portray. I do not know whether it will be forever, but at the moment it is where we are filming our stories.

(Filipo) We feel this need to portray Porto Alegre, how we feel it is today, that’s important.

If someone watched Beira Mar and Tinta bruta fifty years from now they would get an idea of what Porto Alegre was like in the mid 2010s…
(Marcio) I hope they’d say ‘now it’s a lot better.’

When we last talked in 2015 Dilma Rousseff was being impeached and there were huge protests in Brazil. How’re things in your country now?
(Marcio) The process of impeachment was very hard for Brazilians and it was happening during the writing process of the Tinta bruta. Much of the anger of the character comes from it. It was very hard to watch the conservatives taking power by force.

Advertisements
Posted in Film Screenings in San Francisco | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Devil’s Freedom’: Interview with director Everardo González

A series of interviews at the heart of the barbaric violence ravaging Mexico explores the psyche of both executioners and victims, building a crude portrait of the fear that dominates society. Devil’s Freedom, is a psychological documentary on a harsh topic, somber in tone, presenting a bold style that intrudes reality through a bold formal proposal.

It is the seventh documentary by Mexican filmmaker Everardo González after La canción del pulque (2003), Jalisco is Mexico: charro, mariachi and tequila (2006), Los ladrones viejos (2007), El cielo abierto (2011) —on Monseñor Oscar Arnulfo Romero—, Cuates de Australia (2011), and El Paso (2016) —about journalists who escaped from Mexico due to threats.

Devil’s Freedom was awarded at the Berlin and Guadalajara film festivals, and has received eight nominations for the Ariel awards, the Mexican Oscars, that will be awarded on June 5.

The documentary is presented at the Roxie Theater in San Francisco on Friday, May 11 at 7 p.m. as part of the series ‘Made in Mexico.’ More information: roxie.com/hecho-en-mexico/

We talked with Everardo González at the Guadalajara Film Festival about how he selected his interviewees, his decision to use masks and mirrors in the filming, and what he understands by documentary genre.

You filmed Devil’s Freedom in the states of Mexico, Puebla, Hidalgo and Chihuahua, and in Texas, United States, for a year and a half. How did you select the subjects?
I turned to many sources that I have known over the years: the lawyers of some of them, human rights organizations that see for the rights of the victims or for their health, organizations that work with hired guns to get them out of it, journalists who have covered violence for many years and who resorted to their own sources.

I would receive profiles of people and then decide if I thought they could give me what I was after. Because not everyone has a discourse or a complex story. There were certain triggers in the profiles that told me ‘it’s worth listening to him or her.’ And not because it’s not worth listening to everyone, but because I was making a movie. There was a conscious criterion as to who I spoke with.

And you looked for victims and executioners, children and adults …
I was looking for a universe that would give a face to the big problem we have here in Mexico. Above all I was interested in listening to people who had never thought about the matter before. The trigger for this film was when I asked myself if a young hit man is aware of the damage he causes, of the orphans he leaves behind, of the widows he leaves behind, of the relatives of the disappeared who cannot find consolation. Or if it’s just someone who pulls the trigger and forgets. I was very interested in hearing the violent person’s point of view.

One of the interviewees says that he is telling it for the first time. Is it true?
He says so, and he says it with conviction. I would not know if he had talked to someone about it or not.

But he says it in front of the camera and you decided to include it in your film…
Well yes… It’s an act of faith too. I do not know if the forgiveness he asks for is sincere or not, but… The interesting thing here is that while a hit man asks for forgiveness, the victim wants to torture him. It is where the thin line of separation lies between being a victim and becoming a victimizer. That is why it is included, not necessarily because of its sincerity. It is a slightly more complex discourse. If the hit man asks for forgiveness and the victim wants to torture him, it is all that is needed for the roles to be reversed.

When and why did you decide to use masks in your movie? And I understand that you also used a mirror at the time of interviewing so that the subjects would see themselves.
I wanted to do an exercise of freedom of testimony, and understanding what a mask provides to the person who carries it I decided to use them. The mask reveals much more than what it conceals, that’s why the carnival is so free, because you do what you really are, you say what you really think. Anonymity gives that freedom. That was the first reason why. Then the concept grew: the design of a mask without gesture that makes everyone uniform. And then the idea we are all victims of the same circumstance pops up.

The masks homogenizes them…
And they link the viewers with them.

As a spectator, my attention gets stuck in the eyes, the painted lips…
That’s right, how the mask gets wet, the earrings… The mirror game has to do with that frontal connection with the spectator, with looking at the viewer’s eyes where I believe lies the empathy. When you look in the eyes. Hired killers do not give shots of grace frontally, they give it from behind in the neck. Because they say that if they look in the eyes of the victim they do not pull the trigger. There is an exercise of compassion when one looks at the other’s eyes, many things are understood because the gaze is the mirror of the soul, as they say. An identification is generated through the gaze, an interesting exercise aesthetically speaking, in much more philosophical considerations, than what stories themselves sometimes achieve.

Then the masks were not for safety. And one of the interviewees takes it off.
The mask has all that sense that we are talking about. The possibilities of truth offered by the testimony, the homogenization of the discourse, the fascination with how it mutates, how the mask is moistened… It gradually becomes uncomfortable. The image of the mask is inserted into your psyche, it is very difficult to take it off your head after having seen this movie, very difficult to eliminate it from your conscience.

