The Hola Mexico Film Festival continues to build with a creative force. Considering one of the best films of Cannes this year: “Post Tenebras Lux” hailed from Mexico shows a distinctness of vision but with more international bridging in terms of narrative necessary to complete the transition.
“”Have You Seen Lupita?” tells the story of a woman angled for her own interest who doesn’t want to be forced into a mental institution because people think she is odd. Using an almost “Benny & Joon” mentality, her reasoning becomes to run away. Helped along by a hilariously overplayed Carmen Salinas, who understands the over-saturation of tomfoolery more than anybody else, Lupita, through her own self promotion becomes the head of a evangelist sweep where she literally becomes Lupe but with sexual twist. The translation of errors between Spanish & English plays more dexterously to the former because of cultural references but nonetheless provides a definite pace that fuels the fire of the narrative.
“The Open Sky” follows the impact of the famous bishop who took on the government with ideas of balance and fair representation but simply would not back down. Built with the pictures and audio of the man (played with distinct revelry by Raul Julia in the 1989 biopic), the reverence of the idea he represented and the action dictated still live on in the souls of the people who remember him. The interspersed use of archive video, specifically the words the fallen father used to bring together his people but also to incite the corruption against him, shows the pinnacle of his fight but also the infinite sadness of a cruel world.
“Between Us” revolves as the most successful film of the festival in understanding its comic beats while capturing a larger, more emotional structure. Like “Father Of The Bride” but one where the father becomes destitute with a mistress, the film explores the idea of love found again when the simple act of “comfortable” wears out. Embodied wonderfully by the lead actor, the charm of a young incarnation of him is there but with a worn outer form that sometimes come to life when danger, competition or sexual conflagration enters into the picture. What buoys the picture beyond the base physical elements is the quick dialogue that just rips fast and furious. The daughters also create their little bit of drama which bring out distinct emotional beats that create a neat balance to the mother who, despite her at times morally jarred ways, forms the notion of a family unit, flawed but complete.
“Goodbye Cruel World” explores a notion heavy in American films but parallels it in the Mexican urban experience. A man, heavy on honesty, loses his job as an accountant but understanding the rules of odds, becomes involves with a gang of would-be but mostly bumbling thieves who hang out more in their clubhouse drinking beer and waxing poetic than actually planning crimes. When he actually takes control, it becomes more of a Robin Hood-vigilante piece than a structure of actual morality but does point to a Darwinian point of view though the distinct through-line is used mostly for comedy.
The Hola Mexico Film Festival (Los Angeles) continues to growing as the Hispanic community becomes more aware of the interesting films being brought to the normal moviegoer public at the venue. Like with “Saving Private Perez” last year, the films, especially “Between Us”, show a growing sense of universal textures available in this kind of foreign cinema and not simply purely territorial stories.