New talents are making waves
After co-writing Camera d’Or winner “Leap Year” with Michael Rowe, Lucia Carreras’ first solo directorial project with Machete Films, “See You, Dad” (Nos vemos, papa) has agents poking around. Developed around a central female lead in intense emotional distress, both “Leap” and “Dad” prove that Carreras is not only one of the few female directors in Mexico, but one unafraid to delve deeply into the psyche of women. According to Rowe, Carreras is a screenwriter with “a unique sensibility.” He notes that her “artistic concerns center around female psychology and gender identity” and one whose “narrative background is an enormous point in her favor, as her primary concern as a writer must be the story, and good storytelling is the basis of effective filmmaking.”
Even though he’s firmly linked with Mexico’s emerging generation of category-smashing filmmakers, you could call filmmaker Michel Lipkes a product of the country’s “Golden Age” of movies. The son of French immigrants, Lipkes was imbued with a love of film by his father, who had worked as an actor during Mexico’s go-go years during the 1950s. “He gave me that passion,” Lipkes says, “but when I told him at 13 years old that I wanted to be a filmmaker, he thought it was just a phase. Well, it was no phase.” As early as high school, Lipkes was making films with his pal and future writer-director Matias Meyer, with whom Lipkes has produced his first two features, including last year’s “The Cramp.”
The Sorbonne-educated Lipkes served as program director of the Ficco fest in Mexico City from 2004 to 2008, where it developed an international rep for its focus on innovative cinema. At the same time, the enthusiastic cinephile trained at Mexico’s top film school, the CCC, and scored an AFI Fest shorts jury prize with his thesis film, “The Legless Boy Cannot Dance.” Now putting the finishing touches on his debut feature, “Malaventura,” about 12 hours in the life of an old man in downtown Mexico City, Lipkes says: “I’m very happy with the results, because I think it views the injustice of people who’ve never had a chance to experience the unrealized promises of a Mexican revolution.”
Praised as a powerful and engrossing personal documentary, Yulene Olaizola’s “Intimacies of Shakespeare and Victor Hugo” was not only one of the most awarded Mexican docs in recent years, but marked a striking debut by a director who made it as her film school project. “I had been interested in photography, but didn’t really know what I wanted to do,” recalls Olaizola, the daughter of scientists. Although CCC rejected her first application, she made it through on the second try, and worked as a jack-of-all-trades on “Turtle Family,” which made a global impact.
Shrewdly turning to what she knew best, Olaizola made “Intimacies” as a mysterious memoir about her grandmother and the alluring and ultimately dangerous lodger she welcomed into her life. Her new, lushly shot drama, “Artificial Paradise,” which preemed at Rotterdam, began out of a desire to make “a more formally traditional narrative film, inspired by coming to this amazing place on the coast near Veracruz and meeting a real guy, Salomon (Hernandez), who I cast in the film as himself. So in a way, we’re back making a kind of documentary again!”
It is almost certain no single Mexican thesp has put in more screen time recently than Gabino Rodriguez. Starring or simply appearing in nearly a dozen films in the past two years, including “Summer of Goliath,” “The Good Herbs,” “Sin nombre,” “The Cinema Hold Up,” “Perpetuum Mobile,” “At a Stone’s Throw” and “El infierno,” the actor with the boxer’s nose is a favorite for regular Joe-type characters — goat herder, soldier, mover, college kid, narco lackey, you name it. But the thesp’s undeniable stage presence is making him an increasingly in-demand asset.
Cinephiles pep up Guadalajara fest | Cartels can’t curtail production | Rising stars | Delectations in the dark