A few months back we published highlights from a report showing a mixed bag for Mexican cinema. On one hand, the country is producing more films than ever before, while on the other, a large proportion of them never actually make it to theaters. Budgets are down, documentary is up, box-office is waning, and it’s hard to say if Mexican cinema is actually booming or just going in circles. But one unmistakably positive conclusion drawn from the IMCINE’s Statistical Yearbook of Mexican Cinema is that women are directing an increasingly larger share of Mexico’s overall cinematic output. And any global cinenerd who’s been keeping their eye on the Mexican industry shouldn’t be surprised given recent standout works from directoras like Betzabé García and Tatiana Huezo, to name just a few.
So leave it to the Czechs to identify this as an actual phenomenon and celebrate it in a world class film festival. Maybe to your average American lay person the name Karlovy Vary doesn’t ring much of a bell, but this picturesque Czech spa town was the site of the Soviet Union’s most prestigious festival at a time when the Soviet bloc was producing some of the world’s most innovative and daring cinema. Since 1946, the festival has given an outlet to game-changing directors like Milos Forman before opening up to the west in 1990 and rolling out the red carpets for international heavyweights like The Coen Brothers and Leonardo DiCaprio.
This edition’s homage to Mexico’s young female directors features nine standout films whose titles will be no strangers to readers of the Remezcla film section, including Los reyes del pueblo que no existe (Kings of Nowhere), Tempestad, Fogo, Sabrás qué hacer conmigo, and Los insólitos peces gatos (Amazing Catfish). In the festival’s official statement, they praised the “courageous and spontaneous way they introduce into their films their generation’s specifically feminine take on reality, love and sex, and also issues of parenthood, the quest for the meaning of life and for their own identity.” You know, those lighter themes reserved for women’s fiction.
The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival runs from July 1-9, 2016 but if you can’t make it to Central Europe on such short notice, do yourself a favor and jot these titles down. Nothing’s stopping you from holding your own homage to Mexican female directors on your iPad.