Setting out across the mountain range of contemporary Mexican cinema, we come across so many different peaks worth studying. It is a free cinema. An experimental cinema. A cinema that reaches into everyday lives and recovers the vitality of even the smallest moment.


Defining a national cinema is not an easy task. And taking the temperature of the Mexican filmmaking scene is more of a challenge than most, especially when you add foreign artists—who study the country from a foreign point-of-view—into an already mercurial mix. None of which is to say that the task is impossible. What you can find in the recent Mexican cinema is virtually unparalleled anywhere in the world. Celebrating the range of the country's cinema itself is an extremely powerful gesture: in doing so, we see not merely the diversity of the talent but also the sheer abundance of actual methods and approaches for producing and shaping documentary images.

We could all learn a little from Mexico and its movies. A survey of the titles in our selection alone, which is designed to give a sense of the work of artists young and old, turn up a wide variety of possibilities for what documentary filmmaking can be. Naturalistic. Experiential. Structuralist. Bombastic. Subjective. Straining for the "objective" ideal. And so on. In the rich world of independent filmmaking there, each film has its own uniqueness, that special spice that sets it apart. That one-of-a-kind quality, like a rare jewel uncovered in a region known for those kinds of discoveries, upends the dominant view of Mexico from the outside. That's a well-worn and caricatured Mexico, familiar from so many bad cop shows and overinflated gangland dramas.

This is not that Mexico, often a rote media construction. This is a full Mexican panorama.

Selected Films is powered by Doc Alliance, a creative partnership of 7 key European documentary film festivals. Our aim is to advance the documentary genre, support its diversity and promote quality creative documentary films.

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