Tucson Cine Mexico, a partnership between the UA's Hanson Film/TV Institute and Cinema Tropical, has exhibited emerging and independent Mexican cinema to Tucsonans since 2004. Since forming, Tucson Cine Mexico has attracted more than 20,000 festival-goers and hosted more than 40 filmmakers. Its 16th anniversary lineup was just released.
The festival lasts from March 27 to 31 at the Tucson Museum of Art, UA Center For Creative Photography and Harkins Tucson Spectrum 18.
OPENING NIGHT PARTY In person: Producer Martha Sosa Elizondo
The 16th edition of Tucson Cine Mexico, the United States’ longest-running festival of Mexican film, kicks off at 6 p.m. at the Tucson Museum of Art with fiesta food and drinks. At 6:45 p.m. in the lobby area, Festival co-director Carlos Gutiérrez moderates “Nurturing New Film Talent,” a conversation with guest filmmaker Martha Sosa Elizondo. Martha, an Emmy-winning producer of such trailblazing films as Alejandro González Iñarritu’s Amores Perros and the multiple award- winning documentary Presumed Guilty, recently produced Plaza de la Soledad – screening for the first time in Arizona at Tucson Cine Mexico on March 28. After the Conversation, head to the patio for music by guest DJ Humblelianess and dance the night away. While there, attendees also have the option to view the cosmic works of contemporary Cuban artist Carlos Estévez, the Museum’s feature exhibition.
Wednesday, March 27, 6 to 9 p.m. Tucson Museum of Art.
MAMACITA (Arizona Premiere) Director José Pablo Estrada Torrescano unearths family secrets in his debut feature Mamacita. When the aspiring director went to study film abroad, his grandmother made him promise to return to Mexico one day to make a film about her life. Little did he know that his film would unearth secrets, lies and deceptions affecting five generations of a high society Mexican family. Mamacita, José Pablo’s grandmother, is an extravagant Mexican beauty queen living in her own kingdom with her loyal servants: gardener, chauffeur, chef, housekeeper and nurses. The 95-year-old lady has turned her house into a castle, hiding the open wounds of a prominent Mexican upper class family behind its stone walls. José Pablo conquers his granny’s empire like a Trojan horse, discovering the haunted spirits of his own past and the reason for the lack of love that his entire clan has suffered from for generations.
Thursday, March 28, 5:30p.m. at the Center for Creative Photography. Documentary. Mexico/Germany. 2018. 75 min.
PLAZA DE LA SOLEDAD (Arizona Premiere)
In person: Producer Martha Sosa Elizondo
Internationally acclaimed photographer Maya Goded makes a promising film debut with Plaza de la Soledad, a moving continuation of her photography work in La Merced neighborhood in Mexico City, where prostitution has been present since the days of the Aztecs. “Beautiful, respectful, and celebratory” (Film Comment) and winner of the Cinema Tropical Award for Best Latin American Documentary, the film follows four strong women—middle-aged and older—who want to break a vicious circle that began with abuse and abandonment suffered from an early age. Carmen, Lety, Raquel and Esther aspire for a better life, and Goded’s poignant lens follows their quest to find true love, their capacity to transform themselves, and above all, their resilience and solidarity.
Thursday, March 28, 7:30p.m. at the Center for Creative Photography. Documentary. Mexico, 2016, 84 min.
XQUIPI’ GUIE’DANI / GUIE’DANI’S NAVEL (Arizona Premiere)
In person: Director Xavi Sala
Directed by Catalan-born filmmaker Xavi Sala, this incisive portrait of racism and classism follows young Zapotec Guie’dani, who moves from her Oaxacan village to Mexico City when her mother takes a job as a live-in maid for a wealthy family. Defiant and morose, Guie’dani abhors their new roles in service. Everything changes when she meets Claudia, a rebellious girl with whom she becomes close friends. Newcomer Sótera Cruz brings razor-sharp intensity to her portrayal of a girl determined to fight for her dignity.
Friday, March 29, 6:00p.m. Harkins Tucson Spectrum 18. Drama. Mexico, 2018, 119 min.
