Nuevo Cine Mexicano

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Nuevo Cine Mexicano
Years active1990s-2010s
CountryMexico
InfluencesItalian Neorealism

Nuevo Cine Mexicano, also referred to as New Mexican Cinema is a Mexican film movement started in the early 1990s.[1] Filmmakers, critics, and scholars consider Nuevo Cine Mexicano a "rebirth" of Mexican cinema because of the production of higher-quality films. This rebirth led to high international praise as well as box-office success, unseen since the golden age of Mexican cinema of the 1930s to 1960s. The quality of Mexican films suffered in the decades following the golden age due in part to Mexican audiences watching more overseas films, especially Hollywood productions.[2] This resulted in the rise of infamous Mexican genres such as Luchador films, sexicomedias and ultimately the low-budget direct-to-video Mexploitation film.[3]

Many themes addressed in Nuevo Cine Mexicano include the roles of gender, identity, tradition, and socio-political conflicts within Mexico itself. [1] The movement has achieved international success with films such as director Alfonso Cuaron’s Y Tu Mamá También (2001), which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay [4] and at the Golden Globes for Best Foreign Film, and Alejandro G. Iñárritu's Amores Perros (2000), which was nominated for Best Foreign Film at the Academy Awards. [5]

There is debate over when this “new wave” of Mexican cinema began and whether there are any clear parameters as to how it differs from other Mexican film movements other than "newfound audience enthusiasm".[6] Some cite the actual rejuvenation of Mexican cinema as starting in 1998 in a Post-NAFTA Mexico, beginning with the film Sexo, pudor y lágrimas (Sex, Shame and Tears).[6] Others believe it began because of the international acclaim of the films such as Like Water for Chocolate (1992) and its nomination for Best Foreign Film at the Golden Globes. [7] [8] The definition of Nuevo Cine Mexicano also leads to the question, "What is a Mexican film?"—is it Mexican film because of who makes or stars in it, or because it takes place in Mexico.[9]

Origins[edit]

The Golden Age of Mexican Cinema occurred from the 1930s to the 1960s, afterward, a period of low-budget B-movies funded by the state of Mexico was the primary source for films for the Mexican public.[2] A resurgence of Mexican cinema was believed to occur in the 1970s, however, its success was short-lived as the majority Mexican filmgoers preferred Hollywood films.[3][6]

Before the 1990s, the Mexican film industry was primarily funded by the state in coordination with the Instituto Mexicano de Cinematografía (Mexican Film Institute, IMCINE). There was a decrease in Mexican audiences watching Mexican-produced films in favor of Hollywood blockbusters as well as "film production dropp[ing] to an all-time low" due to the economic crash in 1994.[2] The IMCINE produced roughly five films a year during the crisis.[1][9] The main influx of directors and filmmakers, as well as funding, primarily came from the IMCINE. The incoming filmmakers, nicknamed the "1990s Generation", were helped by the generation of 1968 with their filmmaking skills.[3]

One of the most successful filmmakers of the 1990s Generation of Mexican filmmakers, Guillermo del Toro, said that "In the 80’s there was a huge void in Mexican cinema, then my generation picked up the staff in the early 90s."[10] However, during the 1970s "technical experimentation" took precedence within the film community, and through the 1980s films "catered to the lowest common denominator", the 1990s Generation learned by working together with the filmmakers of the late 60s and 70s.[1]

Themes[edit]

Social divisions within Mexico is a reoccurring theme within Nuevo Cine Mexicano, including the films Y Tu Mamá También, El crimen del Padre Amaro (2002), and Amores Perros.

Though the films touch on the “socio-geographic divisions” of Mexico in different ways.[6] In Amores Perros, the economic divisions are portrayed through the differences between the main characters' homes. El Chivo lives in a "seedy residence" which that is juxtaposed with his daughter’s "respectable home".[6] With El crimen del padre Amaro (The Crime of Father Amaro) the traditions of the Catholic Church, which remains a prominent influence in Mexico, is questioned when a young priest has sex with a teenager leading to her death from an abortion.[6] Other subjects such as homosexuality and political corruption are briefly touched on in Y Tu Mamà También (And Your Mother Too), helping to set up a background of what Mexico is and is not.[11] The two main male characters in the film differ in their social standings because of their families' political connections. What ultimately breaks their friendship apart is having sex with one another.[11] Within Nuevo Cine Mexicano, filmmakers try to portray such social and economic troubles within Mexico through different perspectives, which commonly goes against the sometimes stereotypical portrayals of Mexico and its inhabitants in U.S. and European films.

The characterizations of Europeans or foreigners, specifically Spaniards, are relatively negative. In several works in Nuevo Cine Mexicano, the conflict within the story is due to a person of Spanish descent. Either the non-foreigners in the film who associate with the Spaniards are drastically changed or the Spaniards themselves meet a tragic end.[6] The filmmakers use this trope in order to recall Mexico's past, specifically with Spain's colonization of Mexico.[6] The style of the films generally mimics the "art house" films of previous decades, since the state of Mexico had the greatest authority over the production of movies.[11] Directors specifically adopted this style in order to move away from the state and into independent productions, which a majority of Nuevo Cine Mexicano is.[3] Production studios normally fund one to two million dollars per film, due to the lack of mainstream production.[9] The influence of "NAFTAtrade and tax policies" made it harder for the public to fund such productions.[9]

Main players[edit]

Guillermo del Toro, Alfonso Cuaron, and Alejandro G. Inarritu make up the "Three Amigos", the main Mexican film directors of Nuevo Cine Mexicano. All have created films produced in Mexico and Hollywood. Critics and award shows consider these three as the premier directors in their craft. [12] Each produces and uses actors and cinematographers from Mexico, even in their Hollywood made productions.[9] "Poster-boy" actors Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna have also moved on to several Hollywood productions, yet their popularity in Mexican cinema has proven to endure throughout the years.[9] Other directors include Alonso Ruizpalacios and Fernando Eimbcke.

