×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

10 Directors to Watch: ‘Museo’ Auteur Alonso Ruizpalacios Leads New Wave of Mexican Talent

A couple decades behind Cuarón and del Toro, 40-year-old visionary finds himself at the forefront of the next generation of Mexican directors.

A few years from now, there will no doubt be an official name for the explosion of talented Mexican directors breaking through on the international festival circuit — filmmakers a generation younger than such Nuevo Cine Mexicano pioneers as Guillermo del Toro and Alfonso Cuaron, but every bit as promising in the originality of their vision.

When that time comes, Ruizpalacios could well be their poster boy: a helmer who’s making headway both as an arthouse auteur — his first two features, “Güeros” and “Museo,” premiered at the Berlinale — and a sought-after television director in the U.S., where he spearheaded the “Vida” pilot for Starz and two episodes of “Narcos: Mexico.”

Ruizpalacios’ film work reflects a bold vision, informed by his background in acting and avant-garde theater. “Unlike all my peers in drama school, I went into acting with directing in mind,” explains Ruizpalacios, who studied under Mexico City stage guru Ludwik Margules before moving to London to attend the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

Whereas “Güeros” was a black-and-white road movie shot in the nearly square Academy ratio with unfamiliar actors, the wide­screen, hyper-visual heist film “Museo” stars Gael García Bernal. Early on, Ruizpalacios imagined “Museo” being “somewhere between ‘Rififi’ and ‘Home Alone’ and ‘The Treasure of the Sierra Madre,’ ” blending sophisticated cultural critique with playful elements from the kind of 1980s Hollywood movies (e.g. “Goonies”) that made him want to be a director.

Ruizpalacios is determined to be audacious — “I want to keep a foot in that weird place,” he says — but does so within a rigorous, well-planned framework. On his next film, he intends to spend a month in rehearsal with the actors, really getting to know the characters and devising new scenes together.

“In Mexico, I think we’re very lucky to work the way we do,” he says. “Almost all directors in Mexico have the respect of final cut … or else it’s not a work of art, it’s the opinion of a lot of people.”

Influences: Peter Brooks, Alfred Hitchcock, Federico Fellini, Abdellatif Kechiche
Agency: WME
Manager: Valor Entertainment Group

More Film

  • Michael Fassbender'X-Men: Dark Phoenix' film premiere,

    Michael Fassbender to Produce, Star in Lionsgate Spy Thriller 'Malko'

    Michael Fassbender will produce and star in the Lionsgate spy thriller “Malko,” based on Gerard de Villiers’ S.A.S. series, with the studio planning to launch a franchise with the project. Eric Warren Singer, who was nominated for an Academy Award for best original screenplay for “American Hustle,” will write the screenplay. Joe Drake, chairman of [...]

  • American Film Institute Hires Susan Ruskin

    Susan Ruskin Appointed AFI Conservatory Dean

    The American Film Institute has named producer and educator Susan Ruskin as dean of the AFI Conservatory, where she will lead AFI’s graduate film-training program. Ruskin, who will also carry the title of executive VP, will report directly to Bob Gazzale, AFI President and CEO, the organization announced Tuesday. She replaces producer Richard Gladstein, who left [...]

  • shanghai skyline China Placeholder

    Shanghai: Er Dong Pictures Adds to Web of Hollywood and Chinese Deals

    Chinese production and talent company Er Dong Pictures shed some light on its latest film investment slate and growing web of relationships in Asia and Hollywood. The company, which is in the process of establishing a joint venture with Hollywood talent firm The Gersh Agency, and has a 12-film co-funding deal with Starlight Culture Entertainment, [...]

  • Tony Hale Forky Toy Story 4

    'Toy Story 4': Tony Hale on the Joys of Voicing a Plastic Spork Named Forky

    The lastest plastic hero to join the “Toy Story” franchise is Forky, a disposable spork who has some serious qualms about being a toy. He comes to life in “Toy Story 4” alongside Woody and Buzz Lightyear, who teach him that he’s much more than trash. Tony Hale, the actor best known to audiences as [...]

  • And Then We Danced

    Swedish Outfit French Quarter Steps Into TV With Graphic Novel Adaptation

    Swedish production company French Quarter, the outfit behind Cannes Directors’ Fortnight entry “And Then We Danced,” is venturing into TV with a web series adapted from Henrik Bromander’s graphic novel “Kurs I självutplåning” (“Course in self-annihilation”). The comedy series has been commissioned by the Swedish broadcaster SVT, as first reported by Nordic Film & TV [...]

  • Mindy Kaling (L) and Director Nisha

    Women Directors and Writers Make Gains in Independent Films But Lag on Parity

    Women directors, writers, editors and producers are making inroads, reaching historic highs in the world of independent films — while still lagging in reaching parity with men, a new study shows. The latest Indie Women study, released Tuesday, found that women achieved record-setting levels as directors (33% in 2018-19, up from 29% in 2017-18), writers [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content