Rebellious Mexican filmmakers follow in Inarritu's wake

Sat Feb 21, 2015 10:44am EST
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By Michael O'Boyle

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - A new wave of Mexican filmmakers is following in the wake of the success of Alejandro G. Inarritu, bent on breaking Hollywood convention and making daring movies with high-profile actors.

Inarritu's "Birdman" garnered nine Academy Awards nominations including best picture, best director and best actor, and follows fellow Mexican Alfonso Cuaron's best director win last year with space thriller "Gravity," a first for a Latin American filmmaker.

Inarritu, Cuaron and fellow "Three Amigos" director Guillermo del Toro began their careers in the 1990s when the domestic film industry was practically dead and they left Mexico to make the climb to global fame.

"We were very lucky to have the possibility to be fed by European filmmakers, by some American filmmakers ... cinema of the world," Inarritu said. "Mexico is still an incredible fountain of culture, but cinematically speaking ... 20 years ago, it was horrible."

The trio managed to maintain control over their iconoclastic film projects within the Hollywood system, raising Mexico's profile as they made both big blockbusters such as Cuaron's "Gravity" or del Toro's "Pacific Rim," and more personal, lower-budget projects such as Inarritu's "Birdman."

Mexican film production has surged from 28 films in 2000 to 130 last year, according to industry group Canacine. But top new talents are not looking to make it in Hollywood.

This year will see new films from Gerardo Naranjo and Michel Franco, two of the most notable rebels among Mexico's growing ranks of directors who have cast aside studio formulas.

This new generation grew up in a rapidly globalizing Mexico following the opening of the country's closed economy in the 1990s and the end of authoritarian one-party rule in 2000.   Continued...

Mexican film director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu poses for a portrait while promoting his upcoming movie "Birdman" in Los Angeles, California in this  December 16, 2014 file picture.  REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/Files