Alfonso Cuaron was hailed as a master storyteller, a filmmaker of boundless vision and a generous friend and collaborator during a tribute to the Oscar-winning director Monday at the Museum of Modern Art.
The man who sent Sandra Bullock into space in “Gravity,” chronicled Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal’s journey of sexual discovery in “Y Tu Mama Tambien,” and created a nightmarish future in “Children of Men” was the main attraction amid a swirl of high society glitterati, artists and Hollywood players. Novelist Salman Rushdie, Katie Holmes, Emile Hirsch, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, director and artist Julian Schnabel and “True Detective” director Cary Fukunaga, were among the bold faced names who turned out at the Gotham event.
“My dad is a filmmaker I admire, my teacher, and above all a great father,” said Jonas Cuaron, the director’s son, during a presentation of his father’s work.
Cuaron’s friend and fellow director Guillermo del Toro noted, “We both know that there’s nothing in the world that we need to hide from each other, as persons, as filmmakers and as friends… I would say that Alfonso is my brother, my brother by choice, and there is absolutely nothing that I would not share with him.”
“Birdman” director and Cuaron cohort Alejandro González Iñárritu wasn’t present at the event, but he did provide a video tribute from the set of his upcoming film “The Revenant.”
“Can you please come and take my job so I can be drinking wine with the MoMA people?” he said, adding “We love you, you deserve it and please stop drinking wine. Don’t get drunk. Come back and do another film that the world needed.”
Guests at the event nibbled on steak pastry puffs, golden beet souffles and tuna tartar while sipping champagne and cocktails. Picking a favorite Cuaron film could be difficult, they said.
Schnabel cited “Y Tu Mama Tambien,” noting, “It’s human. He’s a very human guy.”
Rushdie, on the other hand, kept revising his choice, circling through “Children of Men” and “Gravity,” before finally settling on “Y Tu Mama Tambien.” That was the film that led him to discover Cuaron, he said.
“It’s so funny and sexy and it’s got such zest in the filmmaking,” said Rushdie.
That still topped his list of Cuaron works despite the awkward circumstances in which he saw it. He accompanied a Mexican writer friend whose daughter appeared as the girlfriend of one of the male leads.
“What happens to her daughter in the movie is she has incredible sex in the first five minutes and then she never appears in the rest of the film,” he said. “I went, ‘great performance.'”
The MoMA event raises funds to preserve cinematic works and to add to the museum’s collection. Past honorees include Tim Burton, Kathryn Bigelow, Pedro Almodovar and Quentin Tarantino.