For its fifth edition, the organizers of the Phoenix Awards they chose to place on the stage a gigantic scaffolding. The object, which kept the orchestra of the night between its levels, could represent the current moment of the Latin American film industry: a work under construction. The creators of the region have known how to raise their voice beyond the obstacles imposed on them, such as cuts to cultural aid, the difficulties of conquering audiences and distribution channels and, more recently, the rise of the right in some countries. Despite this, Ibero-American filmmakers have come together to celebrate the vital momentum of their stories on a night that gave a surprising triumph to Summer birds, the Colombian film directed by Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra.
The women have been protagonists in a gala that has claimed the thriving movement in favor of abortion in Argentina. Hundreds of green scarves with the legend "legal abortion not to die", the attendees of the ceremony in the heart of Mexico City were given a gift. The color illuminated the theater of the City after the Chilean rapper Ana Tijoux sang Antipatriarca. "I'm not going to be the one that obeys because my body belongs to me, I decide my time as I want and where I want," sang Tijoux accompanied by the Mexican Jessi Bulbo. The gesture has united a combative sector in favor of the freedoms of women at a time that prepares new legislative battles in countries in the area, such as Mexico.
Summer Birds has become the big winner of the night in a ceremony that was shaping up to consolidate the legend of Lucrecia Martel as the great figure of independent Latin American cinema. But the Argentine production, which has the support of Pedro Almodóvar, only stayed with technical awards: photography, art design, sound and editing. The most important prize of the night has gone to the hands of two filmmakers who know well the scenario of the Phoenix: the Colombians Guerra and Gallego. The creative couple picked up the prize for best feature film here three years ago The snake's embrace.
The film, a co-production with Mexico, Denmark and France, recounts the origin of drug trafficking in Colombia at the end of the 1960s. The directors focused on how the boom in demand for the marimba (marijuana) in the United States breaks down the dynamics of the Wayú village in the Guajira region, in the Colombian Caribbean. The struggle of two families for the contact to send the yerba to the north escalates the violence in an area dominated by uses and customs. Carmiñe Martínez, an actress of this ethnic group, also won the award for her performance as the matriarch of the clan. "This is a prize for powerful women, it is an acknowledgment to a matriarchal society that has very strong women in many aspects," said the director when thanking her egg.
Young actor Lorenzo Ferrero, 19, got the Phoenix for best actor for his performance in The Angel, a movie about Carlos Robledo Puch, the most famous multi-spanish of Argentina. With adolescent self-confidence, Ferrero took the stage dressed in a black suit that had a white X crossed over his chest, asked Paz Vega to hold his prize, thanked the comrades who traveled to Mexico "for the endurance." And he released a brief epithet taking advantage of what was in Mexican lands: "Fuck Trump!".
In a lustrum, the Phoenix have revealed the cinema in several countries and discovered little-explored regions. On this occasion it was the turn of Paraguay, a country in the heart of South America that only premiered three national films in 2018. One of them, The Heirs, It has been a success at festivals narrating the story of Chela and Chiquita, a lesbian couple living in the suffocating conservative climate of the well-to-do class of Asunción. Its director, Marcelo Martinessi, has won the award for best director with his debut film. In a few days, he has become one of the figures to follow after receiving a Netflix recognition for his promising career. On stage, the director dedicated the award to those artists who could not film in their country "because of authoritarianism and barbarism" during the dictatorship of Alfredo Stroessner.
Netflix and Fox share the awards of series
The Phoenix awarded the series for the second consecutive year. If in 2017 it was suspect to more than one that Netflix has swept the categories in an event in which he was a sponsor, now there was a distribution close to a decision ex aequo of the jury of Cinema 23. The paper house, the phenomenon about a blow to the money factory in Spain became a worldwide event. Now, the Latin American filmmakers have endorsed the phenomenon of this production to name the series of the year.
Here in the earth, a fiction about political corruption in Mexico, by Fox, was the only recognition for Mexico in prizes where this country tends to go empty-handed. The series obtained better acting ensemble, a category that sounds more like a consolation prize, but which connected with the locals when gathering on stage famous actors such as Gael García Bernal, Daniel Giménez Cacho, Tenoch Huerta, Sofía Sisniega and Alfonso Dosal.
Giménez Cacho took advantage of the award to say a proud chilango, because the Mexican capital has welcomed the migrant caravan of Hondurans on their way to the north. "This city, by law, is a refuge, it is obliged to treat them with dignity, it is a moment where the authority and civil society must work together.
In a region hit by violence and poverty, it was Martinessi who summed up one of the few things that do not suffer in this region of the planet. "Latin American cinema does not lack anything," he said.