»FOR ME, THE CINEMA CONSISTS OF IMAGES, LIGHT, TEMPO AND EMOTIONS. WITH PICTURES, I CONSTRUCT DISCOURSES.«
TATIANA HUEZO, TAZ, 18.02.2016
Within the framework of the official Year of Germany in Mexico 2016/17, the Dortmund | Cologne IWFF is proud to present a specific Country Focus on Mexico.
Mexico has one of the most extensive back catalogues of film in Latin America. One of the Mexican cinema pioneers was film-maker Adela Sequeyro who, in 1937, was to become the first female director to produce a talking movie: Nobody’s Wife. It is a melodrama set sometime in the 19th century in which she herself plays the leading role of a young woman who flees from her violent stepfather to seek refuge in Mexico’s Bohemian scene.
Since then, however, the number of women film-makers has increased, especially since the 1990s. In numerous films and documentaries, they expose the problems facing their homeland.
Mexico has a rich cultural heritage and is famous for high culture. The country also acts as a place of exile for those suffering political persecution. Yet most of the time Mexico gets negative headlines: the scourge of organised crime, drug wars, human trafficking, corruption and, above all, that of forced disappearance spreads fear and uncertainty. The fight against organised crime and the clashes between rival drug cartels constantly demand new sacrifices. A recent report from Amnesty International says that the whereabouts of some 27.000 people in Mexico are unknown. Women in particular are often victims of a violence which, according to the German Foreign Office, continues to rise. And the current work of the women directors from Mexico reflects these circumstances. In numerous films and documentaries, they address the problems of their country, concentrate on socio-political content and do not shrink from showing the violence and the oppression. Thus they explore their personal and cultural identities against the backdrop of urban and social realities. Director Tatiana Huezo, for example, used her short film Absences to look at the forced disappearance of people and its impact on women. In her new impressive documentary Tempest, also shown at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival, she relates of an innocent young mother who is arrested and handed over to a private prison under the control of the Gulf Cartel. Other films deal with: the crimes committed against Ciudad Juárez activists Go on Living; the struggle against historical amnesia and against immunity from punishment Time Suspended; the search by two siblings for their true identity Tracing Aleida; and, not least, the predicament of the homeless and the dilemma of a social worker in Mexico City in Through the Eyes. These themes and their emphases are crucial for the development of new narrative mechanisms and a hybrid film language as well as for a renewal of feminist discourse in Latin American cinema.
And finally, during a panel discussion (including film extracts), our guests from Mexico will be giving some insight into their work and the central theme of violence and forced disappearances. We are looking forward very much to stimulating discussions.
_Curators: Sonja Hofmann (i/c), Patricia Torres San Martín
The event is part of the Dual Year Mexico / Germany 2016/17. In cooperation with the Mexican Embassy, the Mexican Film Institute (IMCINE) and the Landeszentrale für politische Bildung NRW.
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