MADRID –Immigration thriller “La jaula de oro” has swept Mexico’s 56th Ariel Awards, winning nine kudos including best picture, debut feature, original screenplay, actor (Brandon Lopez) and supporting actor (Rodofo Dominguez).
A Cannes best director winner, Amat Escalante’s “Heli” also won the Ariel director nod at an awards ceremony that, organized by Mexico’s Academy of Moving Picture Arts and Sciences, took place Tuesday night at Mexico City’s Palace of Fine Arts.
Adding to its best actress kudo for Paulina Garcia at last year’s Berlin Festival, plus pic, actress and screenplay wins at April’s Platino Awards, Sebastian Lelio’s “Gloria” – a celebratory portrait of a late 50-s divorcee’s gusto for life, love and sex- won best Ibero-American picture.
The Ariel trophy trawl confirms “La jaula de oro,” if it needed any further confirmation, as one of the standout debuts in recent Latin America cinema, and its director-producer-co-writer Diego Quemada-Diez as one of its key talents to watch.
“Jaula’s” three lead actors already won an Un Certain Talent award at Cannes’ Un Certain Regard last year. The Ariel sweep – which included cinematography, original score, sound and editing – reflects the wide range of filmic achievement in “Jaula” which tracks three teens, one a young Tzxotzil native, from Guatemala, across the length of Mexico as they journey on train-tops to the U.S. border.
Written with Gibran Portela and Lucia Carreras, the co-scribe of “Leap Year,” another standout Mexican debut, “Jaula’s” screenplay was based on interviews with hundreds of Mexican and Central American emigrants. 600 extras in the film are played by real emigrants; the leads by non-pros.
Pic’s opening hour builds a large Hollywood-style empathy with the three teens as they jump the Mexican border, board their first train, dally in the countryside, get work in the fields. Together with the film’s high-production values, this suggests the film could go the way of a feel-good triumph-over-adversity immigration drama. But in “Jaula’s mid-to-final stretches, these wishful assumptions are brutally and memorably shattered, as the film’s sobering bedrock realism sets in.
“For me, this is a journey of 12 years. I grew up in the Iberian Peninsula, am a migrant, and tried to tell the story of Mexican and Central-American migrants, from what I saw and felt,” the Spain-born but Mexico-based Quemada-Diez said in his acceptance speech.
He added: “We are trying to tumble the American Dream with this film. Our happiness is the sadness of many migrants.”
One of the most moving moments of the Ariel Awards ceremony was the best actress kudo for Ariana Roel, who began her TV career in 1960, last won an Ariel in 1979 for “Anacrusa” and repeated 35 years later for her performance as the grandmother in Natalia Beristain’s “I Don’t Want To Sleep Alone.”
Maria Felix, who died in 2002, was the subject of a tribute; helmer Arturo Ripstein (“Deep Crimson,” “No One Writes to the Colonel”) and prolific actor Ernesto Gomez Cruz (“Hell,” “The Crime of Father Amaro”) received career achievement awards.
Fx and vfx kudos were won by Rafa Lara’s “Cinco de mayo, la batalla,” a recreation of 1862’s Battle of Puebla, when Mexico forces routed Emperor Napoleon III’s troops, and an instance of the raised ambitions of Mexico’s film industry.
2014 56TH ARIEL AWARD WINNERS
“La jaula de oro,” (Diego Quemada-Diez)
Amat Escalante (“Heli”)
Adriana Roel (“I Don’t Want To Sleep Alone”)
Brandon Lopez (“La jaula de oro”)
Lisa Owen (“The Amazing Cat Fish”)
Rodolfo Dominguez (“La jaula de oro”)
“Gloria” (Sebastian Lelio, Chile)
“La jaula de oro”
“Disrupted,” (Roberto Fiesco)
Quemada-Diez, Gibran Portela, Lucia Carreras, (“La jaula de oro”)
Maria Renee Prudencio, Francisco Franco (“La jaula de oro”)
Maria Jose Secco (“La jaula de oro”)
Paloma Lopez, Felipe Gomez (“La jaula de oro”)
Alejandro Vazquez, (“Cinco de mayo, la batalla,” Rafa Lara)
Charly Iturriaga (“Cinco de mayo, la batalla”)
Matias Barberis, Raul Locatelli, Michelle Couttolenc, Jaime Baksht (“La jaula de oro”)
Leonardo Heiblum, Jacobo Lieberman (“La jaula de oro”)
Adam Zoller (“Halley”)
Mayra Gabriela Juarez Venegas (“Ciudadano Buelna”)
Lorenza Manrique (“Ciudadano Buelna”)
“Musica para despues de dormir,” (Nicolas Rojas)
“Lluvia en los ojos,” (Rita Basulto)
“Un salto de vida,” (Eugenio Polgovsky)