Film festivals have long been known for their specific locales: you think of the beautiful beaches in Cartagena, the luscious red carpets in Cannes, the snowy weather in Sundance. But increasingly, with new streaming possibilities, fests around the world have begun to expand their horizons and allow those of us away from these colorful sites to experience the films presented there. Festival Scope allows movies from these programs around the world to be screened from the comfort of your own home. And they’re at it again with selections from the Morelia International Film Festival. From October 23 to November 4, you’ll be able to watch the projects making waves at the Mexican program at the same time as cinefans are experiencing them during the prestigious fest.
As always, the broad selection speaks to all sorts of moviegoers. There’s Kyzza Terrazas‘ Somos lengua, whose subtitle tells you precisely what it’s offering: “Fragmentos del Hip-Hop en México.” The project follows a handful of young rappers around the country who not only showcase their talent but help put this musical genre in the context of contemporary urban Mexico. As one rapper notes in the documentary: “Our music is, above all, an expression of the way we live.”
If you wanted something slightly more subdued, Natalia Almada‘s quiet character study Todo lo demás may be right for you. The drama, which screened at the New York Film Festival where we caught up with its director, follows a government worker as she sees her life slowly unravel after her cat dies. A portrait of a solitary woman punctuated with commentary on the increased violence against women being reported on Mexican news, this is the film that is bound to remind everyone why Adriana Barraza is one of the best actresses working today.
Tatiana Huezo‘s Tempestad could very well make for an apt double feature with Almada’s first fiction film. This lyrical documentary was based, as Huezo has explained, on the story of one of her oldest friends who’d been wrongfully jailed in a cartel-run prison for years for allegedly being involved in human trafficking. Her plight, alongside a story of a mother vainly searching for her missing daughter, paints a portrait of the current political climate in Mexico and the silence that surrounds the many missing women across the country.
In Bárbara Ochoa Castañeda‘s Tiempo sin pulso, a teenager’s upcoming birthday party becomes the center of family conflict. Bruno, who’s about to turn 19 has lived with the haunting presence of his older brother who died two years prior. It’s left him almost catatonic, closing him off from any sense of pleasure in his life. But with his mother wanting to throw his dead brother a birthday party and with the return of Bruno’s first love, he might just allow himself to feel something again. To give his life, as it were, a new, quickened pulse.
And there are plenty more to choose. These include, among others, a documentary about a boarding school for low-income families (Los niños de la Cruz), a story about a neighborhood barber (El peluquero romántico), a look at an aging farmworker who wants to return to Mexico (Lupe bajo el sol), and a funny and touching docu following the real-life El Charro de Toluquilla as he flirts, sings, dances, and copes with his HIV positive diagnosis.