At most only 22 vaquita porpoises remain

3/7/2019 – The Washington Post

By Mark Stevenson

vaquitaExperts said Wednesday that at most only 22 vaquitas remain in the Gulf of California, where a grim, increasingly violent battle is playing out between emboldened fishermen and the last line of defense for the smallest and most endangered porpoise in the world.

Jorge Urban, a biology professor at the Baja California Sur University, said the 22 vaquitas were heard over a network of acoustic monitors at the end of summer. That was, in fact, higher than many had expected; some had estimated as little as 15 would remain in the Gulf, also known as the Sea of Cortez, the only place in the world where the vaquita marina is found.

It may be a sign the vaquita is holding on, and what is keeping it alive is a thin line of defenders: Every night 22 volunteer crew members from ships operated by the environmentalist group Sea Shepherd go out to search the upper Gulf for hidden gill nets that catch prized – but protected – totoaba fish and drown vaquitas.

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Cuaron’s ‘Roma’ gives Mexico 1st foreign language film Oscar

2/25/2019 – The Washington Post

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(Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

LOS ANGELES — “Roma,” the touching black-and-white portrait of a domestic worker and the middle-class family she cares for in 1970s Mexico City, won the Oscar for best foreign language film Sunday, giving Mexico its long-sought first win in that category.

Director Alfonso Cuaron’s deeply personal film with dialogue in Spanish and Mixtec beat four other contenders that also told the stories of individuals and families facing tumultuous social and historical times. The Netflix-produced film ended the night with Oscars for Cuaron for best director and best cinematography.

“This award belongs to Mexico. It’s a Mexican film in every single front,” he told reporters after the ceremony. “It’s not that 95 percent of the crew was a Mexican crew, and the cast is 100 percent Mexican, but the thematic, the country, the landscape, everything is Mexico. This film doesn’t exist if it’s not for Mexico. I could not be here if it was not because of Mexico.”

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‘Roma’ made Yalitza Aparicio a star. Now she’s giving a voice to her indigenous fans.

2/21/2019 – The Washington Post

Long before Yalitza Aparicio became the first indigenous woman nominated for best actress at the Oscars, she applied for a retail position at a clothing store in her hometown of Tlaxiaco, Oaxaca.

She didn’t get the job. Aparicio, now in the same conversations as Glenn Close and Lady Gaga, recalls the store manager’s exact words: “It’s your skin color.”

She wasn’t surprised. It isn’t unusual for people with indigenous features to face discrimination in Mexico. But now Aparicio, who had never acted before landing the lead role in the critically lauded “Roma,” has gone from aspiring public school teacher in a city of less than 18,000 to the first indigenous woman on Vogue Mexico’s cover. Fans tout her as the face of indigenous Mexico. Trolls leave racist comments on her social media. And at just 25 years old, she’s wrestling with the rewards and burdens of fame.

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Mexico City prepares to celebrate Oscar wins for ‘Roma’

2/1/2019 – The Washington Post

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(Rebecca Blackwell/Associated Press)

MEXICO CITY — Mexico City officials are predicting Alfonso Cuaron’s film “Roma” will sweep the Academy Awards and are already planning a mass celebration.

Mexicans traditionally gather at the city’s Independence Monument to celebrate victories in World Cup soccer matches. On Thursday, officials said they are already preparing to host a celebration for the Oscar wins at the monument, known as “the Angel.”

The city’s culture secretary says a route has already been planned from the Roma neighborhood — where the film is set and where the Oscar ceremony will be shown on big screens — to the monument.

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‘Roma,’ ‘Cold War’ among foreign-language Oscar nominees

1/22/2019 – The Washington Post

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(Carlos Somonte/Netflix via AP) 

By The Associated Press

LONDON — Films from Mexico, Poland, Lebanon, Japan and Germany are competing in the Academy Awards race for best foreign-language film.

Five nominees announced Tuesday include Alfonso Cuaron’s Mexican memory masterpiece, “Roma,” Polish director Pawel Pawlikowski’s black-and-white period drama “Cold War” and Lebanese filmmaker Nadine Labaki’s child-poverty drama “Capernaum.”

Also in the running are “Shoplifters,” the story of a family on society’s margins by Japan’s Hirokazu Kore-eda, and German director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s artist biopic “Never Look Away.”

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Graciela Iturbide’s Photos of Mexico Make ‘Visible What, to Many, Is Invisible’

1/8/2019 – The New York Times

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Graciela Iturbide/Courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Graciela Iturbide may be one of the most renowned photographers working today. Five decades into her journey with a camera, her work, most famously in indigenous communities in her native Mexico, has achieved that rare trifecta — admired by critics, revered by fellow photographers and adored by the public. She continues to travel, photograph and exhibit all over the world.

But it is becoming impossible to discuss her work without mentioning the Zapotec woman wearing five live iguanas on her head.

Ms. Iturbide made the photo after happening upon Zobeida Díaz at a farmer’s market while living with the Juchitán of southeastern Oaxaca in 1979. It took several tries — the iguanas kept moving around, falling off, reducing her subject to laughter — but on her contact sheet, Ms. Iturbide found her “Nuestra Señora de las Iguanas (Our Lady of the Iguanas),” an image so arresting that 40 years later, its popularity is still growing.

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Alfonso Cuaron and His Film ‘Roma’ Win at Golden Globes

1/7/2019 – The New York Times

Alfonso_Cuarón.jpgAlfonso Cuaron’s “Roma” won the best foreign language film and best director honors at the Golden Globes, giving the Netflix film some added awards season momentum.

Cuaron based the film on a nanny who raised him in the 1970s in Mexico and he said during his acceptance speech on Sunday night that he was in awe of the film’s two lead actresses, Marina de Tavira and Yalitza Aparicio.

The black-and-white period piece set in Mexico City likely would have been a favorite for the best drama picture, but the awards’ rules made it ineligible. “Roma” beat out the other nominees including the Japanese film “Shoplifters,” the Lebanese film “Capernaum,” the Belgium film “Girl,” and the German film “Never Look Away.”

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