Friday, September 21, 2018

Roma and Ten New Mexican Trailers

By José Alberto Hermosillo
Roma and Ten New Mexican Trailers
From Sundance to Berlin - from Toronto to Morelia - from Guadalajara to Venice and Los Angeles, the richness of Mexican Cinema is generating multiple awards and rave reviews in the international festival circuit. 

This year, besides "Roma," the most recent work of the Oscar® winner director Alfonso Cuarón ("Gravity"), many more award-winning Mexican directors have accomplished beautiful works of fiction, enduring documentaries, and impressive animations --- some already a local box-office hits. 

While the films Made in Mexico are captivating audiences in festivals around the globe, the projects are facing the headache of distribution and accessibility to a broader audience. 

For many who would like to watch those remarkable pieces on the Big Screen, we leave a taste of another big wave of buen Cine Mexicano.

The year 2018 could be considered by many, one of the best years in Mexican Cinema. Here, we present the trailers of some of those excellent films worth your time:

Roma (2018)
Directed by Alfonso Cuarón
(Y tú mamá también, Children of Men)
Location: Ciudad de México
The Oscar winner director returns to his hometown to recount his most intimate and visceral history about growing up during the early 1970s in a country where politics, justice, and class struggle is reflected in stunning black & white cinematography.

La Negrada (2018)
Directed by Jorge Pérez Solano
Locations: Oaxaca, Mexico
The first controversial Mexican work of fiction relates to Afro-Mexicans from the Pacific Coast. This powerful film shows the diversity in skin tones of people hidden in the remote communities of Mexico. It premiered at the FICG 33 (Festival Internacional de Cine de Guadalajara).

Rush Hour (2018)
Directed by Luciana Kaplan
Locations: Los Angeles, Mexico City, Istambul
This ambitious documentary shows that commuting is tough. It reveals the frustration of people from three different countries who sit in traffic for hours. This film won Best Documentary at the Morelia International Film Festival.

Cuernavaca (2017)
Directed by Alejandro Andrade
Locations: Ciudad de México, Cuernavaca
The family drama starts when Andy’s mother gets killed. At age eleven, he moves in with hysterical his grandmother (Carmen Maura) in Cuernavaca. In the absence of his alcoholic father, Andy will find emotional support in the sneaky and sexual gardener.

Time Share (2018)
Directed by Sebastián Hofmann
Location: Acapulco
A surreal story set in a dystopian universe of a paradisiac resort on Mexico's Pacific coast.
The conflict is generated when two families, ready for leisure, are placed in the same bungalow by an invisible all-mighty mastermind who wants to make their lives miserable.
This work of fiction is a direct consequence of one of the most critical industries in Mexico: tourism. 
Winner of the Special Jury Prize, Sundance Film Festival.

Museo (2018)
Directed by Alonso Ruizpalacios
Locations: Ciudad de México, Acapulco, Chiapas.
The film, based on the most massive heist in Mexico’s history where Gael Garcia Bernal and Leonardo Ortigriz (Güeros) will burgle the World’s Largest Archeologic Museum. The crime that shocked an entire Nation was followed by thousands of concerned citizens who saw their past desecrated. 
Winner - Silver Bear Best Screenplay, Berlin Film Festival, 2018.

Nuestro Tiempo (2018)
Directed by Carlos Reygadas
(Japón, Silent Light)
Location: Altiplano
A film that juxtaposes its artsy look with its drama.  Due to the wife’s infidelity in the countryside, the marriage crumbles. The enduring love triangle premieres at the 75th Venice Film Festival.

The Eternal Feminine (2017)
Directed by Natalia Beristaín
Location: Ciudad de México
Rosario Castellanos was one of the most prominent females writers in the 1950’s. The biopic reflects Rosario’s most crucial moments. While teaching college, she empowers women, as her marriage and personal life collapses. 
Actress Karina Gini won the Silver Ariel (Mexican Oscar) for Best Actress. This film is also the winner of the Audience Award at the Morelia International Film Festival.  

Guerrero (2017)
Directed by Ludovic Bonleux
Location: Estado de Guerrero
We have never seen the War on Drugs up-close and personal as it shows in this film. Between the Narco and a corrupt government, the inhabitants of a small community realize their lives are trapped. Thousands vanish, and even more, are left orphans. 
The controversial documentary won the Social Justice Award at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2018.

Mamacita (2018)
Directed by José Pablo Estrada Torrescano
Location: Ciudad de México
Before becoming a film director, José Pablo promises to his glamorous grandmother, Mamacita, to make a movie about her life. When he finishes film school, he returns to fulfill that vow. In this documentary, he uncovers personal secrets, obsessions, and lies of the Mexican high-society, which includes those of his beloved grandmother. 
Official Selection Los Angeles Film Festival 2018.

