With a wreath at the foot of the Ariel sculpture in the Churubusco Studios, the filmmaker Felipe Cazals, who died on October 16 after losing the battle against esophageal cancer, a fundamental figure for this new vertex of Mexican cinema, received a public posthumous tribute this Thursday afternoon, attended by members of the country’s film and cultural community.
Actresses Red mary, Diana Bracho and the actor Damian Alcazar; the filmmakers Jorge Fons and Juan Antonio de la Riva, the civil servants Alejandra Frausto Guerrero, Federal Secretary of Culture, and Maria Novaro Penalosa, director of Mexican Institute of Cinematography (Imcine), took part in the solemn ceremony.
In the front row was the widow, Rosa Eugenia Báez, her sister Patricia Cazals, among other relatives of the winner of five Ariel Awards and nominated 11 times, as well as awarded the Ariel de Oro in recognition of his entire career.
There were several occasions in which ovations were heard for Felipe Cazals. The community gathered there spoke volumes about the director’s generosity, both humanly and professionally, and gave evidence of the repeated significance of his film legacy.
“Felipe always said that life was the others. And yes, he was able to make the movies that he did thanks to all of you, his friends, his producers, the actors and actresses, his assistants who loved him so much. His life was the Mexican cinema and his friends. He had no family, his family was the Mexican cinema ”, declared the widow.
“Felipe Cazals achieved the true path of the artists, he achieved freedom and that is being conquered. The most straightforward path to freedom is that of art, but it is not always easy. Felipe Cazals is the example of that creative, absolute freedom, when it comes to narrating stories in a time where freedom had to be snatched away, where you had to take risks to say what he said, the way he said it ( …) But that freedom was never fought with tremendous artistic rigor “, he declared Alejandra Frausto.
“He I did not want a tribute in Fine Artsalthough the doors were certainly open. He wanted a tribute to the foot of the Ariel, at his home, the Churubusco Studios. I didn’t want flower crowns. Here we are, director, following your instructions ”, declared the official and promised to work for the dissemination of the teacher’s work to bring his filmography to new generations. Finally, he requested a minute of applause for the director.
For his part, the director Jorge Fons, a colleague and friend from the youth of the honoree, remarked that Cazals was a founder along with Arturo Ripstein and other colleagues of the Independent Cinema group of Mexico. “There he made his first two feature films: ‘The apple of discord’ and ‘Familiaridades’. He also produced a short film directed by Arturo and I was an assistant. There we got to know each other a little more. The year 70 arrived and the doors of the union were opened, we all entered one by one. Felipe made it big, with a very important film, a historical blockbuster, about the life of Emiliano Zapata ”, he recalled.
The actress Red mary, who worked with him on the tapes “El apando”, “Las Poquianchis”, “Bajo la matralla” and “Las inocentes”, evoked him as that director who on set proclaimed: “Shut up!”, made the atmosphere “ something like that of a ritual ”and it went very well with the rigor that is evident in all his filmography.
“Somehow those for whom you worked are also here. Those who are also all over the country and to whom with your films you put a mirror in front of them so that they could see themselves as they are (…) the fanaticism, degradation, corruption, hopelessness, arbitrariness, the dangers of delirium of power, as well such as ideological sectarianism are a taste of what you denounce without hesitation, “added Rojo. “I assure you that many actors achieve our best work with you.”
The ceremony concluded with the delivery of the Director’s Gold Medal of Merit to the widow, on behalf of the deceased, by the Mexican Society of Directors, which, due to the outbreak of the pandemic, could not be delivered while alive.