Gael García shows a different side of Mexico

Gael García Bernal has worked alongside brilliant directors such as Walter Salles, Iñárritu, and Ruizpalacios

Gael García shows a different side of Mexico with his new film ‘Chicuarotes’
Gael García claimed that the movie managed to navigate between dark comedy and drama with many subtleties - Photo: Joel C Ryan/AP
English 27/06/2019 17:32 Alejandra Musi / Enviada Mexico City Actualizada 17:54
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It took Gael García Bernal 12 years to direct once again. Much has changed since he directed Déficit (2007) and García has grown both as an actor and an artist ever since. Having worked with well-known filmmakers such as Walter Salles, Pablo Larraín, Michel Gondry, González Iñárritu, and Alonso Ruizpalacios, the Mexican actor and director has learned and perfected his craft like no one else.

“Fortunately, as an actor I have a chance to see every set firsthand. I get to see different work dynamics, universes, and methods. It’s something you end up learning along the way,” said the filmmaker in an interview with EL UNIVERSAL at the Majestic Hotel, just a few hours before the premiere of his new film Chicuarotes at the Cannes Film Festival.

“It’s not enough to just have the will and experience to tell a story and direct it, you also need to find something that arouses your curiosity long enough so that you are willing to embark on the whole process,” he stated.

“My first impulse came when I read the script that Augusto Mendoza had written. It was an amazing story that changed a lot throughout the entire process, but we kept many of its original traits such as its comedic yet dramatic tone,” he explained.

“Another thing that caught my attention was the possibility to dive inside a world that was very different from my own, understand it, and explore it. I actually felt as if I was directing a film made in Finland or something, I kept saying to myself: ‘Fuck! This is happening in the same city I live in and I didn’t even know about this.’ And I tend to generalize when I talk about it, but I’m sure many people are not familiarized with the place,” the director commented.

The film is set in the San Gregorio Atlapulco community—one of the Xochimilco borough’s indigenous villages—where precarious living conditions push its two protagonists to put together a dangerous plan to come out of their complicated economic situation.

Gael García claimed that the movie was life changing in many ways.

“But I am very curious to know what’s going to happen to all the people from San Gregorio who worked on the film, because I feel like the movie moved them as well. Many of the young actors, most of them, in fact, were born in that community and now they are thinking about becoming actors. Others also said that they were interested in making films and I think that’s beautiful,” said the filmmaker, who conducted a thorough investigation of the San Gregorio village to make Chicuarotes.

“First, we had to understand the place. Then we did an open casting where we evaluated around 800 youngsters and that’s when we started finding our characters and further understanding our movie. It has been a very pleasant and free process,” he explained.

Gael García claimed that the movie managed to navigate between dark comedy and drama with many subtleties.

“It is both an enjoyable and intense film. We wanted to make something from the inside, something completely plausible and imbue it with reality. We wanted to make a fable for young people, something original. We wanted to talk about the loss of innocence but not only make it about how the world conditions you to be a certain way, but also how, in the end, it’s the character who decide what they are going to do,” he stated.

The film will premiere on June 27 in Mexico.


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