Gael Garcia Bernal on the Past, Present and Future of Cinema
Among his many duties, besides critically viewing 14 films in competition, was to entertain the questions of the international press gathered. After Eva Mendes, a special guest of the festival spoke to journalists on how Latinos and other ethnic roles are very underrepresented in the film industry, Bernal replied, "Well maybe she should work in Latin America."
"I wold never play a Finnish guy, even though I look like one," he jested. "They would never call me because of my accent." To play devil's advocate on the topic, Bernal asked, "Do we expect films to be democratic? In a way, that gives a moral stature to films that they shouldn't have. Films should be completely free. If you finance a film in Mexico, no one's going to tell you 'we're not going ethnic.'"
I sat down with Bernal at the famous La Mamounia hotel to discuss just why Mexican cinema is at the forefront of international film, beyond the sheer talent of its actors and directors. When Amores Perros converged onto the international scene in 2000, "it was a very interesting moment in cinema in the world, because there weren't so many surprises," he said.
But ultimately for Bernal, "the best thing that can happen for cinema is that it doesn't acknowledge a nationality." His definition of great cinema? "Good films are going to be good films as long as the director has a single, personal point of view, and we all can interpret the director's point of view."
In addition to upcoming films opposite Will Ferrell and Kate Hudson, Bernal is working hard on the 6th edition of his Documentary film festival, Ambulante. The innovative fest travels around to plazas and cineplexes in 17 cities in Mexico for two and a half months this February. But since the announcement of his second child on the way, Bernal says that for him, there's no greater work than being a father. "It's the best thing that can ever happen. But it's very hard to watch movies where there are kids involved," he says. "You're always struggling for the kids. You almost forget about what your life that was before the baby, which is scary, man. Like what did I do when going to a cafe? What's to have free time? I don't remember."
My trip to Marrakesh was sponosored by the FIFM, but the opinions in this story are my own.