Devil’s Freedom, the hidden face of violence at the 15th FICMBy: Gustavo R. Gallardo
Mexican filmmaker Everardo González presented his documentary Devil’s Freedom (2017) at the Melchor Ocampo Theater during the activities of the 15th Morelia International Film Festival (FICM).
The film addresses violence through interviews with victims and perpetrators. Through testimonies, we get to know about their fears and their relationship with indifferent society.
“I feel more comfortable on the side of the chroniclers than on the film scene,” Everardo explained while looking back on the beginning of the project ten years after the so-called “war on drugs”, in December 2006.
“It seemed like a very bizarre thing to me, the “recorder” (which ran a newspaper of national circulation). It looked like a well-operated brokerage house, which increased and increased. I wasn’t sure what to do about this project,” said the director of documentaries El Paso (2015), Cuates de Australia (2011), The Open Sky (2011), Old Thieves. Artegio’s Legend (2007) and Pulque Song (2003).
He recalled that much was asked about who was responsible for the violence: “The hitmen or those who had the power to order these triggers to be pulled? That was my first intention of approaching them.”
For the film, he asked those involved to wear a mask as an aesthetic exercise, in which, additionally, they are looking at the audience: “It shows how we are as a society through anonymity, of what we are capable of doing behind a mask. That was also to make the victims faceless.”
Before about 60 spectators, Everardo also spoke about the narco figure, which is seen with pleasure in films or series: “I am against praising the figure of the narco, I don’t like it, but it turned profitable in a society of consumption in which we all are involved. It is easier to see El señor de los cielos than this movie. Movies like the ones I make need to be legitimized.”
In the end, the Mexican filmmaker lamented about how the violence has not stopped: “The permanent contact with the atrocious made us spectators of violence. With the spectacle of blood in Mexico, the society was blocked, stopped being scandalized with a corpse, who stopped being a dead person, it was no longer newsworthy until there were dismembered bodies.”
Devil’s Freedom won the Morelia Impulse Award at the 14th Morelia International Film Festival and this year won the Amnesty International Award for documentaries from the Berlinale, the Guerrero Press Award of the Guadalajara International Film Festival and was part of the Documentary Tour Ambulante 2017.