That mask is a representation of fear. A woman who takes off her mask is a woman who breaks with fear. Her face being the face of a mother, the face of a sister, the face of a land, that stares straight ahead without fear. Not only to the one who is going to pity her, but to the one who affected her, who hurt her, who hurt all her surroundings.

You call your film a psychological documentary. The questions you ask the interviewees are kind of different, point towards the feelings, pose assumptions…
I wanted to do an exercise not based on the anecdote, but on the consequence of the psyche. What the psyche gives away in this movie is a portrait of fear. Much of the phenomenon of violence in Mexico, beyond drug trafficking and politics, is supported by fear. It is because of fear, because of threat that people react the way they do. And the only way to approach fear is to talk about the psyche, which is suffering it. That’s why I refer to my film in a psychological way. It is an essay on fear.

When you join the different segments, you do it with images of landscapes, fog, little ants, or people posing with weapons. Why?
I wanted to generate a series of vignettes that would provoke the feeling that something terrible was going to happen or had just happened. So, I searched in an improvised way…

… to contribute to the atmosphere, to the tone…
… to the atmosphere, to the tone, and to the emotion. We traveled around and I looked at the landscape and said ‘here, this car in the distance can provoke some reaction.’ That person going up in the distance carrying a bag of grains, the feeling it causes is that something else is going on. A truck parked in the middle of the road, in the psychosis that Mexico is going through, is not a truck that broke down. It is a truck that has the engine on, that is empty, giving the feeling that something just happened or is about to happen. A house in construction, nowadays in the psychosis of the Mexican, is not only a house in construction in full construction, but possibly a house of security in which someone kidnapped is kept. The way Mexicans relate to things has changed a lot.

Because of the situation of violence…
Exactly. A lonely road is not bucolic, but dangerous.

There are documentary schools such as the one called ‘fly on the wall’ in which an camera observes without intruding reality. Your film is not in that fashion…
I have never been interested in that.

What is documentary for you?
Provoked situations where things are discussed. I believe that it is necessary to intrude. The other style  is something that worked back in the day but a different discussion about documentary that we have today.

What am I after? To generate chronicles. With cinema in general what I try is to be a testimony of the time it touches. I understood that when I made a movie in 2007, Los ladrones viejos. I was left with a strange feeling. There was a very famous thief in Mexico who was called Chucho El Roto, with a legend, but there was never an interview with him. And I would have loved to hear him, see him how he moved, how he spoke, what was the language used at the time.

It is then that I understood the value of the documentary beyond the cinematographic work, as a historical document, as a material that can even be useful for filmmakers of the future, as I sometimes work with materials from filmmakers of the past. Mexico has reconstructed much of its history from these materials. The Mexican Revolution was one of the most filmed revolutions in the world and our identity is very based on those materials that were filmed.

Are you working on a new project?
It is a portrait of ten deserts of the world. The life of the man in the desert, the relation with the beasts, the desires for the children, the construction of a family. The man living in his environment, or fighting against his environment. A little more anthropological, something more observational.

(Interview originally published in eltecolote.org)

Posted in Film Screenings in San Francisco | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

‘La libertad del diablo’: entrevista con el director Everardo González

Una serie de entrevistas en el seno de la barbarie de violencia que azota México indaga la psique de verdugos y víctimas, construyendo un crudo retrato del miedo que domina la sociedad. La libertad del diablo, documental psicológico de temática dura y tono sombrío, presenta un estilo atrevido que incide en la realidad mediante una propuesta formal audaz.

Es el séptimo documental del cineasta mexicano Everardo González tras La canción del pulque (2003), Jalisco es México: charro, mariachi y tequila (2006), Los ladrones viejos. Las leyendas del artegio (2007), El cielo abierto (2011) —sobre Monseñor Oscar Arnulfo Romero—, Cuates de Australia (2011), El Paso (2016) —sobre periodistas que tuvieron que escapar de México por amenazas.

La libertad del diablo fue galardonado en los festivales de Guadalajara y Berlín, y ha recibido ocho nominaciones a los premios Ariel, los Oscars mexicanos que se entregarán el próximo 5 de junio.

El documental se presenta en el Roxie Theatre de San Francisco el viernes 11 de mayo a las 7.p.m. como parte de la serie ‘Hecho en México’. Más información: roxie.com/hecho-en-mexico/

Platicamos con Everardo González en el marco del festival de Guadalajara sobre cómo seleccionó a los entrevistados, su decisión de usar máscaras y espejos en la filmación, y sobre lo que él entiende por género documental.

Filmaste La libertad del diablo en los estados de México, Puebla, Hidalgo y Chihuahua, y en Texas, Estados Unidos, durante año y medio. ¿Cómo seleccionaste a los sujetos de tu película?
Recurrí a muchas fuentes que he conocido a lo largo de los años: los abogados de algunos de ellos, organizaciones derecho humanistas que ven por los derechos de las víctimas o por su salud, organizaciones que trabajan con grupos de sicariato para sacarlos del sicariato, periodistas que han cubierto durante muchos años temas de violencia y que recurrieron a sus propias fuentes.

