The Festival’s 7th anniversary involved Alain Guiraudie’s return after his first visit here, in 2014. This time, he came to serve in the jury for our International Competition and to present his film, Staying Vertical, which was selected to be shown in our now traditional Gala Screening at Teatro de la Ciudad Esperanza Iris.
This year, in particular, retrospectives had an even more important place than usual; this time, not only we went over the work of three different directors, but, also, all of them were present with us during the festival—Angela Schanelec, from Germany; Luiz Rosemberg Fhilo, from Brazil; and Yuri Ancarani, from Italy. They also offered masterclasses as part of the activities organized together with the Ingmar Bergman Chair on Film & Theater.
The program was complemented, in a special way, with a selection devoted to Chilean documentary maker Ignacio Agüero, who not only showed four of his most representative films—including the sequel to his emblematic film Como me da la gana—but also offered a master class.
Finally, we offered, for the first time, a screening with live music at the open-air space in front of the University Museum of Contemporary Art (MUAC). The film shown was Georg Wilhelm Pabst’s Pandora’s Box.
This year, our main guest, to whom we devoted a retrospective, as well as our gala at Teatro de la Ciudad Esperanza Iris, and several parallel activities to the Festival, was Portuguese director Miguel Gomes, who also premiered in Mexico his celebrated trilogy One Thousand and One Nights, a political representation of the traditional Middle-East stories.
Another key retrospective that year was the one devoted to Russian filmmaker Marlen Khutsiev, a voice of the Russian Post-War Generation whose enormous work was still not recognized until not long ago. We screened, in 35 mm, a great part of his films, and Cineteca Nacional took a great deal of the screenings offered.
This year, our collaboration with MUAC implied the English filmmaker and visual artist Isaac Julien, who not only offered a masterclass but, also, showed his films and was present for his video installation Playtime & Kapital, hosted by the Contemporary Art University Museum.
Our fifth edition implied the celebration of a program devoted to French anthropologist Raymonde Carrasco, her partner, Régis Hebraud, and their relevant work on the Mexican Tarahumara Indians, which, following Antonin Artaud’s writings (Les Tarahumaras), combines anthropology and experimental cinema.
This year, there was also a program devoted to the work of Carlos Mayolo, a representative of the Cali Group, who produced films, theater, and literature and, together with Luis Ospina, established a theory around the concept of filmic "porno-misery," a Caribbean view going against the grain of the political Latin-American discourse dominating in the 1970s and 80s.
Together with the Ingmar Bergman Chair on Film & Theater, two retrospectives and some masterclasses were programmed with the presence of directors Sergei Loznitsa and Ali Khamraev.
Finally, as part of the many activities of the Ingmar Bergman Chair, we enjoyed a conversation with Portuguese director Pedro Costa, who also presented his most recent film, Horse Money.
In our fourth edition, we opened our Mexican Competition because we realized the selection included in our Mexico, Right Now section was not only made up of quality Mexican works, but they also promoted a debate among young filmmakers. This section has become a platform to project, globally, independent Mexican premieres.
We also presented retrospectives of the Georgian director Otar Iosseliani, and the French Alain Guiraudie, of whom we screened all his films, including Strangers at a Lake, a film considered by a large segment of film critics as the best film in 2013.
A highlight in this edition was Harun Farocki’s retrospective, in our Territories section, made up of 24 titles and an exhibition curated by MUAC. Films, video installations, and digital media were exhibited under the title Vision. Production. Oppression. This happened just four months before he surprised us when he passed away. Farocki, a filmmaker who was a model for many other directors such as Luis Ospina and Carlos Mayolo, died on July 30th, that same year.
A true discovery in terms of the contemporary Latin-American panorama was the work of Argentinean director Gustavo Fontán, who presented his first retrospective at FICUNAM.
We celebrated our third year with the work of Jonas Mekas, a director who is a model for avant-garde cinema and who traveled to Mexico City, when he was 90 years old, to present his work for the first time in a collaborative program with MUAC, including a full retrospective of his filmic works and a museum exhibition at this museum.
The Student, a feature film based on Dostoyevsky’s novel Crime & Punishment, but contextualized in current-day Kazakhstan, was the film, by Darezhan Omirbayev, which opened this edition. We complemented the screening with a retrospective of six feature films and three short films by this director.
In this edition we also presented—in collaboration with La Cinémathèque française—a tribute to French director Marcel Hanoun, a filmmaker, contemporary of Mekas’, whose work was unknown for a long time, both in France and in the rest of the world.
Edward Yang, a Taiwanese cult filmmaker, also received a similar tribute with a program showing his full body of work.
Peter Tscherkassky and his “hand-made” cinema—intervening directly 16mm archive material—was one of the directors who received a tribute in our 2nd edition. This tribute was completed with a workshop given by his partner, filmmaker Eve Heller.
An incursion into radical Japanese cinema was also possible thanks to the retrospective devoted to the work of the controversial director Masao Adachi, who was a protagonist of the militant and interventional cinema of the 1970s. We also presented the first Spanish edition ever published in the world of Adachi’s work, the book Masao Adachi [CUEC-FICUNAM Collection].
One of the many activities developed in collaboration with the Ingmar Bergman Chair on Film & Theater was a seminar devoted to curators and programmers, entitled “Artist’s Cinema.” Also, FICUNAM and the Ingmar Bergman Chair organized a masterclass given by Chantal Akerman.
In our first edition, we presented, together with MUAC, the first exhibition ever held in Mexico of the independent director, producer, and scriptwriter Apichatpong Weerasethakul, who was awarded the Palm d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 2010. That year, we opened the festival screening Meek’s Cutoff, a film by director Kelly Reichardt.
During eighth days, we screened 130 titles, 95% of which had no other distribution channel in Mexico. Part of these works were shown in a retrospective format, and a section was reserved for Armenian filmmaker Artavazd Peleshian, known for his theory of “distance montage.” We also presented the bilingual edition of this hypothesis in the book Teoría del montaje a distancia, published with the support of UNAM’s Film School (CUEC).
We also presented two films of great relevance in the world of documentary filmmaking. We are talking about Sergei Dvortsevoy’s work, who was also a part of the International Competition jury in this edition. The films were In the Dark (2004) and Bread Day (1998).