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MexFest: A Weekend of Mexican Film and Arts | reviews, news & interviews

MexFest: A Weekend of Mexican Film and Arts

MexFest: A Weekend of Mexican Film and Arts

This weekend sees a cornucopia of Mexican creativity in London

Abbie Cornish and Maritza Santiago Hernandez in The Girl

Last night saw the launch of the second edition of the enterprising MexFest at Richmix in East London– a celebration of all things Mexican (film, architecture, food and music in particular). The opening film was introduced by Baroness Jane Bonham Carter, the UK’s trade Envoy to Mexico, who announced 2015 would be Mexican Year in the U.K. which will showcase the best of the country's creativity.

The opening film was the impressive The Girl, a tale of a struggling Texan single mother, played convincingly by Abbie Cornish who gets involved in attempting to smuggle people over the border. The only criticism from audience members of her strong performance was that her Spanish was too good for a poorly educated gringo. The key to the film is the relationship between her and a young girl from Mexico, an astonishing performance by Maritza Santiago Hernandez. Will Patton played the ne'er-do-well dad with a twinkle in his eyes.

The film is a lyrical one – the violent events (a drowning, an attempted rape) take place off screen and the focus is on the emotional relationship between the Mexican and American girls. Although much of the film is set on the border, in fact to film there was deemed too dangerous and a replica was built in Oaxaca, the state where some of the gorgeous deep rural elements were filmed. While Baroness Bonham Carter was bigging up trade between the two countries, in some ways the film, the Director of Photography Martin Boege said afterwards is “ a critique of the emptiness of capitalism” and featured those on the wrong end of the unshackled forces of the global market.

At the launch party, Grupo Mono Blanco, veteran leaders in the revival of authentic Mexican music, specifically the son jarocho, the folk music originally from Veracruz charmed the opening night revellers. The DJ winding them up after that was the frontman of the hip latin-electronic band Kinky. The Festival incorporates discussions on architecture, art exhibits, a fascinating slate of Mexican films (including a couple of classics) and runs until Sunday.  Click here for more information on the Festival. 

MexFest trailer, below:

While Baroness Bonham Carter was bigging up trade between the two countries, the film featured those on the wrong end of the unshackled forces of the global market

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