Ana y Bruno (2017)
Directed by Carlos Carrera
(The Crime of Father Amaro)
Ana and her imaginary friend Bruno, plus a bunch of weird and cool characters, gear up for the adventure to rescue someone dear to her heart. It took ten years to produce this beautiful animated feature that Guillermo del Toro is calling “Pure gold.” 

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts is the Indonesian Entry for the 91st Academy Awards.

By José Alberto Hermosillo
“Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts” is a women-driven film with a punch.

Brave young filmmaker Mouly Surya displays no inhibitions to expose the living conditions of marginalized Asian women. It is the Indonesian entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards.

The “Western-like” Asian survival flick is called a “Satay Western.” Actress Marsha Timothy's performance is powerful.

"Marlina..." cleverly displays a grotesque violence and delivers the bittersweet pleasure of vengeance. It is almost like a Quentin Tarantino movie where violence is everywhere but is still enjoyable. 

Divided into four parts, Marlina is one of those underdog heroes who somehow comes out victorious in any given situation that endangers her well-being.
Act I. The Assault brings tension right from the very beginning as Marlena has to confront seven “bad hombres” demanding food and sex. 

Act II. The Journey starts at the moment she walks out of her house and hits the road with a plastic bag in hand. Inside, the head of one of her attackers. 

Like in the “Wizard of Oz,” down the road, she encounters some unusual characters that will make her trip more amusing. 

Act III. The Confession. As Marlina looks for help from the authorities and wants to confess, she is afraid of making things worse because of her status as a poor woman.

Upon Marlina's return, she finds the peace she is looking for.

Act IV. The Birth brings surprises, twists and turns to the story with a satisfactory resolution.

All I want to say about "Marlina Murderer in Four Acts" is that I loved its exquisite beauty, her strength as a woman and her unbroken spirit.
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Friday, September 14, 2018

“Roma” is Mexico's Official Entry to the 91st Academy Awards®

By José Alberto Hermosillo
Roma is Mexico's Official Entry to the Oscars® 2019.
“Roma” was the Golder Bear winner at the 75th Venice Film Festival directed by Alfonso Cuarón and produced by Netflix. It is selected as the Mexican entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards, as it was expected,

Películas inscritas Goya y Oscar 2019

Last month, the Mexican Academy of Cinematography released a shortlist of twelve films, including: 

The animation “El Angel en el Reloj” by Miguel Angel Uriegas, “El Buquinista” by Gibran Bazán, “El Club de los Insómnes” by Sergio Goyri Álvarez, the documentary “The Devil’s Freedom” by Everardo González, the biopic “Eternal Feminine/Los Adioses” by Natalia Beristaín, “Everything Else” by Natalia Almada, “The Gaze of the Sea” by Jose Álvarez, “Las Tinieblasby Daniel Castro Zimbrón; the winner of Best Screenplay at Berlin Film Festival “Museo” by Alonso Ruizpalacios, “Roma” by Alfonso Cuarón, “Tigers Are Not Afraid” by Cannes winner Issa López; the Sundance winner “Time Share” by Sebastián Hofmann, and last year’s LA Film Festival winner “El Vigilante” by Diego Ross.
The Mexican film is generating rave reviews since its premiere at Venezia 75. Then, Telluride, Toronto, and soon NYFF announced as a Centerpiece.

At the Toronto International Film Festival, the “Moonlight” Oscar winner director, Barry Jenkins, after attending the premiere, wrote on his tweeter account, “Yeah, ‘Roma’ is f…glorious.” He added, “It is so wonderful to see an artist operating at the peak of the performance level of such a personal, vigorous piece. The aesthetic is both personal and political here. The aesthetic is wielded to a wonderfully emotive, devasting effect.”

Actor Gael Garcia Bernal wrote: “‘Roma’ is a marvelous film. I remember the movie as if it was my memory as if we knew this movie always existed. I can’t stop thinking about it, and to acknowledge the affection and dimension that every moment has. Gracias, Alfonso Cuarón.”

Film critic Carlos Aguilar: “I’m speechless. Calling ‘Roma’ a sublime masterpiece barely begins to describe what I saw & how I feel. Tears & goosebumps throughout. I’m filled with nostalgia for Mexico City, an immense love for everyone involved, and so much pride for the country that made me who I am.” 

Also of competing for Best Foreign Language Film, "Roma" looks very strong in other categories, including Best Picture, Best Director, cinematography, and some in the acting too.

If the nostalgic, black & white film set in the 1970's in Mexico City continues its ascending trajectory, "Roma" will be the first film in Spanish to ever be nominated for Best Picture. "Traffic" and "Babel" were partially spoken in the Cervantes language, English, Japanese, and Arabic.

Selecting Alfonso Cuarón's “Roma” by the members of the Mexican Academy will give Mexico the strong possibility to win for the first time the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film after eight Oscar nominations.

