Kuxlejal (Vida) by Elke Franke premiered at the 18th FICMBy: Ximena Cuevas
Kuxlejal (Vida) (2020), the documentary directed by filmmaker Elke Franke, is part of the Mexican Documentary Section of the 18th Morelia International Film Festival (FICM).
The director told us about her passion for audiovisual work on television aimed at children and young audiences, especially a children’s news broadcast where she reported on high suicide rates – an investigation which later became this film production.
Kuxlejal (Vida) makes suicides among young indigenous people visible and reflects the feelings and conflicts that lead to the feeling that “life is worth nothing.” It shows the struggle of young people of both sexes to find their identity, speak their own language and begin to accept themselves. By opening the dialogue and creating a bridge of empathy between generations and cultures, the main motivation of the film is to save lives.
With this work, the need to open spaces within the community where young people can express themselves was recognized, since the intention is to open a dialogue between young people from the highlands of Chiapas.
“We recognize that we are the same, I am not only a speaker, I am a Tzotzil”, said photographer Juan Antonio Méndez Rodríguez, when he spoke about how the filming dynamics were taken as a game, since there was no script. “It was about exploring the life of the boys, and above all, understanding that we were in a process where they had to prepare a public activity.”
On the other hand, Juan Antonio also commented that generating cinematographic productions allows you greater exploration. “I’m more interested in exploration, knowing what I’m looking for in this scene and in the eyes of the boys,” he explained.
The filmmaker spoke about responsibility for the quality of products made for children and stressed that there was still a friendly bond with the group of young people, accompanying them through their individual and group processes. In addition to mentioning how gratifying it was to see how young people were able to identify with the film as well as bringing support to the parents.
Kuxlejal (Vida) will be available free of charge for 24 hours at Cinépolis KLIC starting October 29 at 9:30 p.m.