MEXICO’S golden days of cinema are back with a vengeance says Jose Briones.
Director of Perth’s second annual Viva Mexico Film Festival, Mr Briones is bringing the best of his birth country’s cinema to his adopted home.
Mexico had a flourishing film industry from the 1930s to the 1950s: “A golden age. [We] were similar to Hollywood,” Mr Briones says.
But political upheaval and the loss of the country’s stellar directors to age and illness saw things deteriorate.
“In the 60 and 70s Mexico made a lot of movies, but not good ones,” Mr Briones says.
“They were very bad quality with very bad language, not family movies.”
During the 80s a new crop of directors got the industry’s mojo back and today Mexico is scooping up the awards at the likes of the prestigious Cannes Film Festival.
Mr Briones was in Mexico last week, helping judges select short films to be shown at the Festival, which is being based at the Backlot Studios in West Perth.
“The judges found it very difficult to choose just 10 films,” he says down the blower.
The seven feature films are a mix of drama and comedy and include a documentary I’m Here for One Night, which is about Australian singer/songwriter Abbie Cardwell.
In 2013 she felt drawn to Mexico to collaborate with indie surf twangers the Twin Tones, and with little planning and less Spanish jumped on a plane.
Cardwell didn’t know what to expect, but her warmth and talent won over the Twin Tones and a partnership was formed that continues today.
“They all ended up being like my brothers,” the singer says from her Brisbane home.
Ramona and the Scarabs is a revenge comedy with a twist of magic realism as the chunky Ramona discovers some magical scarab beetles.
The Load looks at South America’s dark history and the clash between 16th century Europeans and a Tameme indian man.
A Boyfriend for My Wife is a husband’s ingenious way of getting a divorce.
A Dog’s Breakfast delves into Mexico’s underworld, while They Are All Dead is a women struggling to come to terms with the death of her brother. Her world is shaken when he starts visiting – but only she can see him.
By far the most chilling is the Chosen Ones, a heart-wrenching movie about human trafficking and women lured into prostitution.
“We have chosen a selection of some of the best latest Mexican releases,” Mr Briones says.
Things come to a spectacular final with a Mexican Party on Thursday October 20.
For the full program go to vivamexicofilmfestival.com
by JENNY D’ANGER