With the pandemic still impeding world travel, the Cannes Film Festival chose five key cities for its satellite events, with Mexico City, Beijing, Melbourne, Seoul and Tokyo screening a selection of titles world premiering at the French event.
From July 8 to 16, Mexico City’s Diana arthouse cinema, of giant exhibition circuit Cinepolis, has hosted a dozen Cannes titles that were not available online.
In a statement, Cannes director general Thierry Fremaux said: “This exceptional year gives us the chance, for the first time, to present the films of the Cannes Selection to Mexican buyers in a theater in Mexico City, while the festival takes place in Cannes. I have no doubt that these screenings will help the films find a distributor.”
“With the realization of this important event, Mexico is confirmed as a vital business platform in the audiovisual industry,” said Cannes en CDMX producer Daniel de la Vega.
“The positive response of the film community encourages us to continue innovating and adapting to the new normal, which can only benefit the industry worldwide,” he said. “As part of the Cinépolis programming team, it is very useful to know the best of auteur cinema that is premiering at Cannes and that we hope to have in our theaters in the coming months,” Cinepolis programming manager Maria Davila concurred. “We are very happy to see an initiative of this size in Mexico, for Cinépolis it is very important that the industry in our country has access to an international market of this quality and relevance,” she said.
Open only to sales agents, distributors, streaming platforms, festival programmers and other accredited industry professionals, the mini festival opened with Leos Carax’s “Annette,” just as it did in Cannes. Among the titles in the mini-Cannes were Paul Verhoeven’s controversial “Benedetta,” which Isaac Ezban, co-founder of drive-in theater circuit Auto Cinema Coyote, the largest in the region, raved about: “I loved it! It was like a stigmata in the world of ‘Game of Thrones’ with the brutal violence of a Verhoeven … a great epic combination of nuns, subordination, religion, sexual tension, plague and blood.” “I could screen it during our midnight slots but it depends on which distributor acquires it here,” he added.
Geminiano Pineda of Cine Canibal said he had already acquired some films, but these were not in the mini-event, including “Petrov’s Flu,” “Great Freedom” and “Lamb.”
“It’s a great initiative that gives us the opportunity to see these films on the big screen. Although online screenings have been facilitated and refined, it is always best to see them at the cinema,” he observed. The advantages are also financial. “It is not only the risk of the pandemic; It is also the economic situation that many festivals are in. Watching movies on the big screen is very important, but traveling at this time involves costs that many of us cannot afford,” asserted Abril Alzaga, executive director of Mexican university film fest, FICUNAM.
A List of the Films Screening at Cannes in Mexico City:
“Annette,” Leos Carax – Competition
“Onoda,” Arthur Harari – Un Certain Regard (Opening) (Le Pacte)
“Le Genou D’Ahed“ (“Ahed’s Knee”), Nadav Lapid – Competition (Kinology)
“Rien à foutre” (“Zero Fucks Given”), Emmanuel Marre, Julie Lecoustre – Critics’ Week (Charades)
“La Fracture” (“The Divide”), Catherine Corsini – Competition (Kinology)
“Benedetta,” Paul Verhoeven – Competition (Pathé Films)
“La Traviata” (“My Brothers and I”), Yohan Manca – Un Certain Regard (Charades)
“Les Héroïques” (“The Heroics”), Maxime Roy – Special Screening (Pyramide International)
“JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass,” Oliver Stone – Cannes Premiere (Altitude International)
“Tralala,” the Larrieu Brothers – Midnight Screenings (Pyramide International)
“Une histoire d’amour et de désir “(“A Story of Love and Desire”), Leyla Bouzid – Critics’ Week (Pyramide International)
“Nitram,” Justin Kurzel – Competition (Wild Bunch International)