August 5, 2021

Alfonso Cuarón denounces the "perverse relationship" between class and race in Mexico

Alfonso Cuarón denounces the "perverse relationship" between class and race in Mexico

Oscar-winning Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón grew up in a wealthy family in a downtown district of Mexico City. At 56, he has returned to his native country, where many things have changed except the "perverse relationship" between class and race that he observed during his childhood.

The film "Roma", which marks the return of Cuarón to Mexico after 16 years without filming in the country, is an autobiographical film based on the director's memories of the Mexico of the seventies, as well as the role of women, the domestic staff and indigenous people.

"This film forced me to live Mexico once more, because it is very different to come and visit it than to experience it, which means confronting me with a new Mexico that contradicts my memory," Cuarón tells Efe on the occasion of the presentation of the film.

The objective of the film is "to explore part of the mosaic that Mexicans are, but above all, this perverse relationship that exists in our country between class and race," says Cuarón, who has resided abroad for decades.

And, despite the transformations that the country has experienced, Cuarón says forcefully that racism in Mexico "has not improved at all" and that "not only the stereotypes but also the negative attitudes" towards the indigenous people and the domestic staff

"It is the perverse relationship between the Mexico of class and race," denounces the director, who reproaches that "the mestizo, white and Creole Mexican loves to say that it is not racist", although that "is not true".

"It justifies you that (the attitude) is classist instead of racist, as if that were justifiable," the director emphatically declares, convinced that "it is enough to walk through the streets to check" racism.

Cuarón believes that the political and social "moments of transformation" experienced by Mexico have to go through self-criticism. "In the same way that we point out the injustice of the United States Government with our migrants, we must point out the injustices of our country towards the migrants who cross our border," he says.

In spite of everything, Cuarón has found in his return a well of hope: "Between the Mexico that I lived and the current one, the great impulse that the new generations have is unquestionable, it is something that fills me with illusion", he affirms.

With almost two years of work, "Roma" is the film with the longest shoot of its entire repertoire, in which "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" (2004) and "Gravity" (2013), winner of the Oscar, stand out. to a better film, with which Cuarón became the first Mexican awarded with the best director statuette.

The need to make a film about the Mexico in which he lived his childhood had two fronts: on the one hand "trying to understand the personal transformations" experienced by Cuarón, as well as the relationship he had with his country.

"It's a movie where the main character is, on the one hand, a domestic worker, which is the representation of one of the characters in my life that I love the most, but at the same time it's a movie about the country," he says.

And it is that "Rome", name of the neighborhood in which he grew up, "does not deal with characters with a country in the background", but that Mexico is the main protagonist.

For this reason, Cuarón had to reproduce episodes in the streets of Mexico City that marked an era, such as the massacre of the Halconazo, perpetrated on June 10, 1971 by a group of paramilitaries against a student demonstration demanding political liberties.

The filmmaker confesses "very happy" for the fact that his film, in which non-professional actors participate, is invited to film festivals such as the 75 Mostra of Venice, where "Rome" took the Golden Lion.

It is also "full of pride" for the recognitions that the Mexican cinema receives abroad, such as the three Oscars for best director delivered to Cuarón (2013), Alejandro González Iñárritu (2015) and Guillermo del Toro (2017), known in Mexico as "the three friends".

But he said that "it is time to turn to the internal pride" of Mexicans: "It is important to start looking at the people who do a great job in Mexico," he concluded.


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