27th Guadalajara International Film Festival

Mexico, March 2 - March 10 2012

The jury

José Romero (Peru), Anne Wakefield Hoyt (Mexico), Andrea Martini (Italy)

Awarded films

cIts vocation was Hispanic American but its link is to the global world —  this is Guadalajara, a festival that has just brilliantly completed its first quarter century. This year’s edition, its twenty-fifth anniversary, bears witness to the vibrancy of one of the leading events of Latin America. Last year’s decision by new director Ivan Trujillo to move to the heart of the exhibition centre (Expo) seems to have paid off as witness the vitality of the Hispanic-American film market with the relative joint productions and workshops. The official sections (Mexican and Hispanic-American full-length and documentary films with the addition of  three short-length sections) featured the best of last year’s production of these areas, confirming the festival as a leading showcase for a number of works destined to far-off markets. There is no doubt, however, that it is an authentic festival of Mexican cinema as attested by the high public attendance figures for the screening  of Mexican films, and this year all thirteen entries were by a new wave of young cineastes (the winner Mariachi Gringo by Tom Gustafson is an amazing film that will probably be seen in European theatres). In addition, there were a few surprises among the sixteen entries for Latin-American cinema; Violeta se fue a los cielos by Andrés Wood, Pescador by Sebastian Cordero, El páramo by Jaime Osorio Marquez and Transeunte  Eryk Rocha. In addition to all of this, the festival featured the “International Panorama” of independent cinema, intelligently based more on second lines rather than works of the renowned; a selection of gay and lesbian films (the Maguey Prize) and a review of the cinema of Ecuador. There was also a retrospective of the works of Mike Leigh (the core feature of the section dedicated to Great Britain, this year’s guest country), and a retrospective of and tribute to Gabriel Retes and Andy Garcia. But beyond the Gala events and premiere previews (like The Iron Lady), the vitality of Guadalajara, lies in the study groups (on melodrama), the concerts (the one by Michael Nyman was spectacular) — the confirmation of a broad-based calling that blends show business with culture. (Andrea Martini)

Guadalajara International Film Festival: www.ficg.mx