The historic Teatro Fru Fru in downtown Mexico City was sold out Thursday night for the opening of MICGénero, the annual international film festival “with a gender perspective.”
The opening film Paulina (La Patota), is a 2015 film produced in Argentina. Paulina is a young lawyer who moves back to her hometown of Posadas, Argentina, to work in a school in a marginal neighborhood. Within weeks, she is attacked near the school and must decide how to find peace with herself and the community. Dolores Fonzi plays Paulina.
Paulina represents the complexity of gender issues, and their intersections with other systems of oppression. Paulina navigates her own morals and relationship to the legal system in a deeply personal way, to the dismay of the men close to her who attempt to help, but ultimately fail to understand. When confronted by her father, a local judge, about her actions after the attack, she says, “Whenever there are poor people involved, justice will never be served.”
Paulina will be shown again this Saturday at the Cineteca Nacional and Wednesday August 10th at Cine Tonalá in the Roma neighborhood. Paulina has Spanish audio with English subtitles.
The inaugural film was a taste of the 93 films to be presented over the next three months, produced in 30 countries, which take on not only gender but race, indigeneity, class, and religion.
The festival’s theme this year is Democracy and Gender, with an emphasis on the media. The festival website says, “It is urgent to recognize publicly and unequivocally that we live in a context where protest is criminalized, where speaking out is punished with murder, kidnapping and imprisonment. We have to speak up to shed our fear, to end the silence, and remember that other worlds are possible.”
This context was imminently clear during the opening remarks, when the representative of the Guerrero State Cultural Secretariat, a festival sponsor, finished speaking and the audience broke into chants of “Vivos se los llevaron” (they took them alive) to remember the 43 disappeared students from Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers College in Guerrero.
A few noteworthy films that will be shown during the festival are Ovarian Psycos, about a Mexican-American women’s bike crew in East Los Angeles; Solita (All Alone), about an Afghan refugee who turns to hiphop; and Plaza de la Soledad (Lonely Plaza), a Mexican documentary about the sex workers of the historic center of Mexico City.
The festival is divided into 11 categories, from Human Mobility and Migration, to Queer and Post-Porno, to Sexual and Reproductive Rights.
MICGénero runs in Mexico City until August 14th across 13 different theaters. The venues in Mexico City include the Cineteca Nacional in Coyoacán, Museo Memoria y Tolerancia and La Casa del Cine downtown, and Cine Tonalá and Cinemex Insurgentes in the Roma neighborhood.
From the capital, the festival travels to 11 other cities in Mexico, ending in Acapulco, Guerrero from October 25th to 30th.
The full schedule for Mexico City and the other host cities is available at micgenero.com. The selection includes many English-language films and films subtitled in English. Tickets are available at each individual venue.