Recibía perfiles y a partir de ellos decidía si creía que se podía dar lo que yo buscaba o no. Porque no todos tienen un discurso o una historia compleja. Había ciertos detonantes en los perfiles que me decían ‘vale la pena escucharlo a él’. Y no porque no valga la pena escucharles a todos, sino porque estoy haciendo una película. Había un criterio consciente de con quien se hablaba o con quién no se hablaba.

Y buscabas tanto víctimas como verdugos, niños y adultos…
Buscaba un universo que diera los rostros del gran problema que tenemos aquí en México. Sobre todo me interesaba escuchar a quienes nunca habían reflexionado sobre el asunto. El detonante de esta película fue cuando yo me hice la pregunta de si un joven sicario es consciente de los daños que provoca, de los huérfanos que deja, de las viudas, de los viudos que deja, de los familiares de desaparecidos que no encuentran consuelo. O si simplemente es alguien que jala el gatillo y se olvida. Me interesaba mucho escuchar del lado de quien violenta.

Uno de los entrevistados dice que lo cuenta por primera vez. ¿Es cierto?
Él lo dice, y lo dice con convicción. No sabría yo si lo ha hablado con alguien o no.

Pero lo dice frente a la cámara y decidiste incluirlo en tu película…
Pues sí… Es un acto de fe también. No sé si el perdón que se pide es sincero o no, pero… Lo interesante aquí es que mientras que un sicario pide perdón, una víctima dice que quiere torturar. Es donde está la delgada línea de ser una víctima y te conviertes en victimario. Por eso está incluido, no necesariamente porque sea sincero. Es un discurso un poco más complejo. Si el sicario pide perdón y la víctima quiere torturarlo, sólo hace falta el escenario para que se inviertan los papeles.

¿Cuándo y por qué decidiste usar máscaras en tu película? Y tengo entendido que también usabas un espejo al filmar de tal manera que los entrevistados vieran su propio reflejo.
Yo quería hacer un ejercicio de libertad de testimonio, y entendiendo lo que regala una máscara al que la porta, decidí usarla. La máscara revela mucho más de lo que oculta, por eso el carnaval es tan libre, porque haces lo que realmente eres, dices lo que realmente piensas. El anonimato regala eso, libertad. Esa fue la primera razón por la que usé una máscara. Después el concepto fue creciendo: el diseño de una máscara sin gesto que uniforma a todos. Y entra un discurso donde todos son víctima de alguna manera de la misma circunstancia.

Los homogeniza…
Y además los vincula los espectadores.

Como espectador yo me clavé en sus ojos, en la boquita pintada…
Así es, cómo se moja la máscara, los aretes… El juego de espejos tiene que ver con esa conexión frontal con el espectador, con mirar a los ojos al espectador y que es en donde yo creo radica la empatía. Cuando se mira a los ojos. Los sicarios no dan tiros de gracia de frente, lo dan en la nuca. Porque ellos dicen que si miran a los ojos de la víctima no jalan el gatillo. Hay un ejercicio de compasión cuando se mira a los ojos del otro, se entienden muchas cosas porque  la mirada si es el espejo del alma, como dicen. Y ahí se genera una identificación a través de la mirada, lo que me parece un ejercicio muy interesante estéticamente hablando, consideraciones mucho más filosóficas, que lo que logran las propias historias a veces.

Entonces las máscaras no eran por seguridad, incluso una de las entrevistadas se la quita.
La máscara tiene todo ese sentido que hablamos. Las posibilidades de verdad que ofrecen el testimonio, la homogeneización del discurso, la fascinación por cómo muta, cómo se humedece la máscara… Empieza a ser incómoda. La imagen de la máscara se inserta en tu psique, es muy difícil que te la quites de la cabeza después de haber vista esta película, muy difícil que la elimines de tu conciencia.

Esa máscara es una representación del miedo. Una mujer que se quita la máscara es una mujer que rompe con el miedo. Y su rostro es el rostro de una madre, el rostro de una hermana, el rostro de una tierra, que mira de frente sin miedo. No solo a aquel que la va a compadecer, sino a aquel que la afectó, que la lastimó, que hizo daño a todo su entorno.

Calificas tu película como un documental psicológico. Las preguntas que haces a los entrevistados son diferentes, apuntan hacia los sentimientos, plantean supuestos…
Quería hacer un ejercicio que no estuviera basado en la anécdota, sino en la consecuencia de la psique. Lo que regala la psique en esta película es un retrato del miedo. Mucho del fenómeno de violencia que hay en México, más allá del tráfico de drogas y de la política, está soportada en el miedo. Por el miedo, por la amenaza se reacciona como se reacciona. Y la única manera de acercarse al miedo es hablar de la psique, que la está padeciendo. Por eso me refiero a esto como en plan psicológico. Es un ensayo sobre el miedo.

