Intolerance is always repressive; it drives xenophobia and homophobia. The cinema can be an indispensable tool to prompt an audience to reflect on something as basic as intolerance. For this reason, one of the most important awards given at the Guadalajara International Film Festival, or FICG — with thanks to Pavel Cortés — is the Maguey Prize, in recognition of an outstanding film bearing a message of social awareness.
The award went to Santa and Andrés, directed by Carlos Lechuga, a film that was banned in Lechuga’s home country of Cuba, but which proved to be the great winner of the Festival, with three awards. The Maguey Award acts as a denunciation of homotransphobia, and many of the other films in competition, featuring lesbian, gay, transgender, intersexual or bisexual narratives, shared Santa and Andrés’ implicit polemic.
The FIPRESCI jury, of which I was a part, unanimously decided to give its award to The Blue Years, the debut of the Mexican filmmaker Sofia Gómez Córdova, which featured outstanding work by the actor Luis Velázquez, who plays a gay man inhabiting a community of young people faced with a space that unites and separate them at the same time.
At a festival as important as this one, there could be no lack of guests and members of relevance, such as Willem Defoe, who gave a multitudinous master class; Jaime Humberto Hermosillo, pioneer of Mexican gay cinema, whose films have transgressed his country’s deeply embedded machismo; Luciano Castillo, screenwriter and current director of the Cuban Cinematheque; and Bruce LaBruce, the Canadian director who made his debut as an underground gay porn filmmaker.
Mariela Castro, daughter of President Raúl Castro and founder of Cuban National Center for Sex Education, or Cenesex, was recognized for her work. At the closing ceremony, Catalan filmmaker Ventura Pons proudly announced before the screening of his film Les sabates grosses that next year FICG’s guest country will be Catalonia. (Xavier-Daniel, edited by José Teodoro)