Revolutionaries, love stories and murder in the mix in DIFF’s Focus on Mexican cinema

Mon Nov 08,2010

The line-up of fact and fiction highlight the diversity in Mexican cinema as well as the country’s rich history and complex socio-political dynamics.

Leading the line-up from the golden age of Mexican filmmaking is 1947 classic Enamorada, directed by Emilio Fernandez, starring Mexican icons Maria Félix and Pedro Armendáriz, and photographed by legendary cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa.

The film narrates the story of guerrilla general José Juan Reyes and his troops, who takeover the town of Cholula near Mexico City. As the revolutionaries plunder the town’s riches, Reyes finds himself falling in love with the daughter of one of the town’s richest men. Enamorada, an amusing and ironic tale, scooped awards for Best Picture, Actress, Director, Screenplay, and Cinematography.

Veteran Mexican director Felipe Cazalas’ Chicogrande, a commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Mexican revolution this year, is set during Pancho Villa’s raid on a New Mexico outpost in 1916 and the resulting American military expedition into Mexico to arrest and punish him.

Roberto Hernandez’s critically acclaimed and award winning documentary Presunto Culpable (Presumed Guilty) tracks the story of Tono Zuniga, wrongly convicted of murder in December 2005. While trying to exonerate him, two young Mexican attorneys expose the pitfalls of a justice system that presumes suspects guilty until proven innocent.

Sebastián Hiriart’s A Tiro De Piedra (A Stone’s Throw Away) follows a bored 21-year-old shepherd from northern Mexico who finds a keychain on the ground just when he thinks he needs more in life. The keychain takes him on a thousand mile journey to find its rightful owner in the northwest United States. Combining realism and fantasy, the film is a cogent commentary on the plight of poor Mexicans who see riches awaiting them over the border.

Ortiz Cruz’s brand new drama The Dead Sea (El Mar Muerto) rounds out the showcase. The critically acclaimed film begins when an electrical blackout hits Mexico City. In the shadows, transgressions are committed but when power returns the perpetrators realize the extent of their actions and must redeem themselves.

Sheila Whitaker, Director of International Programming for DIFF, said the programme highlighted the breadth and depth of Mexican filmmaking.

“Mexican cinema has a long and honourable history, and today, as in its past, it can boast world-class directors. This year’s selection of Mexican cinema provides further evidence of a vibrant filmmaking culture,” she said.

The seventh edition of Dubai International Film Festival 2010 will be held from December 12 to 19. DIFF 2010 is held in association with Dubai Studio City and supported by the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority. Dubai Duty Free, Dubai International Financial Centre, Dubai Pearl, Emirates Airline and Madinat Jumeirah, the home of the Dubai International Film Festival, are the principal sponsors of DIFF.  Accreditation for DIFF 2010 is now open, and the DIFF box office will open in late November.

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