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Cannes Critics Week at the 17th FICM

By: Gustavo R. Gallardo

As it is tradition, this 17th Morelia International Film Festival (FICM), will feature the presentation of the Cannes Critics Week 2019 films: Abou Leila, by Amin Sidi-Boumédiène; Ceniza negra, by Sofía Quirós Ubeda; A White, White Day, by Hlynur Pálmason; The Unknown Saint, by Alaa Eddine Aljem; Vivarium, by Lorcan Finnegan; J’ai perdu mon corps, by Jérémy Clapin, winner of the Great Critics Award; and Nuestras madres, by César Díaz, winner of the Golden Camera.

Ceniza negra

Gustavo R. Gallardo | October 19

Sofía Quiros, Florencia Rovlich, Charles Tesson

The film Ceniza negra (2019) was presented at the 17th FICM with the presence of Cannes Critics Week director, Charles Tesson, as well as filmmaker Sofía Quirós and casting director Florencia Rovlich.

“It is about a history of learning, of life initiation, but also emancipation. This is a film with a melodic and elegant atmosphere which talks a lot about the Caribbean,” said Tesson.

In the film, an adolescent named Selva discovers that when we die we change skin, which allows us to become animals or whatever imagination allows.

“It is a very intimate film, made among friends, with a low budget, but with a lot of soul,” said the director.

After the screening, filmmaker Sofía Quirós responded to some questions from the audience.

“We wanted to build a feminine character that was not a victim. In Afroamerican culture death is celebrated like a party, this is not seen in the film, but they make great parties with dances, they are thankful for life,” said Quirós.

Besides, she said that working with natural actors was a fun process because it allowed her to create an atmosphere so that they could think about their character: “Sometimes we played salsa to cheer them up or we turned off the light to think of a quiet scene and they could get into their character.”

Abou Leila

Gustavo R. Gallardo | October 20

Charles Tesson

Charles Tesson

Abou Leila (2019), by Amin Sidi-Boumédiène, was presented at the 17th FICM by the director of Cannes Critics’ Week, Charles Tesson.

Sidi-Boumédiène’s directorial debut addresses a journey through the desert of two childhood friends who are trying to find a terrorist. Their search seems absurd, but as they move forward, so does their own inner violence.

“On the one hand it is a road movie in the Sahara desert (a road movie in Algerian cinema is already surprising); on the other, it is a buddy movie with two policemen, of whom it is unknown if they are fleeing terrorism or looking for terrorists. Suddenly it turns around and becomes a horror film,” said Charles Tesson.

Vivarium, by Lorcan Finnegan

Aranza Flores | October 23

Charles Tesson, Chloë Roddick, Daniela Michel

Charles Tesson, Chloë Roddick, Daniela Michel

Vivarium (2019), by Lorcan Finnegran, was presented at the 17th edition of the FICM by Charles Tesson, director of Cannes Critics’ Week, and the Festival director, Daniela Michel.

The Irish director’s second film looks at a young couple who, after following a mysterious real estate agent, ends up trapped in a strange real estate development when he was looking for his first house.

“It gives me pride and it is an honor to have the collaboration of Critics’ Week since the first FICM; it was a test of trust and a friendship we appreciate very much,” said Daniela Michel.

Charles Tesson, for his part, thanked Daniela Michel’s words and highlighted the alliance “that has to do with young people, but also with friendship, a very strong one that shows here and there.”

On the film, Tesson commented that Vivarium is a “fantastic film but also made in a strange modality, between anguish and the fourth dimension. Also, from the plastic point of view, it can make you think of painter René Magritte, and well, in its own way, it can make you think of the meaning of life and existence.”

The Unknown Saint, by Alaa Eddine Aljem

Aranza Flores | 23 de octubre

Artistic director of the Cannes Critics’ Week, Charles Tesson, together with the founder and general director of the Morelia International Film Festival (FICM), Daniela Michel, presented a special screening of The Unknown Saint, by Alaa Eddine Aljem.

The Unknown Saint tells the story of Amine, who after stealing a loot and hiding it in a fake tomb before being arrested, returns and discovers that his hiding place has become a mausoleum.

“It is a film with a lot of humor that speaks of an important reality in Morocco and in the Arab countries. It also addresses a perspective on the weight of religion and puts on the table if this concept is richness of spirit,” explained Tesson. He also thanked the Festival for the space and the good reception on behalf of the whole team.