South of the border
The best of Mexican cinema comes to Melbourne.
The Half of the World
There's a scene in writer/director Jorge Michel Grau's We Are What We Are in which a mortician holds up a bloodied finger and says, "It's shocking how many people eat each other in this city". If there is one line that captures Grau's debut feature film, this is it.
On the surface, We Are What We Are is a gloriously gory horror flick about a family of cannibals forced to survive on their own when the family's patriarch - and 'food' provider - suddenly dies. But on another level, the film serves as an allegory of everything that's wrong with society, particularly in the dog-eat-dog world of crime-riddled Mexico City.
"I didn't necessarily want to make a genre film," says Grau. "I was much more interested in providing a mirror to talk about the social problems in Mexico right now". Short of visiting the country, the closest most of us can get to Mexico is lining up for hours outside Mama-so-hard-to-get-in-it's-almost-a-myth-sita, or better still, checking out the Hola Mexico Film Festival. It's the annual showcase of films - like this year's We Are What We Are - that proves there's more to Mexican cinema than Like Water for Chocolate and Amores perros.
Celebrating its fifth year, the 2010 program includes Australian-born Michael Rowe's Leap Year, winner of the Camera d'Or at Cannes, and Diego Muñoz's Bitten Bullet starring Damián Alcázar (from The Crime of Father Amaro - also screening this year in a tribute to director Carlos Carrera).
Nicolas Entel's documentary Sins of My Father is a riveting portrait of Juan Pablo Escobar (son of the Colombian druglord), while Presumed Guilty follows the chilling real life story of a man wrongly accused and jailed for murder. And then there's Revolución, a stunning compilation of 10 short films exploring the Mexican Revolution, directed by the likes of Gael García Bernal, Diego Luna and Amat Escalante. Hasta luego!
The Hola Mexico Film Festival runs from Fri 22 October - Sun 31 October, 2010. For more information see the Hola Mexico Film Festival page.
Published Thursday, 21 October 2010