Revolución in Morelia gets the Biarritz Prize
Araceli Calva translated Morris Thompson
Biarritz festival representative Jean-Christophe Berjon presented the medal to Cruz. “They pulled off an incredible artistic task,” he said.
Speaking to the enthusiastic crowd of about 1,000 in Morelia’s Historic Center waiting to see the 10 shorts that comprise the film, Cruz expressed thanks for the prize announced Oct. 4 at the eponymous film festival in Biarritz, France.
Seven of Revolución’s 10 directors attended the ceremony in Plaza Benito Juárez: Carlos Reygadas, Amat Escalante, Diego Luna, Mariana Chenillo, Patricia Riggen, Fernando Eimbcke and Gerardo Naranjo. Gael García, Rodrigo García and Rodrigo Plá didn’t make it because of other commitments.
Later, the directors attended another special screening at the Cinépolis complex, accompanied by Daniela Michel, Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas Batel and Alejandro Ramírez Magaña, who are respectively director, vice president and president of the Morelia festival.
Michel said she was proud to have the film on the festival’s program and that she admired the work of all the directors.
Revolución is composed of the films La bienvenida (The Welcoming), Lindo y querido (Beautiful and Beloved), Lucio, El cura Nicolás Colgado (The Hanging Priest), Este es mi reino (This is My Kingdom), La tienda de raya (Estate Store), R-100, 30/30, Pacífico and La 7th y Alvarado (7th Street and Alvarado).
at Plaza Benito Juárez
Photo: Paulo Vidales / Imagen Latente
Mounting their Revolution
The directors in attendance also held a press conference in which they discussed their respective short films.
Luna noted that each filmmaker had total artistic freedom to explore the theme of the Mexican Revolution of 1910 in 10 minutes.
Patricia Riggen, who has lived in Los Angeles for the past 10 years, said that as an emigrant she decided to make Lindo y Querido from the viewpoint of being outside Mexico. But in contrast to the treatment in her film La misma luna (The Same Moon), she said this is a story about people who want to return to their native land.
Mariana Chenillo, director of La tienda de raya, said she got the idea for her film from a news report out of Tamaulipas state about a woman who sued because a store that paid her salary partly in certificates redeemable for merchandise there.
Carlos Reygadas said his Esto es mi reino depicts people from various social strata just enjoying their food and freedom. He said that when the guests at the party filmed in the short asked him if the work were about the Revolution or politics, “I told them, no, it was about their feeling totally free.”
Diego Luna said he tried to make a film that was about himself and his family. “I liked being a part of my film, and that it was about me as a father,” he said.
Fernando Eimbcke said he was happy with his production and for the invitation to collaborate in Pablo Cruz’s effort. He said his short was a simple story that portrays the musicians in a small-town band.
With the title R-100, Gerardo Naranjo presented a difficult story, in which the viewer must use the imagination to determine who’s villain and who’s victim. “My aim was to take an abstract story, shape a mood and let the criteria of the viewer sort it out,” he said.
In the end, Amat Escalante remained silent about the meaning of his work.
Diego Luna lamented what he termed the fact that the contemporary Mexican film industry can’t make it on the basis of its box-office receipts and has to rely on government support for its survival. He emphasized that new strategies are needed to achieve a self-sustaining film industry.
Revolución goes into commercial release the first week of November. It also will be broadcast on free TV and YouTube, and released on DVD, on Nov. 20, the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the Mexican Revolution.