Al plantearte cómo unir los distintos segmentos, lo hiciste con imágenes de paisajes, niebla, unas hormiguitas, o cuando posan con las armas… ¿Por qué?
Yo quería generar una serie de viñetas que provocaran la sensación de que algo terrible iba a pasar o había sucedido en ese momento. Entonces, busqué de manera improvisada…

… para contribuir a la atmósfera, al tono…
…a la atmósfera, al tono y a la emoción. Viajabamos y yo miraba el paisaje y decía ‘aquí, este auto a la distancia puede generar algo’. Aquella persona que está subiendo a la distancia un costal de granos, la sensación que provoca es que está subiendo otra cosa. Una camioneta estacionada en medio de la carretera, en la psicosis que tiene México, no es una camioneta descompuesta. Es una camioneta que tiene el motor encendido, en la que no hay nadie, y da la sensación de que algo acaba de suceder o que algo sucedió. Una casa de obra negra, hoy en la psicosis del mexicano, no es solo una casa de obra negra en plena construcción, sino posiblemente una casa de seguridad en que se tiene a alguien. La manera de relacionarse con las cosas ha cambiado mucho.

Todo por la situación de violencia…
Exactamente. Un camino solo no es bucólico, sino peligroso.

Hay escuelas documentales como la que llaman en inglés ‘fly on the wall’ de cámara observadora sin que incida en la realidad. Tu película no es en esa vena…
Nunca me ha interesado.

¿Qué es para ti el género documental?
Situaciones provocadas donde se discuten cosas. Yo creo que hay que incidir. Lo otro es algo que funcionó en su fecha pero una discusión sobre el documental distinta a la que tenemos hoy.

¿Qué busco? Generar crónicas. Con el cine en general lo que intento es que sea un testimonio del tiempo que toca. Lo entendí cuando hice una película en 2007, Los ladrones viejos. Me quedé con una sensación extraña. Había un ladrón muy famoso en México que lo llamaban Chucho El Roto, con una leyenda, pero nunca hubo una entrevista. Y a mí me hubiera encantado escucharlo, verlo cómo se movía, cómo hablaba, cuáles eran los modismos que se utilizaban en la época.

Y ahí entendí el valor del documental más allá de la obra cinematográfica, como un documento histórico, como un material que incluso puede ser útil para cineastas del futuro, como yo a veces trabajo con materiales de cineastas del pasado. México ha reconstruido mucho de su historia a partir de esos materiales. La Revolución Mexicana fue una de las revoluciones más filmadas del mundo y nuestra identidad está muy basada en esos materiales que se filmaron.

¿Estás trabajando algún nuevo proyecto?
Es un retrato de diez desiertos del mundo. La vida del hombre en el desierto, la relación con las bestias, los deseos por los hijos, la construcción de familia. El hombre viviendo en su entorno, o peleando en contra de su entorno. Un poco más antropológico, algo más observacional.

 

(Entrevista publicada originalmente en eltecolote.org)

Posted in Film Screenings in San Francisco | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

33rd Guadalajara International Film Festival

Filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro’s triumphant visit to his native city five days after winning three Oscars, the splendid new installations of the Conjunto de Artes Escénicas, and the tragic disappearance of three film students marked a thirty-third edition of the Guadalajara Film Festival with uneven programming and Catalonia as guest cinematography.

The three film students of the University of Guadalajara, organizer of the festival, disappeared the night of March 19 in the municipality of Tonalá on their way back home after doing homework related to their studies. These young people may well have been among the hundreds who a few days earlier welcomed enthusiastically their idol Del Toro, who is related to the festival since its beginnings, when he presented his short ‘Doña Lupe’ in the first edition of 1986 and whose first feature Cronos was produced by the university in 1993.

The festival’s organizing committee strongly condemned “the violence currently afflicting the state of Jalisco,” joining the voices of solidarity, the university community and the families of the students Javier Salomón Gastelum, Daniel Díaz and Marco Ávalos of the Audiovisual Media University (CAAV); demanding “the return alive of the young people and a timely response by the authorities on the real situation of what is happening in Jalisco.”

It is worth noting that the festival’s audience award went to Ayotzinapa, el paso de la tortuga by Enrique García Meza (Mexico), a documentary about pain, solidarity, hope and government neglect around the disappearance of 43 students in the state of Guerrero in September 2014.

In addition to three packed master classes taught by Del Toro, an honorary award for Spanish director Carlos Saura, the presentation of the Mexican film industry’s statistical yearbook, a retrospective of erotic cinema by the Swedish director based in Barcelona Erika Lust, and an exhibition of photographs about the diva of Mexican cinema María Félix ‘La Doña,’ the festival presented a total of 236 films in seven days full of activities that were attended by 150 thousand people.

The extensive facilities of the Conjunto de Artes Escénicas located in Zapopan, to the north of the city — which include a library, a cinema, an agora and numerous rooms for the exhibition of films and art — served as the splendid new main stage for the festival. Although located in an unfriendly area that is still under construction, and somewhat remote due to its distance to other venues and guest hotels, the facilities will be ideal festival headquarters in future editions.

In regards to an anodyne competitive section, the prize for best Ibero-American fiction feature went to Matar a Jesús by Laura Mora Ortega (Colombia/Argentina), “an emotional journey on an essential theme in Latin American society that maintains the tension and moves the audience through its complex and human portrait of the characters,” in the words of the jury that granted the award.

