carisjj (carisjj) wrote in ohnotheydidnt,
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Mexican film awarded @Venice Film Festival sparks controversy over racists and classist undertones

Last month, Mexican director Michel Franco won the Silver Lion Grand Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival for its latest film "New Order", which is described as a "dystopian drama" set in Mexico City. The film hit Mexican screens on October 22nd, but its trailer (released two weeks before) had already sparked a long debate on Twitter among many activists and overall users, who argued that the movie was playing right into the most rising fear coming from Mexico's elite: poor, brown and resentful protesters violently taking away their possessions and causing the type of chaos that leads the way to a dictatorship.



The director addressed this controversy at a press conference by saying that we should all watch the movie before judging it, because he was actually trying to make people aware of the deep inequality and racism in our society through the film. But he also claimed that those who use the word "whitexican" -a term coined to describe Mexicans who worship the lifestyle of white people abroad while displaying classism/racism in their own country, are being "deeply racists, too". Because you know, reverse racism and all that jazz. His answer only sparked more backlash and he was forced to "apologize" for not understanding what the word was really about (he should have just sat there and ate his food tbh).

The release of the movie along with the controversy takes place in times where class struggle in Mexico is more visible than it's been for the longest time, especially now that right-wing voices are raising to claim that the current president, along with left-wing protests such as feminist marchs, are dividing the country and making people resent the white and rich for no reason.


"I just watched New Order. You have no idea, it changed my life. It's a painful movie but so necessary, man!"

The film has recieved a fair share of rave reviews from international press. Most of them praised its style and bold approach to harsh realities, some of them called it "terrifyingly riveting", Franco's best work or simply a "masterpiece". Some apparently even touted it as the Mexican "Parasite" (they at least now share the same USA distributor Neon). However, critics in Mexico have not been equally kind to the film, and most local reviewers have ripped it to pieces, claiming that its director has failed to present a multi-layered story, developing only the perspective of the privileged group and focusing on gratuitous violence, which ultimately can send a dangerous message to people who already criminalize protesters.

One film critic highlighted the main points against the movie in the following Twitter thread:









There's one reviewer who was quoted as one of the few international voices who didn't praise it, calling it instead "a grossly tone deaf bloodbath". Here's part of her text:

Franco’s camera also asks us to sympathize with the rich white characters’ victimhood instead of with the working class [...] The protestors are completely dehumanized: they are just grunting voices, their faces kept out of focus at the side of the frame. Meanwhile, the white victims’ faces are centre frame, where we’re asked to witness their pain and fear at the hands of faceless monsters. Franco can not imagine the protestors as actual people, even though they are apparently doing all of this out of a desire for better human rights.

Full review over here.

The controversy is still going on social media, even more now that the film is out, but many have already pointed out that it may actually drive people to watch the movie and will end up helping its box office numbers. We shall see (or not).



Here's the international trailer for the film:



Sources:

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ONTD: do you wanna eat the rich?
Tags: film - festival, film - foreign, latino celebrities, race / racism
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