Mexico

Sergei M. Eisenstein – La Destrucción de Oaxaca (1931)

Description: Footage of the aftermath of the January 14 1931 Earthquake in Oaxaca, Mexico. Read More »

Rolando Klein – Chac: Dios de la lluvia aka Chac the Rain God (1975)

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A very unique and incredible film, Rolando Klein made it in 1974 after spending two years living among the Tzeltal Indians of Chiapas, collecting stories, events, and anecdotes from their culture. A graduate of UCLA film school and of Chilean birth, Klein “returned to his Hispanic roots” at the urging of director and mentor Jules Dassin in 1972. A village is experiencing a drought detrimental to their crops and, resultantly, their survival. After only failure comes from consultation with their usual shaman, they attempt to gain aid from a mysterious diviner living in the mountains, who is said to practice the ancient ways forgotten by all else in the village. After securing his help, the diviner leads twelve tribesmen on a long journey as part of the rain-bringing ceremony. Eventually they return to the village to enact the ceremony proper, and incredible events ensue. In the meantime, there is always skepticism of the diviner’s abilities; indeed, he might be merely bewitching the village for his own purposes. Or is he…? Read More »

Ruben Gutierrez – Pierdete Entre los Muertos AKA Drown Among the Dead (2018)

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An elderly comedian is buried up to his neck in the Mexican desert. A bitter young woman threatens to pulp his head with a nail bat; the only thing that can stall her are his stories of a mythical threshold behind which lies the absolute truth. Is she in his dream or he in hers? Or were they once the Bonnie-and-Clyde-like couple we keep seeing, exacting their revenge on the world? In this dystopian frame story, nothing is what it seems. “Some stories have no clear beginning or end,” says the old man and his tales of love, fear of death and love’s vulnerability intertwine. Nihilistic, yet wonderfully shot, this narrative offers no solution, but does provide escape routes for a doomed world. Director Gutiérrez calls this, his debut film, his opera prima.

“This bizarre situation detonates a monologue about solitude, emptiness, love, absurdity, fear of death, and the fragility of human passions.”

— FilmAffinity Read More »

Nicolás Pereda – Minotauro (2015)

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Nicolás Pereda / Mexico-Canada, 2015 / New York, Toronto / 53′

Two young men and a young women occupy a flat in Mexico City. They spend their days reading alone, reading aloud, and sleeping. From time to time, a maid arrives to tidy their quarters. Time and even space cease to exist; there is only the present somnambulant moment, drifting between sleep and wakefulness.

A wraithlike fantasy capturing the languorous texture of privilege, Minotaur studies both the nearly-obsolete ritual of cloistering oneself from the world to read, and the social status that would make such an activity possible. Nicolás Pereda’s seventh film premiered at both the New York Film Festival and Toronto. Read More »

Alfonso Cuarón – Sólo con tu pareja AKA Love in the Time of Hysteria [+Extras] (1991)

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The hero of Alfonso Cuarón’s “Sólo Con Tu Pareja” is Tomás Tomás (Daniel Giménez Cacho), a young man living alone in a roomy Mexico City apartment with a tedious job writing advertising copy and a hyperactive romantic life. Apparently and perhaps not quite plausibly irresistible to women, he is also unable to resist them, which is believable enough, since the women in this movie favor garter belts, half-slips and other kinds of retro-sexy lingerie, which they seem happy to display, or to remove, in Tomás’s presence.

Mr. Cuarón made this film, his first feature, 15 years ago, before departing Mexico for Hollywood and making “A Little Princess” and “Great Expectations,” returning home for “Y Tu Mamá También” and then coming back to direct “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.”

This zigzagging has made him an intriguing and in some ways exemplary figure in contemporary world cinema, and the movies themselves show remarkable exuberance and versatility. All of which partly justifies the belated release (simultaneously in theaters and on DVD) of “Sólo Con Tu Pareja,” a lively calling card from a young, ambitious director working with limited funds and a screenplay he wrote with his brother Carlos. Read More »

Matias Meyer – Wadley (2008)

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A young man with a backpack walks all on his own into the endless Mexican cactus desert. He takes some peyote. How does he get out again? Pure cinema in the long-take tradition of Lisandro Alonso or Gus Van Sant. Read More »

Gerardo Naranjo – Voy a explotar AKA I’m Gonna Explode (2008)

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Tale of a young couple who throw caution to the wind and set out in search of their true fate. Román is the son of a contemptible, right-leaning congressman. Recently enrolled in a new high school, the rebellious teen clumsily attempts to hang himself on-stage at the big talent show. Maru is the sole member of the audience to applaud, earning both students a day of detention. After bonding during the course of their punishment, Román and Maru grab daddy’s gun, steal a Volkswagen, and hit the road bound for nowhere. Read More »