The opening title cards of Jose Leandro Cordova’s Club Internacional Aguerridos (CIA) informs us that what we are about to watch is a documentary filmed by “Nicolás Oxman.” Moreover, Nicolás has gone missing. As the grainy black-and-white images of this DIY doc soon show us, his disappearance may well be connected with his links to the underground punk scene.
Cordova’s conceit is clear: what we’re watching is a first-person dive into a wildly misunderstood subculture. Nico (played by David Calderón León) is a rich, light-skinned guy — a “güero” as he hates being called — who becomes enamored with the punk scene in the late ’80s to early ’90s. Armed with a camcorder, he’s decided to chronicle its scene.
At Los Cabos International Film Festival, where the fake documentary was screened, Cordova shared that he and his crew were inspired by the 1992 Belgian movie Man Bites Dog where a film crew follows a thief and a killer only to end up being recruited to help in his heists. It explains why Nico’s increasing involvement with the club, including a crackling sexual relationship with one of its male members, happens so nonchalantly. That tidbit may sound titillating but it’s but one piece of this ode to Mexican punks. “It doesn’t matter if he’s gay or not. If he’s bisexual or not,” Cordova added. “That’s just one aspect of him. So we didn’t want to just focus on that. It’s not like ‘This is a gay film.’ We’re just showing what is.”
Indeed, Cordova and his team talked at length about merely chronicling this world without passing judgment on its characters, many of whom are played by real-life punks. Robbery scenes are shot by Nico with just as much curiosity as moments of naked intimacy in his bed, or at the showers with the guys, or in the streets when they’re attacked. It may be a fake documentary but it brims with authenticity, like the ’90s video relic found untouched that it purports to be.
This conversation has been translated from Spanish by the author for Remezcla.
Club Internacional Aguerridos screened as part of Los Cabos International Film Festival.