48TH THESSALONIKI FILM FESTIVAL
November 16-25 2007
DIEGO LUNA – PABLO CRUZ
Upcoming Mexican actor Diego Luna, who is visiting the 48th Thessaloniki Film Festival as director of J.C. Chavez and producer Pablo Cruz presented a masterclass on Wednesday, November 21st at the John Cassavetes theatre. Diego Luna and Pablo Cruz took the audience on a journey through the world of their independent production company, Canana Films, and they also spoke about the Ambulante Festival. Georges Corrafce, the President of the Thessaloniki Film Festival welcomed them saying “now everyone’s eyes are on Mexico”.
Diego Luna revealed that Canana is “a belt that Mexican rebels wore”. Regarding why they decided to start a production company, Luna said: “I complained about the production companies for five years. Before I became involved with cinema, I was also part of the audience. Furthermore, for many years much of my country’s cinema was by old people. They were far from the young generation, they didn’t reach out to them. We want a cinema that portrays reality. To make films that appeal to everyone. So, we decided to stay in Mexico, to be able to live, to breath and to perceive the real Mexico”.
Pablo Cruz added that: “We live in a country that has a population of 110 million. Everything is criticized, politics, even our own national identity. Instead of growing, cinema is shrinking. Television has nothing to offer so it is in our hands to do everything we can to get the message across. The only reflection of what really goes on in Mexico, is cinema. We want to attack television with our company and create free cinema”. Diego Luna added that the audience mimics Americans and only watches English-speaking films. “Cinema should not have any passport nor should it be associated with nationality. Cinema is about good stories, stories that speak about human behavior, an element which doesn’t require a particular language to be expressed in. Cinema is the personal perspective of an individual who wants to tell a story”, he said.
In a question regarding whether Mexicans’ opinion about their domestic cinema has changed, Pablo Cruz noted: “Usually, the Mexican films that are presented and awarded abroad in festivals are never distributed in Mexican theatres. A recent example is the film Violin, which has the right make-up for not getting distribution. It contains no sex, it’s shot in black and white, its long and the protagonist is a quiet old man. We took a risk to distribute it on our own, but in the end the audience showed up in great numbers and we made record sales in the Mexican box-office”.
Regarding the Ambulante festival, Luna noted that it was originally planned as a touring documentary festival, which would visit 15 different Mexican cities for a week each. Cruz said that: “it’s a beautiful experiment to be able to talk to rural Mexico about the world, and to watch their reactions. The documentaries are screened everywhere, in prisons, squares, universities. It’s very difficult since it hasn’t been done before, so we are forced to discover new things on a daily basis. I hope that at some point we can also visit the Thessaloniki Film Festival with Ambulante”.
Regarding the power of the language of cinema, Diego Luna said: “the power of cinema is the images that can stay with you forever. This is not poetry, but an image. People mostly remember me from Y tu mamá también but they don’t think about the language I played in. Regardless, the more sincere you are with your work, the more you are appreciated by the audience”.
In a question concerning how he deals with sex scenes, Luna explained that “Acting is a way to show your emotional and physical make-up. When you take your clothes off in front of the camera, it’s like jumping in a pool of cold water. If you wait too long, you might never jump but if you jump right away, then you might swim longer than you had expected. Sex in cinema is far from real sex. One of the first things you learn as an actor is to do things with your body that look believable. If you want to talk about a generation, you have to talk about sex too”.