For Mexico-City film lovers, three FICUNAM editions have meant enjoying around 400 films, most of them of the utmost significance for Mexican and international cinema. From various countries and cultures of origin, these films hit a carom shot within each of its viewers since they are expressions that stand for the enjoyment cinema as an artistic manifestation. Within a context of the presence of guest filmmakers, of master classes, publications, educative events, reunions with critics, and workshops offering a festive approach to the craft of filmmakers, this ample filmic offer evolves in programming clusters which aim towards this festival’s main objective: to strengthen the specialized cinema market in Mexico, to feed the changing tastes of film devotees, and to form like-minded audiences in other states of Mexico.
Aiming to bring new contents and consolidating as one of the richest platforms in Mexico for movie-theater appreciation of cinema, contemporary international and Mexican films dominate a program of radical, discursive, aesthetically innovative movies which many a time establish an open dialogue with history; these are films which, in any case, introduce a creative form of entertainment. Although most of these pictures are backed by the international recognition they have achieved, in this Festival there is room for daring proposals and positions, for discovering the unusual, for new contributions. A non-conformist and agitating Festival will always represent the best companion for our senses and the best way for the audience to be exposed to the impact of this language.
The program in this FICUNAM 4th Edition will keep on showing the basis upon which this house is built: retrospectives as a form of paying homage to great classic filmmakers as well as to active ones. Retrospectives devoted to Harun Farocki, German documentary filmmaker and artist who was born in the Czech Republic; to veteran filmmaker Otar Iosselliani, from Georgia; and to Alain Giraudie, French director who was awarded at Cannes this year for his film L’Inconnu du lac; all of these, tributes, among others, fill us with happiness and joy for relapsing into the act of sharing filmic seeds of life. Also, the aforementioned directors will be present during the screenings of their films.
Thus, through the lens of time, a duel of naturally opposing —though not rival— glances is established. During the screenings of the films of their retrospectives, in our former editions we counted with the presence of Artavazd Peleshian, Peter Tscherkassky, Darezan Omirbayev, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Sergei Dvortsevoy, FJ Ossang, Eve Heller, or Jonas Mekas. Also present with us, from behind that other film which is the hereafter, we have had Jean Eustache, Edward Yang, and Marcel Hanoun testifying, as the Festival went on, the affinity and the communicating vessels established between the audience and their films. A very special case was that of Masao Adachi’s retrospective, who was present on the big screen through Skype sessions before the screenings of some of his films; he spoke from that limbo, a tacit ring of a purgatory imposed on him as a punishment for his former militancy and which implies to Adachi the restriction of ever going out from Japan, a “banishment” from every other country but his own.
The Silver Puma Awards for Best Film and Best Director maintain their vocation of giving monetary help for those talents chosen by the jurors of the International Competition. And a new award, Mexico Puma for Best Mexican Film —endowed with 100,000 MXN—, offers yet another reason to celebrate.
By attending to a sector of the population interested in any dissonance that might arise from the usual billboard, and with the commitment to provide more films for all, FICUNAM goes beyond its own borders not only by expanding its taste for radical contemporary filmic tendencies during the days the Festival lasts, but with the FICUNAM 2013 Tour which showed a selection of the best films screened during the 3rd FICUNAM edition in an itinerant film showcase that presented over 125 screenings in various venues in 13 different Mexican states; among the screened works there were films such as Michael Wahrmann’s Avanti Popolo (Silver Puma for Best Director), Peter Strickland’s Berberian Sound Studio (FICUNAM Drive-In Screening), Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Act of Killing, or Lucien Castaing-Taylor’s and Véréna Paravel’s Leviathan (Silver Puma for Best Film), among others. The FICUNAM 2014 Tour will offer an even larger scope for alternative screenings throughout Mexico.
If we add to the FICUNAM Tour those films which have found in our Festival a platform for their distribution —even in commercial theaters— all over our country during 2013, we can be even more certain of our path and of FICUNAM’s role as a vortex for filmic promotion. The challenges faced this year are the steps which will lead to our fifth edition. Our wish to cover the expectations of our audience in this 4th edition is burning bright.
Maximiliano Cruz –FICUNAM Programmer