The other two big winners in fiction were the raw, tense and brilliant Alanis by Anahí Berneri (Argentina), originally a short film project that transformed into a feature during filming, which received awards for best direction and the vivacious and sincere acting of Sofía Gala Castiglione. And the impressive Wiñaypacha (Eternity) by newcomer Oscar Catacora (Peru), a sober and spiritual ode to solitude and the abandonment of the Aymara culture that was meticulously filmed at 16,000 feet in the South American Andes, which received prizes for best first film and cinematography.

The award for best male performance was shared by Giovanni Rodríguez, for the aforementioned Matar a Jesús, and Luis Gerardo Méndez for his acting in Tiempo compartido [Time Share] by Sebastián Hofmann (Mexico/Holland), a sly mix of The Great Budapest Hotel-Spring Breakers-Club Sandwich-Safe that won the best script award at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah in January.

The prize for best script was for Eugenia by Martín Boulocq (Bolivia, Brazil).

Two fiction films that also stood out are Handia [Giant] by Basque filmmakers Jon Garaño and Aitor Arregi, a moving story that won 10 Goya prizes in Spain whose great production value verifies the good moment cinema in Basque language (euskara) is going through; and the very well directed opera prima Estiu 1993 by the young Catalan director Carla Simón, an intimate and subtle story with echoes of  Víctor Erice’s The Spirit of the Beehive  that focuses on the trauma of a young girl.

In the documentary field, the prize for best Ibero-American feature went to Nicolás Combarro García’s Alberto García-Alix. La Línea de la Sombra (Spain), “for the deep exploration of what it means to look at and portray an era through a character through a powerful cinematographic form,” in the words of the jury.

The jury awarded a special prize to Pablo Aparo and Martín Benchimol’s El Espanto (Argentina), “a trip to an alien world in which you can identify yourself in the essence of the human, through fascinating narrative and aesthetics.”

It is also worth highlighting Jason O’Hara’s documentary Estado de exceção [State of Exception] (Brazil) that touches upon the activist spirit surrounding forced evictions in the vicinity of the Maracaná Stadium in Rio de Janeiro during the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games. A timely release that puts into perspective the social injustice surrounding mega sporting events such as the Soccer World Cup, which will be held in Russia in a few months.

And the excellent Abner Benaim’s Yo no me llamo Rubén Blades [My Name Is Not Ruben Blades] (Panama), a perceptive, introspective compendium about the life of the singer, composer, actor and politician who created the salsa con conciencia and composed memorable songs like ‘Pedro Navaja’ and ‘Plástico.’

In the section dedicated to Mexican cinema, Jorge Pérez Solano’s La Negrada (Mexico) stood out for its wonderful execution and entomological touch, receiving an award for the cinematography of César Gutiérrez Miranda. It portrays a history of queridismo from the point of view of women in the heart of an Afro-Mexican community in the Costa Chica of Guerrero. It is the third film that the talented Oaxacan filmmaker presents at the festival after La tirisia (2014) and Espiral (2008).

The prize for best Mexican film went to Restos de viento by Jimena Montemayor Loyo, who also received the best director award.

The award for the best LGBT-themed film went to Tinta Bruta [Hard Paint] by Filipe Matzembacher and Marcio Reolon (Brazil) “for creating an honest story that describes the consequences of homophobia in today’s world and the transforming force of love,” in words of the jury. It is the second feature film that this pair of excellent directors of actors present in Guadalajara after Beira-Mar (2015). Granted the Teddy Award at the Berlin Film Festival in February, it is driven by emotions through solid performances, portraying the transformation of a lonely young man who earns money by acting in front of a webcam in Porto Alegre, southern Brazil.

Among the many short films that make the festival happy each year, the prize for best Ibero-American short film was awarded to El escarabajo al final de la calle by Joan Vives (Spain), deserving special mention Anderson by Rodrigo Meireles (Brazil), A Foreman by Daniel Drummond (Brazil/United States), Les Bones Nenes by Clara Roquet (Spain) and Flores by Jorge Jácome (Portugal).

Although programming in the competitive section was not that great in this thirty-third edition, the film industry made a strong and dynamic presence during the festival.

The 14th Coproduction Meeting, connecting film producers to generate collaborations, awarded prizes to Trigal  by Anabel Caso (Mexico), Gabriela by Alejandro Fernández Almendras (Chile), Parchís: el documental  by Daniel Arasanz (Spain), Clara Sola by Nathalie Álvarez Mesén (Colombia/Sweden) and Martínez by Lorena Padilla (Mexico/Chile), among others.

In the framework of the 12th edition of ‘Guadalajara Construye,’ providing economic incentives to film projects in post-production, the great winner was Perro bomba by Juan Cáceres (Chile), receiving several awards. Miriam miente by Natalia Cabral and Oriol Estrada (Dominican Republic), Ok, está bien by Gabriela Ivette Sandoval (Mexico), Sumercé by Victoria Solano (Colombia), Triz by André Carvalheira (Brazil) and Zona árida by Fernanda Pessoa ( Brazil) also got awards.

