From November 1–16, the Walker Art Center presents the series
, highlighting films from the Nuevo Cine Mexicano (New Mexican Cinema) movement. Films in the series include a Target Free Thursday Nights screening of Lourdes Portillo and Susana Muñoz’s La Ofrenda: Día de los Muertos (November 1, 7:30 pm), a documentary about the pre-Hispanic roots of El Día de los Muertos; the darkly humorous Never on a Sunday (Morirse en Domingo), directed by Daniel Gruener (November 2, 8 pm); Eva Aridjis’ Saint Death (La Santa Muerte) (November 3, 7:30 pm), a documentary about the rapidly growing cult of Saint Death; the stark and harrowing tale of moral ambiguity, Drama/Mex, directed by Gerardo Naranjo (November 9, 8 pm); a Target Free Thursday Nights screening of Eva Norvind’s Born Without (Nacido Sin) (November 15, 7:30 pm), a documentary about musician and actor José Flores, who was born without arms; and The Violin (El violin), to be introduced by director Francisco Vargas (November 16, 8 pm), about a violin player who is involved with the peasant movement’s armed revolt. The Cinemateca series resumes in January with screenings on the last Friday of each month through June 2008.
A reemergence of Latin American films and filmmakers on the international scene in recent years has resulted in a wealth of refreshing, groundbreaking new work. From Argentina to Mexico, authentic new voices have garnered international awards and worldwide interest in films from south of our border. The Cinemateca series celebrates the best of this work, launching with seven films from Mexico, programmed in conjunction with the exhibition Frida Kahlo.
The inaugural program spotlights work from the Nuevo Cine Mexicano (New Mexican Cinema) movement, which is fueled by a spirit of cooperation among such actors and directors as Gael García Bernal (The Motorcycle Diaries), Alejandro González Iñárritu (Babel), Alfonso Cuarón (Y tu mamá también), and Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth) who are lending their support to help build new systems of production in Mexico. Bernal is credited on three films in this series. Director Francisco Vargas, whose film The Violin was called by Del Toro “one of the most amazing Mexican films in many a year,” will be at the Walker to introduce his screening and talk with the audience after the film.
The selected films, both dramas and documentaries, serve as a barometer of contemporary Mexican life, with stories that go far beyond our limited news coverage of migration and the U.S./Mexican border. With humor, irony, and satire, these films offer a refreshing look at the culture, politics, spirituality, and economic realities of a country in flux.
All screenings take place in the Cinema. Unless otherwise noted, tickets to each film are $8 ($6 Walker members) and are available at walkerart.org/tickets or by calling 612.375.7600.
November 1–16 (continuing in January with screenings on the last Friday of each month through June 2008)
Thursday, November 1
La Ofrenda: The Days of the Dead, 7:30 pm FREE
Directed by Lourdes Portillo and Susana Muñoz
This colorful documentary reveals the pre-Hispanic roots of El Día de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead) and invites us into present-day celebrations in Oaxaca and the United States. 1988, U.S./Mexico, video, in English and Spanish with English subtitles, 50 minutes. With René Castillos’ clever claymation Down to the Bone (Hasta los Huesos). 2002, video, 12 minutes, playing continuously in the U.S. Bank Orientation Lounge.
These two films will also be screened in the Lecture Room at the top of each hour, beginning daily at noon during gallery hours, November 1–December 31.
Friday, November 2
Never on a Sunday (Morirse en Domingo), 8 pm
Directed by Daniel Gruener
Entrusted to arrange the cremation of his uncle, who dies on the unluckiest of Sundays when all official business comes to a halt, a young man tires to circumvent the corrupt bureaucratic system and becomes embroiled in a series of mishaps. Darkly humorous, with a broodingly sexy style, the film is hailed as “energetic and nervy” (Variety). 2007, 35mm, in Spanish with English subtitles, 125 minutes.
Saturday, November 3
Saint Death (La Santa Muerte), 7:30 pm
Directed by Eva Aridjis
Narrated by Gael García Bernal (Y tu mamá también), this fascinating documentary follows the rapidly growing cult of Saint Death—a female Grim Reaper who is tenderly worshipped by those from rough neighborhoods and rejected as satanic by the Catholic Church. Director Eva Aridjis introduces us to her amazingly colorful followers, from drug addicts to prisoners to transvestites, who reverently follow the skeletal figure. 2007, video, in Spanish with English subtitles, 84 minutes.
Friday, November 9
Drama/Mex, 8 pm
Directed by Gerardo Naranjo
During one sultry evening, the lives of a runaway youth, a suicidal businessman, and a young couple verging on a breakup collide on the beach in Acapulco. Formerly a luxurious port, this slowly decaying town is as much a character as it is a backdrop in this tale of moral ambiguity. Produced by Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna, this film made its debut at the Cannes Film Festival. 2006, video, in Spanish with English subtitles, 93 minutes.
Thursday, November 15
Born Without (Nacido Sin), 7:30 pm FREE
Directed by Eva Norvind
Renaissance woman Eva Norvind documents the life and times of José Flores, a man born without arms, who currently supports his wife and six children (plus one on the way) by playing music on the street. Flores’ character, equally flabbergasting and inspiring, draws together Mexican cinema’s icons, such as cult director Alejandro Jodorowsky (El Topo), hard-scrabble rural folk, and traveling carnivals. 2007, video, in Spanish with English subtitles, 82 minutes.
Friday, November 16
The Violin (El violin), 8 pm
Introduced by director Francisco Vargas
In the 1970s, a seemingly harmless violin player named Don Plutarco (Don Ángel Tavira, winner of the Un Certain Regard best actor award at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival), supports the peasant movement’s armed revolt along with his son and grandson. After their village is attacked by the military in the harrowing first minutes of the film, Plutarco wins over the army captain with his music, which gets him closer to information and supplies that can help the guerillas counterattack. See why Pan’s Labyrinth director Guillermo del Toro called it “one of the most amazing Mexican films in many a year.” 2005, 35mm, in Spanish with English subtitles, 98 minutes.
Purchase a ticket for the Friday Cinemateca screenings on November 9 and 16 and register for a free pre-screening tour of the exhibition Frida Kahlo at 7 pm. Meet in the Bazinet Garden Lobby outside the Cinema. Tours are limited to 25.
This presentation celebrates the 20th anniversary of Renew Media, formerly National Video Resources. Renew Media arts fellowships are funded by the Rockefeller Foundation.