Mexican New Wave cinema

11/12/2009 at 10:45 pm


This past decade has seen an emergence of Mexican New Wave cinema. Like the filmmakers of Japan and France that came to prominence in the 50s and 60s, the 00s might belong to the auteurs of Mexico.  Three directors in particular have captivated audiences around he world with their diverse body of work. Dubbed “The Three Amigos,” Alfonso Cuarón, Guillermo Del Toro and Alejandro González Iñárritu have enjoyed mainstream success and turned the eyes of cinephiles around the world towards the nation of Mexico.

The catalyst was in 2000 when Iñárritu released AMORES PERROS,  a film that tells three intertwining stories in the barrios of Mexico City. Following its premiere at Cannes Film Festival, established critics and mainstream audiences took notice of the first time filmmaker.

In his original review, critic Roger Ebert wrote, “It is the work of a born filmmaker, and you can sense Gonzalez Inarritu’s passion as he plunges into melodrama, coincidence, sensation and violence.” (more)

AMORES PERROS won every major award at the 2001 Ariel Awards in Mexico and also managed to pick-up a nomination for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2001 Academy Awards.

Also in 2001, Alfonso Cuarón released his sexually charged allegory, Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN and Guillermo Del Toro unleashed his horror film THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE.

Co-written with his brother Carlos Cuarón, Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN is a coming-of-age road film featuring Mexican actors Gael García Bernal, Diego Luna and Maribel Verdú. THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE starred Eduardo Noriega and told the story of a ghost during the Spanish Civil War. Like AMORES PERROS, Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN and THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE both received a great deal of attention from both audiences and critics.

Desson Howe of the WASHINGTON POST called Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN, “the best road movie ever made” and the Academy recognized the work of the Cuarón brothers by nominating them for Best Original Screenplay in 2003.

The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films nominated THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE for 2002 award for Best Horror Film. A.O. Scott of THE NEW YORK TIMES also bestowed praised upon the film and its director, writing that “Mr. del Toro provokes your screams and shudders, but he also earns your tears.” (more)

The success of  AMORES PERROS, Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN and THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE granted Iñárritu, Cuarón and Del Toro the opportunity to move onto new projects with bigger budgets and bigger stars. Iñárritu released 21 GRAMS, another compelling drama with converging storylines that starred Sean Penn, Benicio del Toro and Naomi Watts. Cuarón took on the blockbuster adaptation of HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN and Del Toro directed a pair of comic-book adaptations with BLADE II and HELLBOY.

However, it was in 2006 that Hollywood insiders and film journalists began to refer to the three Mexican filmmakers as “The Three Amigos” following the releases of BABEL, CHILDREN OF MEN and PAN’S LABYRINTH. (more)

All three auteurs were present at the 79th Academy Awards where they received nominations in the categories of Best Director, Best Picture for Iñárritu and BABEL, Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay for Cuarón and CHILDREN OF MEN and Best Writing, Original Screenplay and Best Foreign Language Film of the Year for Del Toro and PAN’S LABYRINTH. (more)

Since 2006 the “The Three Amigos” have shown no signs of stopping. They have started their own production company called Cha Cha Chá Films with the goal of producing and directing their own films.

RUDO Y CURSI, a film directed by Alfonso’s brother Carlos, marks the first movie to be released under the Cha Cha Chá Films banner. It reunites Mexican stars Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna in a hilarious and poignant film about two rvial brothers who become major league soccer players in Mexico.

Currently, Iñárritu is hard at work on BITIFUL, a Spanish drama starring Javier Bardem (NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN). Cuarón takes on a cinematic adaptation of the comic book “The Umbrella Academy” and Del Toro looks to New Zealand where he is set to direct the film version of J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic, THE HOBBIT.

Iñárritu, Cuarón and Del Toro have reinvegorated Mexican cinema. Thier work has defined a generation of Mexican filmmakers and they continue to captivate audiences around the world.

Entry filed under: DIRECTORS, MEXICAN CINEMA, PRODUCTORS. Tags: , , , , .

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