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“Becoming vulnerable gives a lot of power”, press conference of This Is Not Berlín at the 17th FICM

By: Aranza Flores @Alvayeah

The talent of This Is Not Berlín, by Hari Sama, revealed the secrets behind the film during a press conference at the Morelia International Film Festival (FICM). The director, the main actors Xabiani de León, Mauro Sánchez and José Antonio Toledo, producer Ale García, as well as the screenwriters Rodrigo Ordóñez and Max Zunino, were all present. 

Because the film is inspired by Hari Sama’s adolescence, the cast spoke about the process of creating and interpreting his characters. They told how the director soaked them with everything he lived and felt at the time. José Antonio Toledo, who plays Gera, said: “He tried to absorb us in that world. The challenge was to understand it from that same perspective. He also gave us time to do an internal search on what we wanted to convey about the characters.”

Xabiani Ponce de León, Hari Sama

Xabiani Ponce de León, Hari Sama

Mauro Sánchez, on the other hand, said that building his character was “a way to understand the world of performance and to understand and heal the scars we have as human beings.”

Sánchez, who belongs to the LGBTIQ+ community, says that the fact of playing a non-heterosexual young man in an era like the 1980s in Mexico, has allowed him to see that “we have not changed much since then to the present,” talking about repression and discrimination towards sexual diversity.

Between post punk as a soundtrack and the radical counterculture, Hari Sama said that the fact of having gone out in the film with the role that he played was a gift to himself from a paternal figure. Portraying part of his life was a long-term writing process that took many years and the filming caused him a lot of vulnerability, however, he does not neglect that “becoming vulnerable gives a lot of power.”

Ale García, Xabiani Ponce de León, Hari Sama, José Antonio Toledano

Ale García, Xabiani Ponce de León, Hari Sama, José Antonio Toledano