Thanks in part to a strong co-production drive, 13 films with Mexican nationality will be screened in San Sebastian this year, a large presence.
Perlak frames Alejandro G. Iñarritu Venice player “Bardo: False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths.” Much of the heat, at least in industry terms, will come from the premieres and sneak peeks.
As a highlight, Natalia Beristáin will premiere the world premiere “Noise” (“Ruido”), before the Netflix show in November. In possibly another, Mexico’s Laura Pancarte (“non-western”) reveals “Sueño Mexicano” as a pic-in-post.
Eyes will also be on Mexico’s newest generation of authors. One director is suddenly very well known: longtime editor Natalia López Gallardo, winner of the Berlin jury prize for ‘Robe of Gems’.
Others bubbling under: Juan Pablo González whose “Dos Estaciones” impressed Sundance, Rodrigo Ruiz Patterson, director of “Summer White”, another Sundance title, and Bruno Santamaría, a Gold Hugo best doc winner at the 2020 Chicago Festival for “Things We Dare Not.” Both have new projects at the San Sebastian Co-Production Forum.The full lineup:
“Bardo: False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths”,(Alejandro G. Inarritu, Perlak)
The first film by Iñárritu (‘Birdman’, ‘The Revenant’, Perlak) in his native Mexico since his 2000 debut, ‘Amores perros’. In it, “the filmmaker takes a page – in fact an entire book – of Fellini’s “8 1⁄2″, and tells the story of a renowned Mexican journalist who is full of fears and fantasies, but above all full of himself,” Owen Gleiberman wrote in to be Variety review.
“Daughter of Rage,” (“La hija de todas las rabias”, Laura Baumeister, new directors)
A blend of scathing social realism and moving lyricism, Baumeister’s first feature, a mother-daughter broken relationship set in a garbage dump in Managua, Guatemala “Daughter of Rage” swept San Sebastian’s Co-Production Forum (2019), before it released its WIP Latam won ( 2021), a rare doppelganger. Marta Orozco’s MarthFilms in Mexico was one of the mainstays of the production, joining a strong co-production base of six countries.
“Dos Estaciones”, (Juan Pablo González, Horizontes Latinos)
Scoring an acclaimed Sundance Jury Award winner for lead Teresa Sánchez, which is set in the cozy rolling Jalisco Highlands but charts the merciless disappearance of Mexican artesanal tequila plants, gobbled up by global brands. Sánchez plays María Garcia, the quirky owner of Dos Estaciones, who survives despite a plague and a flood. Glorious shot, a sad farewell to the passing of an era. Jamie Gonçalves, Ilana Coleman and Bruna Haddad of Sin Sitio Cine produced from Mexico.
“Feel it,” (“Sintiéndolo Mucho,” Fernando Leon Aranoa, Velodrome)
A documentary portrait of Spanish singer-songwriter Joaquín Sabina, 13 years in the making, showing “the artist, his best and worst moments and his personality, so linked to his work, his creativity”, Leon de Aranoa told Variety. pproduced by Reposado, BTF Media, Sony Music Spain.
“The Kings of the World”, (“Los Reyes del Mundo,” Laura Mora, Competition)
Colombian Mora’s anticipated sequel to the 2017 outbreak “Killing Jesus,” backed by producer-director Cristina Gallegos (“Birds of Passage”), the imaginative story of five Medellín street kids who head into the mountains to find a promised land . Manufactured from Mexico by enterprising manufacturing/distribution house Interior X111, backed by Eficine 189 funding.
“La Hija del General”, (Rodrigo Ruiz Patterson, Mexico, Co-production Forum)
Founded by Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna’s La Corriente del Golfo, a friendship story between two – very different – women during the Mexican Revolution. Directed by Ruiz Patterson, its highly anticipated sequel to 2020’s Sundance-selected “Summer White,” a psychologically acute coming-of-age film.
“Mexican Dream”, (“Sueño Mexicano,” Laura Plancarte, WIP Latam)
Malena struggles to finish her house, set up a business and receive an IVF will to conceive, and bring her family together under one roof as she’s always dreamed. Whether she can pull this off is another question. Plancarte’s follow-up to the well-received ‘Non-Western’, produced from Mexico by her own label, LP Films, and Ivan Trujillo at TV UNAM.
“Noise,” (“Ruido”, Natalia Beristáin Horizontes Latinos)
San Sebastian’s great Mexican world premiere, a heartbreaking chronicle of a mother’s desperate search for her missing daughter. This is based on a near-docu-portrait of the search process and the protest movements of women: the screenplay was co-written by Diego Osorno (“1994”, “Devils Freedom”) and collaborator Alo Valenzuela for a reason. To balance that, Beristain traces the emotional, mental, and physical impact on the viewfinder, giving the film a dreamy lyricism. woo
Films, a producer through Noc Noc Cinema on ‘House of Flowers’, produces Bengala with Beristáin’s grind.
“Octopus Skin”, (“La Piel Pulpo,” Ana Cristina Barragán, Horizontes Latinos)
The second feature film by Ecuadorian Barragán, an alumnus of Elias Querejeta Zine Eskola from San Sebastian, the coming-of-age family drama “La Piel Pulpo” (“Octopus Skin”) revolves around the twins Iris and Ariel who live with their mother and younger sister living on a remote island. Santiago Ortiz Monasterios’ Desenlace Films produces in Mexico.
“Porn Melancholy”, (“Pornomelancolia,” Manuel Abramovich, Competition)
The latest documentary from Argentinian Manuel Abramovich, winner of the 2019 Berlinale Silver Bear for ‘Blue Boy’, about Lalo, an outrageous sex influencer living in the mountains of southern Mexico. A winner of the Gabriel Figueroa Film Fund.
“robe of gems,” (“Manto de Gemas,” Natalia López Gallardo, Zabaltegi-Tabakalera)
A winner of the Berlin Jury Prize from 2022, from editor Natalia López Gallardo (“Jauja”, “Post Tenebras Lux”, “Heli”). Three women collide with a drug ring, leading to tragedy and violence in a film that charts—often numbingly—the “spiritual wound” of a “rogue cycle”, as López Gallardo puts it. Sold by Visit Films.
“Six months in the pink and blue building”, (“Seis meses en el edificio rosa con azul,” Bruno Santamaría, Co-Production Forum)
A nuanced comedic drama with an undercurrent of tragedy, written and directed by award-winning documentary filmmaker Bruno Santamaría Razo (“Cosas que no hacemos”),” “an opportunity to understand an intimate and familiar event from the past,” in Santamaría Razo’s words. Set in the 1990s, the story follows 10-year-old Bru, whose father is diagnosed with HIV, causing his family to fall apart.
“The replacement,” (“El Suplente”, Diego Lerman, Competition)
Van Lerman (“Suddenly”), a pioneer of New Argentine Cinema. Produced by Nicolás Avruj in Campo Cine, the hopeful drama is set in high school in the violent, marginalized suburb of Buenos Aires. Esperanto Kino (“Desierto”) co-produces from Mexico.