European influence[edit]

Since 2000, some directors have made "independent productions looking for more personal expression", under a greater influence of European cinema.[13] The most representative films of this trend [14] are the films of Carlos Reygadas (Japón and Battle in Heaven), whose use of non-professional actors was influenced by Italian Neorealism. Other films include: Mil nubes de paz cercan el cielo, amor, jamás acabarás de ser amor (A Thousand Clouds of Peace Fence the Sky, Love; Your Being Love Will Never End) and El cielo dividido (Broken Sky), directed by Julián Hernández, and Sangre, directed by Amat Escalante and produced by Jaime Romandía and Reygadas.

Award-winning films and directors[edit]

Best feature film
Best film director
Director Title Year Awards
Jaime Humberto Hermosillo Homework
La tarea
1991 Russia Won a special mention at the 17th Moscow International Film Festival.
Alejandro González Iñarritu Amores perros 2000 United Kingdom
France
Won the Award for Best Film Not in the English Language at the 55th British Academy Film Awards and Prize of the Critic's Week at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival.
Juan Carlos de Llaca Dust to Dust
Por la libre
2000 Cuba Won a special mention at the 2000 Havana Film Festival.
Alfonso Cuarón Y Tu Mamá También 2001 United States Won the Award for Best International Film at the 18th Independent Spirit Awards.
Michael Rowe Año bisiesto 2010 France Won the Caméra d'Or at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival.
Carlos Reygadas Post Tenebras Lux 2012 France Won the Best Director Award at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival.
Amat Escalante Heli 2013 France Won the Best Director Award at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.
Alonso Ruizpalacios Güeros 2014 Germany Won the Best First Feature Award at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival.
Alfonso Cuarón Roma 2018 Italy
United States
United Kingdom
Won the Golden Lion at the 75th Venice International Film Festival, Best Director Award and Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards [15] and Best Film Award and Best Direction Award at the 72nd British Academy Film Awards. [16]

Other notable works[edit]

Director Title Year Notes
Antonio Serrano Sexo, pudor y lágrimas 1999 Directorial debut of Antonio Serrano.
Carlos Carrera The Crime of Father Amaro
El crimen del Padre Amaro
2002 Nominated to the Best Foreign Language Film Award at the 75th Academy Awards. [17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Martin, Michael T. (2004). "Mexican Cinema and the 'Generation of the 1990s'". Framework: The Journal of Cinema and Media. 45: 115–128.
  2. ^ a b c Tsao, Leonardo Garcia (2007). "After the Breakthrough of Amores Perros, What's next for Mexican Cinema?". Film Comment. 37: 11–13.
  3. ^ a b c d Maciel, David. "The Cinematic Renaissance of Contemporary Mexico 1985-1992". UC Davis: 70–85.
  4. ^ Pedro Almodóvar Wins Original Screenplay: 2003 Oscars-YouTube
  5. ^ "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" Wins Foreign Language Film: 2001 Oscars-YouTube
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Hind, Emily (2004). "Post-NAFTA Mexican Cinema 1998-2002". Studies in Latin American Popular Culture. 23: 95–111.
  7. ^ Like Water for Chocolate|Golden Globes
  8. ^ Best Motion Picture-Foreign Language|Page 7|Golden Globes
  9. ^ a b c d e f Aldama, Frederick Luis (2013). Mex-Cine: Mexican Filmmaking, Production, and Consumption in the Twenty-first Century. Michigan: University of Michigan Press.
  10. ^ Garcia, Chris (April 5, 2002). "The New Migration - "Y Tu Mama" Is Just the Latest in a Trend of Quality Mexican Films Traversing the Rio Grande". Austin American Statesman.
  11. ^ a b c Menne, Jeff (2007). "A Mexican Nouvelle Vague: The Logic of New Waves Under Globalization". Cinema Journal. 47: 70–92.
  12. ^ How Mexicans Became Hollywood's Best Directors-NBC News
  13. ^ González Vargas, Carla; et al. (2006). Rutas del cine mexicano. CONACULTA IMCINE. ISBN 9685893292.
  14. ^ Jason Wood, "Carlos Reygadas" in Talking movies: contemporary world filmmakers in interview London : Wallflower Press (2006) p. 189
  15. ^ "Roma" wins Best Foreign Language Film-Oscars on YouTube
  16. ^ Alfonso Cuarón & Roma Cast and Crew React to Winning 4 Awards for Roma | EE BAFTA Film Awards 2019-YouTube
  17. ^ Salma Hayek presenting the Foreign Language Film Oscar to "Nowhere in Africa": 2003 Oscars-YouTube