During his visit, Del Toro announced his participation in the production of the next film by Issa López (Tigers Are Not Afraid, 2017; Casi divas, 2008), as well as in the first feature film by animator Karla Castañeda (La noria, 2012; Jacinta, 2008). He also announced the creation of a new scholarship for film students, Jenkins-Del Toro International Film Grant, to which the director will contribute up to $60,000 each year along with the Mary Street Jenkins Foundation.

The next edition of the festival will have Chile as guest cinematography, will present the exhibition ‘Guillermo del Toro: At home with monsters,’ and will include for the first time a competitive section devoted to animation.

 

Posted in Film Festivals | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

33º Festival Internacional de Cine en Guadalajara

La visita triunfante del cineasta tapatío Guillermo Del Toro a su ciudad natal cinco días después de haber ganado tres premios Oscar, las espléndidas nuevas instalaciones del Conjunto de Artes Escénicas y la triste desaparición de tres estudiantes marcaron una trigésimo tercera edición del Festival de Cine en Guadalajara con una programación desigual y Cataluña como cinematografía invitada.

Los tres estudiantes de la Universidad de Guadalajara, entidad organizadora del festival, desparecieron la noche del 19 de marzo en el municipio de Tonalá cuando regresaban de hacer una tarea relacionada con sus estudios de cine. Estos jóvenes bien podrían haber estado entre los cientos de estudiantes que unos días antes recibieron entusiasmados a su ídolo Del Toro, ligado al festival desde sus inicios cuando presentara su corto ‘Doña Lupe’ en la primera edición de 1986 y cuya ópera prima Cronos fuera producida por la universidad en 1993.

El comité organizador del festival condenó enérgicamente “la violencia que aqueja actualmente al estado de Jalisco”, sumándose a las voces solidarias, a la comunidad universitaria y a las familias de los estudiantes de la Universidad de Medios Audiovisuales (CAAV) Javier Salomón Gastelum, Daniel Díaz y Marco Ávalos, y exigiendo “el regreso con vida de los jóvenes y una respuesta puntual por parte de las autoridades sobre la situación real de lo que sucede en Jalisco”.

En un mismo orden de cosas, el premio popular del público asistente al festival de cine recayó en Ayotzinapa, el paso de la tortuga de Enrique García Meza (México), documental en torno al dolor, la solidaridad, la esperanza y la desidia gubernamental en torno a la desaparición de 43 estudiantes en el estado de Guerrero en septiembre de 2014.

Además de las tres clases magistrales que impartió Del Toro, un reconocimiento a la carrera del director aragonés Carlos Saura, la presentación del anuario estadístico de cine mexicano, una retrospectiva de cine erótico de mano de la directora sueca radicada en Barcelona Erika Lust y una exhibición de fotografías sobre la diva del cine mexicano María Félix, el festival presentó un total de 236 películas en siete días repletos de actividades a las que asistieron 150 mil personas.

La amplias instalaciones del Conjunto de Artes Escénicas en Zapopan, al norte de la ciudad —que incluyen biblioteca, cineteca, ágora y numerosas salas para la exhibición de películas y exposiciones— sirvieron como nuevo escenario del festival. Si bien ubicadas en un área inhóspita que está aún en construcción y algo remotas por su distancia a otras sedes y al alojamiento de invitados, las instalaciones son idóneas para centralizar las actividades del festival en futuras ediciones.

En lo que se refiere a una anodina sección competitiva, el premio a mejor largometraje iberoamericano de ficción recayó en Matar a Jesús de Laura Mora Ortega (Colombia/Argentina), “un viaje emocional sobre un tema esencial en la sociedad de América Latina que mantiene la tensión y nos conmueve por su retrato complejo y humano de los personajes”, en palabras del jurado que otorgó el galardón.

Las otras dos grandes ganadoras en el área de ficción fueron la cruda, tensa y brillante Alanis de Anahí Berneri (Argentina), originalmente un proyecto de cortometraje que durante la filmación se transformó orgánicamente en largometraje, la cual recibió premios a mejor dirección y a la actuación vivaz y sincera de la actriz Sofía Gala Castiglione.

Y la impresionante Wiñaypacha (Eternidad) de Oscar Catacora (Perú), una sobria y espiritual oda a la soledad y el abandono de la cultura aymara meticulosamente filmada a 5000 metros de altura en los Andes sudamericanos, la cual recibió premios a mejor ópera prima y fotografía.

El galardón a mejor actuación masculina lo compartieron Giovanni Rodríguez, por la mencionada Matar a Jesús, y Luis Gerardo Méndez por su interpretación en Tiempo Compartido de Sebastián Hofmann (México/Holanda), una socarrona mezcla de The Great Budapest Hotel-Spring Breakers-Club sándwich-Safe ganadora también del premio a mejor guión en el festival de Sundance, Utah.

El premio a mejor guión fue para Eugenia de Martín Boulocq (Bolivia, Brasil).

Destacaron también la cinta vasca Handia de Jon Garaño y Aitor Arregi, una conmovedora historia ganadora de 10 premios Goya cuyo gran valor de producción atesora el buen momento que está viviendo el cine en lengua vasca (euskara); y la muy bien dirigida ópera prima Estiu 1993 de la joven directora catalana Carla Simón, una íntima y sutil historia con ecos al Espíritu de la colmena de Víctor Erice que se centra en el trauma de una niña.

