November 24, 2009 § Leave a comment
In her latest feature film, Eva López-Sánchez takes us along with three 20-year-olds on a Friday night in Mexico City. Each gets pulled into a different party crowd throughout the film, away from the safety of their bodyguards and parents.
La Ultima y Nos Vamos (One for the Road) made its public debut at the 23rd Annual Guadalajara International Film Festival and its California debut in the Bay Area. The filmmaker attended three Bay Area screenings to entertain Q&A.
“It’s a take on Mexico that isn’t seen by American audiences,” says López-Sánchez. “You’ve only seen a violent and corrupt Mexico City. My film showcases the music and lifeblood of our Friday nights. We’ve all had one of them, thinking ‘what am I doing here?’ Meeting with people who we wouldn’t regularly meet with, the story is universal.”
La Ultima y Nos Vamos toured cinemas in the U.S., France and Mexico before its release onto DVD.
“I love the film. I love how you captured a bird’s eye view of Mexico City in your intro and your soundtrack speaks to me,” an audience member said in San Jose. “I grew up in Mexico City and your film took me back home.”
“We took six flights over the city, shooting various districts. It’s Mexico City today with its mix of cultural influences.” She filmed the capitol, nightlife, and the dark alleys like only a native could. “The city is full of surprises. I can be anywhere in the city at any time of day or night and still discover a new amazing neighborhood jewel.”
The audience at the Lumiere Theatre in San Francisco responded, “What inspired you to make this film? ”
“My son came to me with an incredible story line about these kids ending up with completely different crowds – in neighborhoods they shouldn’t have been in.” The film explores how people relate with others who are completely different and “can find something human. It’s about relating despite our differences.”
Her writing process
“I told my son to write it all down and we’d make a movie out of it. He told me, ‘I don’t know how to write a film.’ So I told him to write what ever he could and to write it in the first person and I would help him with the rest.”
She attended Mexico City’s Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica, has made six full length films and several short films since. Her directorial debut was with Francisca, a political period drama that looks at Mexico City’s Tlalteloco massacre of 1968, where hundreds of student protesters were killed. Her first three films were documentaries and the latest works have been feature films.
“I didn’t want to write this film because I would write it with all of my experience- through my old eyes. I wanted a fresh perspective. I wanted his young eyes to tell the story.” He brought her the story on eight handwritten pages. “It was fresh and it was fun.”
During a radio interview, Margarita of San Francisco’s Pirate Cat Radio mentions that films from Latin America often emulate their European influences instead of portraying Indo Latinos the way La Ultima y Nos Vamos does.
“The characters have different backgrounds, but they’re tied together by predominant cultural influences. They’re very Mexican in character. They use Mexicanisms. They share Mexican music roots.”
Music in the film complemented each character’s personality. “As a filmmaker, you have to be in the know. I have a network of different artists that keep me up to date with their latest work.” Among the artists are MC Luca a hip-hop artist and Big Metra. “Niña Dioz is a reggae artist who wrote Criminal Sound specifically for the film. She’s from Monterrey, Mexico and is only 20 years old.”
The film’s instrumental music, which is also known as the score, was a collaboration between López-Sánchez and Renato y Ramiro del Real who are well known music production artists from Mexico City. La Ultima y Nos Vamosis is their second feature film project.
“Film is important because it’s a universal way to communicate facts of life and human nature. You can have the notion of an experience, but by watching it play out on film you can live that experience almost first hand. Film resonates with you and affects you the way that no other medium can.”