The RichMix is showing some top quality Mexican documentaries this weekend as part of the London MexFest. Last night the festival kicked off with a sold-out world premiere screening of Made in Mexico (Hecho en México) by Duncan Bridgeman (1 Giant Leap) and more good docs are on the schedule.
Saturday 18 August
- Sat 18 Aug / 1.30pm / Silvestre Pantaleón
Silvestre Pantaleón is an elderly indigenous man living in the state of Guerrero. We follow Don Silvestre in his daily life and work, making rope from cactus fiber that is then used to lift saints. We become witnesses to the unfair competition between traditional means of production and modern industrial manufacturing processes. The cinematography is rich in ethnographic detail; the result of participant observation, curious and intimate, but always respectful. An astonishing example of contemporary ethnographic cinema.
- Sat 18 Aug – 2pm followed by Q&A / Sun 19 Aug – 5.30pm / Drought / Cuates de Australia
There is a lost ranch called Cuates de Australia nestled in the mountains of Coahuila, in northeast Mexico. As is common in many rural areas, the inhabitants of the community vacillate between staying on their land and going away in search of a better life. Their reasons for leaving include not only poverty and desolation, but namely, the lack of water. Drought captures the exodus but also the resistance and survival strategies of a community facing climatic adversity and a myriad of social problems.
- Sat 18 Aug – 3.30pm / Sun 19 Aug – 2.45pm / Lost In Time / Perdida + Q&A
Sorting through old film reels, newspaper articles and clips from her family’s film vaults, a documentary filmmaker discovers the role her family played in Mexican cinema, and how its Golden Era emerged and eventually died. Romances, movie legends, presidents and film pioneers all partake in this journey of discovery.
- Sat 18 Aug / 6.15pm / Canícula
In a small town in Veracruz, clay becomes life and wisdom becomes flight.
- Sat 18 Aug / 8pm / Lessons for a War / Lecciones para una Guerra
After resisting the constant assault of the Guatemalan army, which decimated their community –claiming the lives of more than two hundred thousand indigenous people between 1982 and 1996– the Ixil people settle in the northeast part of the mountain range, a zone currently exploited for its rich natural resources, including gold, water, petroleum and uranium. It is in this context that Juan Manuel Sepúlveda captures with his implacable camera the daily struggle of a community in resistance.
- Sat 18 Aug / 10pm / My Life Inside / Mi Vida Dentro
Rosa is a Mexican woman who, in 1999 at the age of 17, migrated illegally to Austin, Texas. In January 2003 she was detained for suspected murder and then put on trial in August 2005. To be imprisoned in a foreign country, the judicial process, the verdict, the separation from her family, the powerlessness, make of My Life Inside a powerful inside into the life of Mexican migrants in the United States.
Sunday 19 August
- Sun 19 Aug / 12.45pm / Born Without / Nacido Sin
A tender and controversial love story about actor and musician José Flores, a man born with no arms, and the woman who bore him six children through caesarian births. José is often labeled a “beggar” as he travels around Mexico playing the harmonica in order to support his family. The film includes clips from José’s acting career and interviews with the filmmakers and actors who worked with him, as well as stories told by José’s sisters and other relatives who witnessed him grow up.
- Sun 19 Aug / 12.45pm / The Tiniest Place / El Lugar Más Pequeño
In El Salvador, five families walked through the jungle for five days. As they arrived to what used to be their village, there was nothing left. People organized themselves and began to collect the remains of their dead ones. Today, life begins again amongst nightmares and wounds of a terrible civil war. The characters –farm labourers from a guerrilla town– attempt to go on living, sowing the soil and looking after their animals; the images of their dead ones ever present. Forced to give up their weapons, they remain committed to never forgeting.
- Sun 19 Aug / 5pm / The Mexican Suitcase / La Maleta Mexicana + Q&A
In 2007, 4,500 negatives of images taken from the Spanish Civil War by Robert Capa, David Seymore and Gerda Taro were recovered in Mexico City. In the same year, the Spanish Congress passed the Historical Memory Law. The Mexican Suitcase traces the journey of the negatives and the complexity of understanding the past in Spain today.