En el ámbito documental, el premio al mejor largometraje iberoamericano fue para Alberto García-Alix: La Línea de la Sombra de Nicolás Combarro García (España) “por la profunda exploración de lo que significa mirar y retratar una época a través de un personaje mediante una forma cinematográfica poderosa”, en palabras del jurado.

Así mismo, el jurado entregó un premio especial a El Espanto de Pablo Aparo y Martín Benchimol (Argentina), “un viaje a un mundo ajeno en el que puedes identificarte en la esencia de lo humano, a través de una narrativa y una estética fascinantes”.

Destacó también por su espíritu activista el documental Estado de exceção de Jason O’Hara (Brasil), en torno a los desalojos forzosos durante la Copa Mundial de 2014 y los Juegos Olímpicos de 2016 en los alrededores del estadio Maracaná de Río de Janeiro. Un oportuno estreno para poner en perspectiva la injusticia social que rodea mega eventos deportivos como la Copa Mundial de Futbol, que se celebrará en Rusia en unos meses.

Y el excelente Yo no me llamo Rubén Blades de Abner Benaim (Panamá), un perspicaz compendio sobre la vida del cantante, compositor, actor y político que creó la  ‘salsa con conciencia’ y compuso canciones memorables como ‘Pedro Navaja’ y ‘Plástico’.

En la sección consagrada al cine mexicano, destacó por su maravillosa ejecución y visión de entomólogo La Negrada de Jorge Pérez Solano (México), que recibió el premio por la bella cinematografía de César Gutiérrez Miranda. Retrata una historia de queridismo desde el punto de vista de la mujeres en el seno de una comunidad afromexicana en la Costa Chica de Guerrero. Es la tercera película que el talentoso cineasta oaxaqueño presenta en el festival tras La tirisia (2014) y Espiral (2008).

El premio a mejor película mexicana recayó en Restos de viento de Jimena Montemayor Loyo, quien también recibió premio como mejor directora.

El premio a la mejor película de temática LGBT fue otorgado a Tinta Bruta de Filipe Matzembacher y Marcio Reolon (Brasil) “por crear una historia honesta que describe las consecuencias de la homofobia en el mundo de hoy y la fuerza transformadora del amor”, en palabras del jurado. Es el segundo largometraje que esta pareja de excelentes directores de actores presentan en Guadalajara tras Beira-Mar (2015). Avalada por el Teddy Award en el festival de Berlín, es una película impulsada por las emociones mediante sólidas actuaciones que retratan la transformación de un joven solitario que gana dinero actuando frente a una cámara web en Porto Alegre, al sur de Brasil.

Entre los numerosos cortometrajes que cada año alegran el festival, el premio al mejor corto iberoamericano se otorgó a El escarabajo al final de la calle de Joan Vives (España), mereciendo mención especial Anderson de Rodrigo Meireles (Brasil), A Foreman de Daniel Drummond (Brasil/Estados Unidos), Les Bones Nenes de Clara Roquet (España) y Flores de Jorge Jácome (Portugal).

Si bien la programación fue desigual en esta trigésimo tercera edición, la industria de cine iberoamericano destacó por su fortaleza y dinamismo.

El 14° Encuentro de Coproducción, que conecta a productores cinematográficos para generar colaboraciones, otorgó premios a Trigal de Anabel Caso (México), Gabriela de Alejandro Fernández Almendras (Chile), Parchís: el documental de Daniel Arasanz (España), Clara Sola de Nathalie Álvarez Mesén (Colombia/Suecia) y Martínez de Lorena Padilla (México/Chile), entre otras.

Por su lado, en el marco de la 12º edición de Guadalajara Construye, que concede estímulos económicos a proyectos cinematográficos para la post-producción, la gran vencedora fue Perro bomba de Juan Cáceres (Chile), acaparando varios premios. Fueron galardonadas también Miriam miente de Natalia Cabral y Oriol Estrada (República Dominicana), Ok, está bien de Gabriela Ivette Sandoval (México), Sumercé de Victoria Solano (Colombia), Triz de André Carvalheira (Brasil) y Zona Árida de Fernanda Pessoa (Brasil), entre otras.

Durante su visita, Del Toro anunció su participación en la producción de la próxima película de Issa López (Vuelven, 2017; Casi divas, 2008), así como en el primer largometraje de la animadora Karla Castañeda (La noria, 2012; Jacinta, 2008). También anunció la creación de una nueva beca para estudiantes de cine, Beca Internacional de Cine Jenkins-Del Toro, a la que el director aportará hasta $60,000 cada año de la mano de la Fundación Mary Street Jenkins.

La próxima edición del festival tendrá como país invitado a Chile, presentará la exposición ‘Guillermo del Toro: En casa con monstruos’, e incluirá como novedad una sección competitiva consagrada a la animación.

Posted in Film Festivals | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Five up-and-coming Latin American woman filmmakers

On International Women’s Day, we celebrate the excellent work of five Latin American directors whose promising first or second films foreshadow solid film careers tinged with strong, personal voices.

