Eric Ortiz Garcia Picks The Best And Worst Mexican Cinema Of 2014

Contributor; Mexico City, Mexico (@EricOrtizG)
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I watched as many Mexican films as possible this year and still couldn't make a top 10 of favorites. Some of the Mexican movies that were acclaimed in 2014 (Workers and The Naked Room, for example) were 2013 for me; others were technically impeccable but I just didn't love them (I'm talking particularly of Güeros). This is, after all, a subjective selection; so personal that it only includes six great titles. 

On the other hand, I was hesitant to make a list highlighting the worst of the year. Maybe is pointless, but when it comes to Mexican cinema, 2014 was such a bad year in my mind that I just needed to say so. It was extremely easy to think in 15 awful movies and they could have been more. I didn't watch, for instance, the Juan Gabriel musical ¿Qué le Dijiste a Dios?, which was destroyed by the critics to the point that the director herself began insulting people who didn't like her film on Twitter. 

When it comes to the industry itself, Mexican movies did all right at the box office. Not as great as in 2013, obviously, but four titles surpassed the $100 million pesos barrier. (You can read more about the top grossing Mexican films of the year here). In the international festival circuit, the most important film that Mexico had was Güeros, which won at Berlin, Tribeca, and several others. The victory of Navajazo at Locarno was very relevant as well. 

But without more prelude, you can find my personal picks for the best and the worst of Mexican cinema in the gallery below.

The Best

6. PERFECT OBEDIENCE (dir. Luis Urquiza)

Perfect Obedience (Obediencia Perfecta) is based on a very famous Mexican priest, named Marcial Maciel, who was accused of molesting children.

The film is told from the perspective of a little kid who’s one of the new students of the Maciel-founded organization that teaches what you need to know in order to “save souls” as a preacher. At times it feels like any social realism work about the school system, but it’s eventually a study of the “perfect obedience” term, presenting several imperfect facets until the kid is totally surrendered to his mentor.

While we get to see how the priests educate the children by warning them about such temptations as women - as well as other sins - the picture exposes the life full of excesses (women, alcohol, heroin, and the Rolling Stones’ music) of father Ángel de la Cruz (the equivalent of Maciel, superbly played by Juan Manuel Bernal). The church’s double moral, indeed.

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Around the Internet

Pato AguirreDecember 30, 2014 1:45 PM

I
always hesitate to go and watch a Mexican Film. (to a theater) Most of the
times I get out annoyed and in a bad mood. You are right, is difficult to find
a top 10 in one year, and pointless to choose the 10 worst. I produced a
Feature, low budget, all in Mexico (Queretaro). It is finished. We went to some
festivals (not the big ones) and got two awards, best photography and best
feature film (in N.Y. and L.A.). Up to now, we don’t have distribution, neither
theater release, neither in Mexico or any other part of the world. Some
distributors where interested in the film, but offers where not attractive to
me. By the way the name of the feature is SILENCIO. Even it is not a
masterpiece, I do know it is a good film, with many positive aspects, and also
some narrative problems due to its surreal structure. But I have seen a few
Mexican films this year that just shouldn't be on the big screen, and that are
not better films than the one I produced. It is not fare, it is bizarre, and
very disappointing to see your film out and other ones in just because they are
supposed to make money. I feel angry? Yes. Frustrated? Yes, sometimes.
Disappointed? Yes. Want to go and see more Mexican Cinema? I don't think
so. Will do another film? Absolutely Yes. The fight must go on. Just in
case you are curious, this is the link to the film, you can read all the
information there and watch the trailer. www.silenciothemovie.mx
If you feel like watching it, I will send you the Vimeo Link, and hopefully you
will add it to your 2014 top ten. Thanks. Manuel Aguirre.

Eric OrtizDecember 30, 2014 4:10 PM

hey man, thanks for writing. I'm definitely interested in watching the film, though I'm not sure if we can run a review if the film is not playing somewhere. Is it going to be screened at a festival again in 2015? And sorry to hear yet another story of the hell that distribution is.