Guanajuato is a city famous for a few things. Besides exporting nearly half of the world’s silver for almost 500 years, most remember it as the setting of the 1970 Mexican classic film Santo vs. las Momias, which featured El Santo, everyone’s favorite luchador-superhero, taking on a plague of killer mummies in the picturesque callejones of this idiosyncratic colonial city.
While El Santo’s films weren’t exactly monuments to film art, a dedicated group of film professionals have made fit their mission to put Guanajuato on the map for slightly more serious cinematic fare. Since 1998, the Guanajuato International Film Festival (GIFF) has been bringing a world-class competition and film heavyweights like Lars Von Trier (okay, he Skyped-in, but the guy’s never actually been on a plane) to the visually stunning and culturally rich provincial capital, quickly situating the festival as one of Mexico’s three principal film events.
This year’s edition wrapped this past Sunday with an awards ceremony. Here’s a peek into the Latin American winners from this year’s edition.
Best Mexican First Film
Todos Estan Muertos
A washed-up rock star has spent the last couple of decades moping around the house after the death of her brother and bandmate. Living locked away at her mother’s house along with her young son, her brother’s ghost comes back to break her out of her twenty-year funk. Cue inspirational rock music.
Best Mexican Documentary
Nicolas Pereda isn’t exactly the most accessible of filmmakers, but he is certainly never afraid to push the bounds of the medium. While in true Pereda fashion this trailer suggests nothing of what the film may actually be about, we know we can expect to see sewing machines and stunning cinematography. Good enough for me.
Gilberto Gonzalez Penilla
It’s not easy to get deadpan comedy across in the span of a two-minute trailer, but somehow the team behind Los Hamsters has pulled it off. This apparent send up of upper-middle class problems in modern Mexico — complete with the requisite family disconnections, infidelities and teenage pregnancies – promises to be funny as hell, if a little thematically overworn.
For a full list of the 2014 winners, click here.