Tatiana Huezo
Tatiana Huezo was born in San Salvador in 1972 and grew up in Mexico. She studied at the Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica in Mexico City, and later doing a master’s degree on documentary in Barcelona. Her documentaries, El lugar más pequeño [The Tiniest Place, 2011] and Tempestad (2016), string together an atypical narrative, using sound and image in a way that feed each other. She has also directed the segment Ausencias as part of the series ‘El aula vacía’ (2015), and the short films El ombligo del mundo (2001) and Tiempo caústico (1997).

 

Júlia Murat
Júlia Murat was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1979, where she graduated as graphic designer at the University of Rio de Janeiro and screenwriter at the Darcy Ribeiro Film School. After making the short films Dia dos Pais (2008) and Pendular (2009), she made her first feature film, Histórias que Só Existem Quando Lembradas [Found Memories, 2011], composing scenes in a contemplative and meticulous way that develop as poetry and fable. Her highly anticipated second film is Pendular (2017).

 

Marialy Rivas
Marialy Rivas was born in 1976 and studied at the Chilean Film School, abandoning her studies in the third year. She was awarded at the Sundance, San Sebastian and Buenos Aires film festivals for her vivacious and original first feature film Joven y alocada [Young and Wild, 2012]. Currently she is touring with her second film Princesita (2017). She has three short films: Desde siempre (1996), Smog (2000), and the segment Blocks (2010) as part of the series ‘Film 5: Candy Boy.’

 

Carla Simón
Carla Simón was born in Barcelona in 1986, where she studied Audiovisual Communication at the Autonomous University. She got master’s degrees in Televisió de Catalunya and in London Film School. Her only feature film, Estiu 1993 [Summer 1993, 2017], has won Goya awards, and been awarded at festivals in Berlin and Buenos Aires. The young Catalan director has three narrative short films —Lovers (2010), Lipstick (2013) y Las pequeñas cosas (2015)— and one documentary Born Positive (2012).

 

Gabriela García Rivas
Gabriela García Rivas was born in Comitán, Chiapas, in 1987 and studied at the Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica in Mexico City. Her only feature film to date, El silencio es bienvenido (2017), is an atmospheric film that grows through an exhaustive and distant camera work of right angles. Previously she made the short films Pleamar (2013) and Deshojando margaritas (2016).

 

Posted in Cinema Errante Events | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cinco prometedoras cineastas latinoamericanas

Con motivo del Día Internacional de la Mujer, aprovechamos para celebrar la excelente labor de cinco directoras latinoamericanas cuyas prometedoras primeras o segundas películas auguran sólidas carreras cinematográficas teñidas de voz propia.

Tatiana Huezo
Tatiana Huezo nació en San Salvador en 1972 y creció en México. Estudió en el Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica en la Ciudad de México e hizo un máster documental en Barcelona. Sus documentales, El lugar más pequeño [The Tiniest Place, 2011] y Tempestad (2016), hilvanan una narrativa atípica, utilizando el sonido y la imagen de manera que se alimentan entre sí. Así mismo, ha realizado el segmento Ausencias de la serie ‘El aula vacía’ (2015), y los cortometrajes El ombligo del mundo (2001) y Tiempo cáustico (1997).

 

Júlia Murat
Júlia Murat nació en Río de Janeiro en 1979, donde se graduó como diseñadora gráfica en la Universidad de Río de Janeiro y guionista en la Escuela de Cine Darcy Ribeiro. Tras realizar los cortometrajes Dia dos Pais (2008) y Pendular (2009), realizó su primer largometraje, Histórias que Só Existem Quando Lembradas [Found Memories, 2011], componiendo escenas de manera contemplativa y meticulosa que transcurren como poesía y fábula. Su esperada segunda película es Pendular (2017).

 

Marialy Rivas
Marialy Rivas nació en 1976 y estudió en la Escuela de Cine de Chile, abandonando los estudios al tercer año. Fue galardonada en el festival de Sundance, San Sebastián y Buenos Aires por su vivaz y original primer largometraje Joven y alocada [Young and Wild, 2012]. Actualmente presenta su segunda película Princesita (2017). Tiene en su haber tres cortometrajes: Desde siempre (1996), Smog (2000) y el segmento Blocks (2010) de la serie ‘Film 5: Candy Boy’.

Carla Simón
Carla Simón nació en Barcelona en 1986, donde cursó estudios en Comunicación Audiovisual en la Universidad Autónoma. Realizó másters en Televisió de Catalunya y en London Film School. Su único largometraje, Estiu 1993 [Summer 1993, 2017], ha sido galardonado con los premios Goya, y en los festivales de Berlín y Buenos Aires. La joven directora catalana tiene en su haber tres cortometrajes de ficción —Lovers (2010), Lipstick (2013) y Las pequeñas cosas (2015)— y uno documental Born Positive (2012).

 

Gabriela García Rivas
Gabriela García Rivas nació en Comitán, Chiapas, en 1987 y estudió en el Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica de la Ciudad de México. Su único largometraje hasta la fecha, El silencio es bienvenido (2017), es una película atmosférica que crece gradualmente mediante un exhaustivo y distante trabajo de cámara de ángulos rectos. Anteriormente realizó los cortometrajes Pleamar (2013) y Deshojando Margaritas (2016).

 

Posted in Cinema Errante Events | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment