Mexican multihyphenate Gael Garcia Bernal will direct a “very dark comedy” titled “Chicuarotes,” set amid the lakes in Mexico City and centered around teens who “want to become economically superior to what they are,” he said during the Doha Film Institute’s Qumra event dedicated to nurturing emerging Arab filmmakers
Bernal said his sophomore feature, which follows his 2007 directorial debut “Deficit,” is being written by Mexican scribe Augusto Mendoza, who co-penned Diego Luna’s feature film debut “Abel” and also Luna’s upcoming “Mr. Pig.”
Bernal and fellow Mexican actor/director/producer Luna are partners in Canana, the Mexico City/L.A. production house Luna founded with Bernal and Pablo Cruz and which has become a powerhouse producer for a new generation of Mexican helmers.
“All I can say in a broad way is it’s about kids and that the lake is a paradise; it’s an incredible place with the axolotl,” said Bernal. The axolotl is an odd-looking ancient salamander with a flat head and spiked feet.
“It’s paradise but these teens want to buy into the whole narrative of progress; to be economically superior to what they are. It’s ridiculous what we go through as humans to become richer,” Bernal mused. He is developing it through Canana with plans to start shooting next year.
During the Doha masterclass in Doha Bernal called his experience directing “Deficit,” which is a drama about an upper-class Mexican brat, an experiment that just didn’t happen.” He added: “but it gave me a strong sense of vengeance. I want to direct a film next year, one way or another.” Since “Deficit” Bernal has shot five shorts.
During the masterclass Bernal joked about the differences of acting in films in different countries: “In Italy they don’t know when to shut up; in Mexico you get the best crew: in Sweden, you only work for eight hours a day including lunch so the shoots goes on for weeks; in England, they say ‘cut for lunch’ and you go – oh no!”
When asked about his decision to stay in Mexico rather than move to the U.S. when he became successful, after “Amores Perros” and “Y tu mama tambien,” Bernal said: “My decision was easy. I realized I didn’t have to live in the U.S. to work there. And what film could I get offered from Hollywood that beats “Motorcycle Diaries?”