Polar bear, by Marcelo Tobar, presented at the 15th FICMBy: Marco Antonio Mejía
The third day of activities of the fifteenth edition of the Morelia International Film Festival (FICM) began with the press screening of Polar Bear (2017, dir. Marcelo Tobar), Mexican film that forms part of the Mexican Feature Film section in competition at the 15th FICM.
The narrative focuses on Heriberto, a young man who gives two old school friends a ride to go to a reunion on the other side of the city. Heriberto tries to reconnect with them, but Flor and Trujillo replicate the same abusive dynamics they had against him as children. Heriberto, who is no longer as submissive as before, is going to give them the surprise of their lives.
Marcelo Tobar graduated from the Vancouver Film School, writes, directs and produces under an independent cooperative system. His filmography includes Asteroide (2014) and Dos mil metros sobre el nivel del mar (2008).
After the show, the filmmaker acknowledged the artistic work of having created the first Mexican movie filmed with an iPhone, which meant approaching the story from another perspective in visuals and content.
“It’s a movie with which I realized that the rules of the game have changed completely. When I decided to sign it, I talked to Elsa Reyes (producer) and in six months we were creating already. First, we thought this was going to be for YouTube but then the project evolved and I wrote the script around the idea of the mobile phone (…) knowing that we were going for a different aesthetic.”
To emphasize how the story originated, Marcelo Tobar specified that his school memories and a retrospective on himself drove him to create characters who are always victims of other human beings.
“I had a school reunion and that woke me up. I realized that I had an image of myself that was very different from what my schoolmates thought of me. I discovered that I had been living with unresolved issues since the age of seven. I started dreaming about it and I knew I had to tell it in my next movie with characters that are not villains, each of them is simply bullied by a different person.”
Humberto Busto considered that his performance in Polar Bear gave him an interpretative evolution, which was never affected when being constantly filmed with a cell phone camera.
“Before the shoot, I felt lost or frustrated in the professional field, but with Marcelo, I could explore other things and develop them, for the first time, I felt that it fit into a coordinate.”
Elsa Reyes, producer of the film, said that the omission of professional cameras was a great help to film in a more peaceful manner on streets of Mexico City.
“It was a very organic and simple process when working on a small team. Mobility in Mexico City did not cause us problems, we got on the subway and went shopping; it was a different experience.”
In the afternoon, after a gala screening at Cinépolis Centro, the cast and crew of Polar Bear thanked the audience for their response, and in a brief Q&A session. Marcelo Tobar, director of the film, pointed out that the greatest difficulty was that he did not have governmental support:
“I have not received any help from government friends, so for me, it is not new to try to film as an act of resistance. I think that I must be a filmmaker, although I have questioned it many times, I know I have something to contribute, if I don’t get help from outsiders, I must find kindred people who are in the same situation of entering the movie theatre throwing punches”.
On Tuesday, October 24, Polar Bear will be shown again in theatre 2 of Cinépolis Las Americas, at 4:45 p.m.