This year marks the eight year of the Hola Mexico Film Festival in Australia, and it was quite a spectacle to behold. The opening night film, Nosotros Los Nobles, (We Are The Nobles), was light-hearted and well suited to the feel of the Festival, and the overall atmosphere of the night was extremely positive.
The night started with speeches from people involved in the organisation of the Festival, giving us a background of the Festival, Mexican cinema, as well as the very positive state of Mexican cinema in 2013. Special mention did go out to Mexican directors Guillermo del Toro and Alfonso Cuarón, the directors responsible for Pacific Rim and Gravity respectively, two of the biggest films of the year. There was also a raffle for a chance to win a dinner for two at Los Amates Mexican Kitchen, one of the sponsors of the event, as well as a second prize of a salsa set, but unfortunately, this reviewer did not win either (despite coming tantalisingly close).
The movie itself was excellent; it was easy to see why it both did so well in Mexico and why it was chosen to open this year’s Festival. The film is about a rich property mogul and engineer, Germán Noble (Gonzalo Vega), who discovers that his children are spoiled beyond belief. Deciding to take matters into his own hands, he fabricates a bankruptcy, and intends to make his ungrateful children do something none of them have ever done before: work. Funny and heartwarming, the film is essentially about family and how to appreciate what you have instead of being obsessed with the past. The dialogue was quite clever, and swung between funny and witty, to tense, and then to heart warming, all over the space of several scenes. The story was simple, but had enough twists to keep it interesting, and it never felt directionless or slow.
The characters were what made the film truly enjoyable though. The children are all spoiled, and start off being as appalling as possible, each showing different forms of that ungrateful and spend-a-holic attitude: the daughter, Bárbara (Karla Souza), with conspicuous spending and an ungrateful attitude towards the less well-off, the elder son, Javier (Luis Gerardo Méndez), with his ridiculous and wasteful business ventures, and the younger son Carlos (Juan Pablo Gil) living in a hypocritical faux-Buddhist-come-Socialist playboy lifestyle at university. The father is shown to be well rounded – he is more than just a moral figure, he has flaws himself. Although he is right in his judgement of his ungrateful children, it is shown he too is too attached to his wife’s death, and his absentee father status helped create his children’s attitudes. Bárbara’s love interests are also a source of great humour and drama. Her fiance Peter (Carlos Gascón) is a conniving gold-digger who the audience loved to hate. On the other hand, the family’s nanny’s son Lucho (Ianis Guerrero) is a salt-of-the-earth type character who works several jobs, and despite being the opposite of Peter, slowly wins Bárbara over.
Altogether, the film was a stunning example of Mexican film, with warmth, humour and heart.
After the film, guests were invited to attend a ‘Fiesta’ to celebrate the launch. With free shots of fine quality mezcal (to be consumed in a civilised fashion), beers from the sponsor Sol, and an excellent range of Mexican nibbles from sponsor Los Amates Mexican Kitchen, it was a veritable feast. On top of the excellent food and drinks available, there was a live band which played a mixture of old rock and roll tunes, 60’s pop and general upbeat songs, which helped give the party its festive atmosphere and contributed to the Fiesta being an excellent finale to the Opening Night of the Mexican Film Festival.
The Hola Mexico Film Festival will be in Melbourne until the 29th of October, and will be heading to Sydney, Adelaide and Perth in the coming weeks. For more information, head over to: http://www.holamexicoff.com. Each movie will only play once, so be quick!