LAS NIÑAS BIEN / THE GOOD GIRLS (Arizona Premiere)
Based on Guadalupe Loaeza’s satiric and iconic 1985 bestseller of the same name, Alejandra Márquez Abella’s second film is a portrait of the always charming, perfect and spoiled Sofia, the queen bee of her group of friends, who faces the unimaginable - her social decay. It’s 1982 and a big economic crisis is hitting Mexico. Sofia will have to maintain appearances but her fall is not only inevitable, it will acknowledge what is lost when the money is gone. Starring an impressive ensemble cast including Ilse Salas (Güeros, Museo), Cassandra Ciangherotti (Time Share, Cantinflas), and Paulina Gaitán (Sin Nombre), The Good Girls is a poignant snapshot of the decadent Mexican bourgeoisie of the early eighties.
Friday, March 29, 9:15pm Harkins Tucson Spectrum 18. Drama. Mexico, 2018, 94 min.
LA CAMARISTA / THE CHAMBERMAID (Arizona Premiere ahead of U.S. theatrical release)
A poignant and delicate class portrait, The Chambermaid follows Eve—played by the wonderful Gabriela Cartol (I Dream in Another Language)—a young chambermaid working in one of the most luxurious hotels in Mexico City, who confronts the monotony of long workdays with quiet examinations of forgotten belongings and budding friendships that nourish her newfound and determined dream for a better life. Inspired by the filmmaker's own theater play of the same name—in turn inspired by Sophie Calle’s 1980 artistic project “The Hotel,” in which the French artist worked as a chambermaid in a Venice hotel—The Chambermaid is a standout among a thriving new generation of Mexican and Latin American women filmmakers. With impeccable cinematography, a near-documentary eye, and a humanistic gaze, the film signals director Lila Avilés as a talent to watch. Saturday, March 30, 6:00pm Harkins Tucson Spectrum 18. Mexico, 2018, 98 min.
CINDERELO (U.S. Premiere)
In person: Director Beto Gomez
Beto Gómez’ humorous screwball comedy Cinderelo follows Marlon Flores (the wonderful Miguel Rodarte), a talented photographer with an amazing ability to highlight anyone's inner beauty, but not his own. His ugliness attracts the rejection and ridicule of all women, except his assistant Maria, who can see him for what he really is. Tired of constant contempt, he unexpectedly encounters his fairy godfather (Joaquín Cosío,Narcos: Mexico, Me gusta pero me asusta, The Thin Yellow Line), a mysterious man who casts a spell on him, transforming him into an irresistible hunk named Brando (played by popular actor William Levy). The catch? It’s only in effect at night. With the help of his best friend Felix, Marlon turns the handsome Brando into the most coveted man in the city. But can you find true love with a double identity?
Saturday, March 30, 9:00pm Harkins Tucson Spectrum 18. Romantic Comedy. Mexico/Dominican Republic, 2019, 91 min.
TESOROS / TREASURES (Arizona Premiere)
Written and directed by veteran filmmaker María Novaro (Danzón, Leaving No Trace) and set in a palm-fringed fishing village on the Pacific Coast of Mexico, this tale follows young siblings Dylan and Andrea as they embark on a search for lost pirate treasure left centuries ago by Francis Drake. Guided by their own intelligence and curiosity, the children chart the limestone islands off the coast, and find something much more valuable than a treasure chest. A sweet and optimistic film from Mexico’s best-known female director.
Sunday, March 31, 2:00pm Harkins Tucson Spectrum 18. Family. Mexico, 2017, 95 min.
Mexican Cinema Under Neoliberalism: A Conversation with Filmmaker Carlos Rossini on the Intersection of Film and Politics in the 21st Century
Mexico is currently going through a profound political transformation. Last year's crushing electoral win of Andrés Manuel López Obrador as the new president of Mexico signaled the end of an era marked by neoliberalism policies that were implanted in Mexico since the eighties. Join us for a conversation with director-producer Carlos Rossini (The Chambermaid, The Mayor) on the intersection of Mexican cinema and politics in the new century, how neoliberalist policies shaped the narratives and modes of production south of the border, and what is currently at stake in Mexican cinema with the change in the federal government.
Sunday, March 31, 11:00 a.m. Tucson Museum of Art.
All film descriptions courtesy of Tucson Cine Mexico.