1. “Macario” by Roberto Gavaldón, 1960.
2. “The Important Man/Ánimas Trujano” by Ismael Rodríguez, 1961.
3. “Tlayucan” by Luis Alcoriza, 1962.
4. “Letter from Marucia/Actas de Marucia” by Miguel Litín, 1975.
5. “Amores Perros” by Alejandro G. Iñárrity, 2000.
6. “El crimen del padre Amaro” by Carlos Carrera, 2002.
7. “Pan’s Labyrinth/El Laberinto del Fauno” by Guillermo del Toro, 2007.
8. “Biutiful” by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, 2011.

Alfonso Cuarón, José Alberto Hermosillo.

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Saturday, September 8, 2018


By José Alberto Hermosillo 
The Mexican film "Roma" directed by Alfonso Cuarón wins the Golden Lion at the 75th edition of the Venice Film Festival. 
Alfonso Cuaron, Golden Lion @Bienale #Venezia75
 The award to "Roma" was expected for its rave reviews and the quality of its gorgeous black and white cinematography, a film also shot by the Mexican auteur who had the vision to filmed his childhood, during the 1970's, faithfully to his memories.
Alfonso Cuaron and the cast of Roma, Venezia 75.
The other Mexican director Carlos Raygadas got mixed reviews for his lavished love triangle film "Our Time." 

The president of the jury was last year's winner Mexican director Guillermo del Toro ("The Shape of Water"), who said, to give away the awards, the jury had to view the films from the audience point-of-view.
Venezia 75 - Awards

Golden Lion: ROMA, Alfonso Cuarón, México.
Silver Lion Grand Jury Prize:
The Favourite, Yorgos Lanthimos
Silver Lion Best Director: Jacques Audiard, The Sisters Brothers
Volpi Cup for Best Actress: Olivia Colman, The Favourite
Volpi Cup for Best Actor: Willem Dafoe, At Eternity's Gate
Best Screenplay Award: Joel & Ethan Coen, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Special Jury Prize: The Nightingale, directed by Jennifer Kent 
Marcello Mastroianni Award: Baykali Ganambarr for The Nightingale.

Horizons Awards

Best Film: Kraben Rahu, by Phuttiphong Aroonpheng
Best Director: Emir Baigazin for Ozen.
Special Jury Prize: Anons, by Mahmut Fazil Coskun
Best Actress:
Natalya Kudryashova, The Man Who Surprised Everyone
Best Actor: Kais Nashif for Tel Aviv on Fire.
Best Screenplay: Jinpa, Pema Tseden.

Lion of the Future
Lion of the Future Luigi De Laurentiis Award for a Debut Film:   
The Day I Lost My Shadow, directed by Soudade Kaadan.

Venice Classics
Best Documentary on Cinema: The Great Buster: A Celebration, Peter Bogdanovich.
Best Restored Film: La Notte di San Lorenzo / The Night of San Lorenzo - Paolo and Vittorio Taviani.

Venice VR Best VR Film: Spheres, directed by Eliza McNitt.
Best VR Experience Award: Buddy VR, by Chuck Chae.
Best VR Story Award: I'iIe des morts, by Benjamin Nuel.

Roma and Ten New Mexican Trailers

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Roma and Ten New Mexican Trailers
“Roma” is Mexico's Official Entry to the 91st Academy Awards®
Festival in LA ©2018

Thursday, September 6, 2018

“What Will People Say” is Norway's Entry for the 91st Academy Awards®

By José Alberto Hermosillo
    AFI FEST REVIEW: “What Will People Say” is a compelling coming-of-age story with global repercussions and rich image composition.

    The Norway-German-Swedish co-production recounts the story of Nisha (Maria Mozhdah), a young and free-spirited Pakistani teenager living with her ultra-conservative Muslim family in Norway. 

    At home, the girl follows the rules. In school, she feels liberated, and dresses and behaves like other “Norwegian” girls of her age.
    While she desires to try her first sexual experience with her boyfriend, she gets caught and punished. 

    Nisha’s father takes her back to their home country, where she will get a more rigorous discipline.
    Nisha's martyrdom starts with the learning process. Her millenarian culture gets more painful when her dignity as a woman is trodden by the barbaric defamation of her persona.

    For Nisha, things get even worse when her physical safety is placed in danger.
    “What Will People Say” is a compelling, contemporary drama elevated to a higher level of affection by its director Iram Hay, an Oslo born female writer, director, and actress. In this, her second feature, she shows an enormous talent and incommensurable vision influenced by the global problem of immigration.    
"What Will People Say" Poster in Spanish.
    "What People Will Say" is the Audience Award Winner of the AFI Fest 2017 and now the official Norwegian entry to the 91st Academy Awards. It is a worthy representative of the contemporary Scandinavian culture.