In the Mexican-German drama Buen Día, Ramón (Guten Tag, Ramón), actor Kristyan Ferrer plays the title character, a Mexican immigrant who travels to Germany to start a new life after a series of unsuccessful attempts to get into the U.S. to find work. Once in Germany, Ramón finds himself stranded with no money and no place to stay. When he meets Ruth (Ingeborg Schöner), a lonely German senior citizen, she and Ramón develop a friendship that transcends borders.
We caught up with the actor to talk about what makes this story so different and his next project, a film written by Paul Schrader (screenwriter of Taxi Driver and Raging Bull.)
Usually when there is a film about a Mexican immigrant looking for a better life, it’s about them coming to the U.S. However, in Buen Día, Ramón your character goes to Germany. Did you find this variation on the Mexican immigrant story unique?
“It was my first leading role and it was the first time I was doing a movie like this.”
No, not really. I had heard about other people going to other places in the world, however, they are invisible because the Latin America population is not big enough to be seen. All [immigrants] know about, is the U.S. It has to do with the lack of education. A lot of people don’t know that there are other continents, such as Europe, like Ramón. I think the story is unique, especially for the Mexican cinema. Most of the films focus on how immigrants are hurt and mistreated. I’m not saying this is not true, but I think that it’s important to show people the other side and give them hope for a better life.
What was it about your character Ramón that made you want to be a part of this film?
It was my first leading role and it was the first time I was doing a movie like this. Most of the films I worked on have strong themes, violence, politics, etc. and I felt like the audience wanted to see something different. I was told many times not to do this movie because it was not the type of film that I do. That’s exactly what I wanted, something different. Buen Día, Ramón has opened doors for me. It met my expectations.
Was there anything in the German culture that reminded you of the Mexican culture you’re used to?
“In Mexico there are writers that don’t know they are bad writers so they get the pretty boy and the pretty girl to make a romantic film, but there’s nothing else to it.”
No, not really. We are so different. It sounds weird what I’m about to say, but we are so different yet so similar when it comes to feelings. I had a conversation with Ingeborg and she told me how hard it was to grow up in Brisbane with strict parents. I could see the pain in her eyes. I don’t have a father so we connected. I think we learned from both cultures. When we were done working and everyone went home, all of us [Mexicans] stayed to drink and talk and laugh about what happened during the week. Little by little, [the Germans] joined us and we created a family.
What message do you hope audiences take from Buen Día, Ramón when they see it?
It does not matter the color of your skin, your language, your economic stability, or your age. At the end of the day, we are all human beings and it’s important that we help each other.
You’ve been working in the film industry for about seven years now. What are you looking for when it comes to the projects you choose?
I want to learn more. I’m an actor that chooses the projects based on what I think I need at that moment. I had the opportunity to work on important films, and sometimes I had to pass on projects because it was something that I had done before. I’m looking for challenges, different genres, and different themes. That’s what film is all about. Unfortunately, in Mexico there are writers that don’t know they are bad writers so they get the pretty boy and the pretty girl to make a romantic film, but there’s nothing else to it. I’m looking for films that are artistic and have a message for the audience.
We’re also going to see you in a movie soon called The Jesuit that was written by screenwriter Paul Schrader, who also wrote iconic films like Taxi Driver and Raging Bull.
“It was an honor to know that I was going to participate in a film written by Paul Schrader.”
Yes, I have a small role. My role is the guy that is sent to kill the Jesuit. It’s a thriller. It was an honor to know that I was going to participate in a film written by Paul Schrader.
When your character shoots Casper in the 2009 drama Sin Nombre it’s heartbreaking. Did you understand the significance of that film at such a young age or did it take some time to fully grasp what that movie was about later in life?
Honestly, no. I did not know. I knew about the people that were leaving their countries to cross the border to look for a better life, but I wasn’t connected to it. As I grew up and started to work in different films with different themes, I understood the impact and the importance that these issues have in our society. Then I understood I was doing something important. I started to get more involved in these issues because it’s important to me as a person and as a citizen to know what’s going on. It is also important because it helps you as an actor.
Buen Día, Ramón is playing in select theaters. Look here for showtimes.