Starting today, on national screens you can see Box (Mexico-Venezuela-USA), the most recent film by the Venezuelan Lorenzo Beamswith which he closes a cinematographic triptych begun in 2004 with elephants never forget.
“This is the end of a trilogy that I developed on this subject, and I am very happy that I can film the end of the trilogy here in Mexico, a country where I arrived 20 years ago, where I became a film director.”, comments the filmmaker. “I came here with the dream of becoming a film director, and here I managed to move forward with my career, so I am very happy to be able to close my trilogy here in Mexico.”
beams see this conclusion as an important closure of a cycle. “I feel that I have reached the culmination of a stage of my work, and I feel relieved actually. Happy and relieved to have been able to talk about a topic that people ask me if I had a similar topic or experience with my father. and it was not the case, because I have a very close and emotional relationship with him. But there is something that made me connect with this archetype of the absent father in Latin America, and I became obsessed, and right now I feel a great freedom to be able to continue doing other things”, he affirmed.
Likewise, the director together with the actors Hernan Mendoza Y Hatzin Navarrete (protagonists of the film) were pleased that it was finally released in the country where it was shot, after a long pilgrimage to various parts of the world. “After a long tour of festivals and some commercial premieres in other countries, it is very exciting for us that the film is finally being seen in Mexico. In general, I think it is a feeling of relief that finally, the people here can see it”, Lorenzo expressed.
“We are very happy, very excited that this movie can finally be seen here in theaters“, said hernan. “I am very happy for the film, because finally all this long process of waiting to see it is over, and that everyone can enjoy it,” he declared. Hatzin.
Filmed on location in the state of Chihuahua, it tells the story of a young man (Navarrete), who travels to that region to collect the apparent mortal remains of his father, rescued from a clandestine grave. But when he travels back, he runs into Mario (Mendoza), a man who looks a lot like his father, and tries to get close to him first to confirm his identity, and then to establish a father-like relationship. All this against the background of the world of maquiladoras, labor exploitation, and the disappearance of people.
Lorenzo Beams describes the film as “a coming-of-age. It is also like a kind of western, but where the protagonist instead of Clint Eastwood is a child, who manages to matureand he manages to become an adult through this hard and exciting story, and all the things that happen to him,” he said.
about production, beams He affirms that this was very complicated, and this fraught with various risks. “It was conceived as a very complex production, from many points of view, filmed in very harsh conditions in the state of Chihuahua, in locations far apart from each other. The maquiladora was in Ciudad Juárez, but we needed a snowstorm that for me was very important for the story, and we know that it snows in Creel, but we had to be very attentive to that snowfall. We were storm chaser. And in general it was very complex because of the great distances we had to travel, ”he described.
But the director affirms that the greatest risk was taken with Hatzin, since he was an actor with no previous experience. “I was concerned about the emotional weight that Hatzin had to bear, who at that time was much less than he is now. And that all the weight of the production, of a large team -we were almost 90 people-, was on the shoulders of a child who had never made a film in his life. He had never even been in a short film. That was also somewhat risky. But I was convinced that he was going to be a great character. And fortunately we had Hernán Mendoza, who gave Hatzin the solidity and confidence so that little by little he let go, ”he commented.
For its part, Hatzin he referred to his own experience working on this feature film. “It was a hard and somewhat difficult process, precisely because I did not have any kind of experience. Working with Lorenzo and Hernán was a very intensive process., to be working very hard with them, to be rehearsing with Lorenzo the emotions that he asked for. And just like working with Hernán that connection that I have with him to give the film that feeling of credibility” she maintained.
On the theme that the film addresses and the way it does so, Hernan Mendoza comments “For me it is a very interesting film. The search for identity. We all somehow have a box, with desires, frustrations, dreams, whatever you want. We have a box. The question is how heavy is that box? and if we have the courage to open it and see what is inside. Or to put more things, close it, and move on with our lives. And Hatzin in the box of him has a lack of a father, and we see what he’s capable of doing to get one, and whether it’s worth it or not. I think it’s a film that teaches us a lot about ourselves, as human beings who try to find ourselves in this life.”
About, beams pointed out: “What Hernán says is very true. We all have a box. And that’s kinda the movie. I am also obsessed with the issue of what are the consequences of not having a father in the house, and then how do we replace that father figure that we did not have, because in some way we have to replace him, and sometimes we run the risk of idealizing that father figure, because since we didn’t have him, he is ideal, perfect. And we run the risk of meeting a Mario or a politician -who can also be a replacement-, and we accept everything he tells us. It is a topic that I am passionate about ”he highlighted.
Regarding the social context in which the plot unfolds, Lorenzo explains “When I decided to adapt the story to Chihuahua, the issue of mass graves in northern Mexico was unavoidable. When I arrived in Mexico 20 years ago, that harsh reality of the country affected me. And this theme entered the story in a natural way. I feel that neither I nor the writers who collaborated with me – Paula Markovitch and Laura Santullo – tried not to feel imposed, but to feel naturally treated. Not overly dramatic, just the starting point of this story.”
And adds: “But if you think about it, Box in the end it is a story about identity. A boy who seeks his identity, because he does not have a father figure. But also the identity of the disappeared. And also the identity of the thousands of people who lose their identity by working in the maquiladoras. All these elements have to do with identity, and that’s why I think they don’t feel forced into the story,” he assured.
Hernan Mendoza He also expressed his opinion on the matter. “For me, this topic is very strong. As Lorenzo says, one thinks of the identity of the people in a mass grave. But the terrible thing is that the largest percentage never knows who those remains are. And that is what is truly very sad and very terrible” he reflected.
“For me it is something important to touch on these issues,” he said. Hatzin Navarrete. “And they can be just as difficult, they can be so hard, but I think they give the film that interesting part, because all those issues of disappearances, the issue with the maquila workers, revolves around the relationship that I I am carrying on with the character of Mario, and I think that Lorenzo deals very well with all these issues, which are very important to talk about,” he concluded.
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