In Mexico, Narco Films vs. Narco Reality

07/23/2016 The New York Times

filmMexico City — It was a television executive’s nightmare: Not only was someone threatening to sue over a TV series, but that person was reputedly the biggest drug trafficker on the planet and the head of a cartel behind a long string of mass executions and torture videos.

The first sign of trouble came in May, after Netflix and Univision released a trailer for their series “El Chapo,” based on the imprisoned Mexican kingpin Joaquín Guzmán. The trafficker’s lawyer announced through various media outlets that he would go to court if his client’s name and story were used without payment. “The señor” — Mr. Guzmán — “has not died. He is not a character in the public domain. He is alive. He has to grant them permission,” the lawyer, Andrés Granados, told a Mexican radio station.

Read more…

Alejandro G. Inarritu part of Mexican film’s new golden age

2/28/2016 Daily Herald

MEXICO CITY — Movie buffs in Mexico are abuzz with the possibility native son Alejandro G. Inarritu could snag this year’s directing Oscar for “The Revenant,” which would be an unprecedented third in a row by Mexicans.

If that’s not enough for Mexicans to cheer about during Sunday’s Academy Awards show, Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki is a good bet to win his third cinematography Oscar in a row. That would be a first for an individual of any nationality.

Read more…

Oscars three-peat for Mexican cinematographer Lubezki

2/29/2016 Shanghai Daily

Mexico’s Emmanuel Lubezki on Sunday made history with his third consecutive Oscar for cinematography, for his dramatic work in tough conditions on survival epic “The Revenant.”

Without his keen eye, his mastery of natural light and his ability to produce gorgeous long takes, Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu may not have been able to realize his vision for the film, a tale of revenge shot mainly in Canada’s wilderness.

Read more…

Making Mexican History: Alejandro G. Iñarritu Wins Oscar, Again

2/29/2016 TeleSur

Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu made history on Sunday night at the Oscars, winning his second consecutive best director award for his film “The Revenant,” but he also used his victory to push back against racism in Hollywood amid nationwide calls to boycott the Academy Awards.

“I can’t believe this is happening,” Gonzales Iñarritu said during his victory speech which was broadcast in a live telecast, while congratulating and thanking the film’s co-stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy.

Read more...

Mexico Cinema Crosses the Border With ‘Instructions,’ ‘Nobles’

Variety, 11/6/2013

nosotros_los_noblesThe crossover success of at least one Mexican film, along with plans in place for another local hit to make its way north, have Mexico’s bizzers thinking big, and targeting the U.S. as fertile ground for distribution. Mexico’s box office is typically dominated by movies from Hollywood. In 2012, the country’s total B.O. receipts hit $841 million, with two local hits contributing a dismal $7.8 million. In 2011, the biggest local film was the animated “Top Cat,” with $8 million, while in 2010, box office for the top two local hits peaked at $16.6 million.

This year, however, things have changed a bit. Gaz Alazraki’s “We Are the Nobles,” distribbed by Warner Bros., has grossed $26.6 million at the local box office, while Eugenio Derbez’s “Instructions Not Included” has taken in $44.9 million through Oct. 27. More important, “Instructions” has also been a hit in the U.S. for Lionsgate-Televisa joint venture Pantelion Films, grossing $44.0 million through Oct. 30 in the States — making it the second-highest-grossing foreign-language film of all time.

Read more…

Mexico’s Amat Escalante wins Cannes best director

AFP Alberto PizzoliAFP, 5/27/2013

Mexico’s Amat Escalante on Sunday won the best director prize at the Cannes Film Festival for his ultra-violent film “Heli” about his country’s blood-drenched drug wars. The 34-year-old director, who was forced onto the defensive after the violence left some members of the audience uneasy, paid tribute to this year’s Cannes jury headed by Steven Spielberg. “This earthquake, I wasn’t expecting this! Thank you to this brave jury… to Mexico, I hope we never get used to suffering… ” he said.

“Heli” tells the story of a family caught up in gangland battles in an unnamed desert region of contemporary Mexico and contains protracted torture scenes. In one scene, a character sets the genitals of a suspected cocaine thief ablaze. Escalante reacted to criticism of the film by calling it an accurate depiction of the situation in underworld crime-blighted Mexico. And he dismissed critical questions about upsetting audiences. “What’s the point of not showing the violence just so the audience can go through the story and not suffer so much when actually that’s not how violence is in real life?” he asked reporters.

Read more…

In Mexico, comedy and scandal expose class schism

nosotros_los_noblesAFP, 5/10/2013

How the mighty have fallen in Mexico — at least on movie screens and in social media. A comedy lampooning the rich has become the highest-grossing film in Mexican cinema history, with five million moviegoers laughing at the story of a construction tycoon fooling his spoilt children into a life of poverty. “Nosotros Los Nobles” (“We Are The Nobles”) has hit a nerve — or the funny bone — in a country with one of the widest income gaps in the world, where 10 percent of the people control 40 percent of the wealth while almost half live in poverty.

Then last month, in a real-life scene that could have come right from the script, inspectors from the Profeco consumer protection agency tried to close a restaurant after their boss’s daughter complained she was denied her table of choice. But the tables turned on her when Mexicans denounced her behavior on Twitter, dubbing her #LadyProfeco. Some mocked her as a daddy’s girl, asking her to shut down a volcano spewing ash, but many saw it as the latest example of the elite’s sense of entitlement.

Read more…