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Morelia Film Festival 11 Offers Mexico at Its Most Deluxe, from 'Gravidad' to Tarantino

Thompson on Hollywood By Meredith Brody | Thompson on Hollywood October 22, 2013 at 12:38PM

At the Morelia Film festival, Tarantino will present three of his favorite 60s and 70s cult films: "Blue," (1968) by Silvio Narrizano, starring Terence Stamp and Joanna Pettet; "Shark!," 1969, by Samuel Fuller, starring Burt Reynolds; and "Mary, Mary, Bloody Mary," (1975), by Juan Lopez Moctezuma, starring Cristina Ferrare.
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In line afterwards, I run into John Powers of "Vogue," his novelist wife Sandi Tan, programmer Lucy Virgen from Guadalajara, filmmaker Nicolas Philibert, Alissa Simon of Variety and the Palm Springs Festival, and a number of other festival regulars, all of whom seem to be going to "A los ojos," ("Through the eyes") a grim-sounding Mexican feature about a mother searching to find corneas illegally for her son. 

I'm almost tempted to change my plans, in that random film festival way, but luckily I stick to the idea of seeing a strange-sounding 1952 documentary about flamenco, "Duende e mystery de flamenco,"  by an unknown-to-me filmmaker, Edgar Neville. Within minutes of the film starting, I am transported to that place of bliss where one is seeing something beautiful, strange, and entirely original.  The film features extraordinary performances of singing and dance, shot all over Spain in picturesque locations, in intense, heightened, almost painful colors.  I am enraptured.  I want to own this movie. It's an amazing document that reminds me that there are still many wonderful discoveries to be made.  Thank you, Morelia!

Afterwards I am torn between "Con le pata quebrada," ("Barefoot in the Kitchen"), a documentary about the portrayal of women in Spanish cinema, which seems like pure pleasure, and Nicolas Philibert's "La maison de la radio," about 24 hours in the life of Radio France, which also seems like pure pleasure.  I choose the later, and am incredibly moved in a way I do not expect by the prtrayal of the diverse characters who produce the radio programming.  As Philibert says during the q-and-a afterwards, it's the human comedy.

I could see Bruno Dumont's "Camille Claudel 1915" right after, but I decide to stop pushing my luck on the five hours' sleep I had the night before (plus factoring in the law of diminishing returns with Dumont's work), and instead decide to try one of the restaurant recommendations, San Miguelito.  Lucy Virgen and I hope into a cab -- Mr. Toad's wild ride -- only to discover the restaurant is closed.  We return to the center, chastened, and have a hotel dinner that is also chastening.

But we do have the imminent arrival of Quentin Tarantino to look forward to.  His visit to Morelia was not announced before the festival opening, and no one that I talk to in the press office today seems to know what he'll be presenting.  Ensconced in my hotel room, kept awake by music from the nightclub above and gunshots from the outdoor screening of "Vera Cruz" in the square below, I'm finally reading the 250-page catalogue (which apparently no one in the press office has gotten around to doing). I find that he'll be presenting three of his favorite 60s and 70s cult films: "Blue," (1968) by Silvio Narrizano, starring Terence Stamp and Joanna Pettet; "Shark!," 1969, by Samuel Fuller, starring Burt Reynolds; and "Mary, Mary, Bloody Mary," (1975), by Juan Lopez Moctezuma, starring Cristina Ferrare.  I plan to be in attendance at all three. Happy dreams!

Morelia Film Festival
Morelia Film Festival

This article is related to: Festivals, Quentin Tarantino, Quentin Tarantino


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.