‘The Faber Book Of Mexican Cinema’ by Jason Wood, is an updated version of the original first issue of 2006. Therefore this volume includes very recent interviews with many contemporary Mexican film directors and screenwriters, both male and female who have found their niche in the globally accepted film making of Mexico over the last few years.
The book really begins with a telling of Mexican film history, from the pioneering days of the silent film era, through any number of political stops and starts in artistic finance, right through to feature films, that despite their successful popularity still suffered the controlling influences of state intervention. It cannot have been an easy task to pursue one’s ideal of filmmaking, whilst simultaneously being pulled in a myriad of directions by this sponsor, or that sponsor, to say nothing of the censorship within a robust Roman Catholic background.
We are then served several high calibre film backgrounds, as we are regaled with personal narratives from the writers, the cameramen, and the actors, who give us a thorough telling of how these film’s came about. This makes for a very interesting learning curve for the reader, if pursuing an in depth analysis of Mexican Cinema. I confess to not actually knowing of any of the mentioned characters, although the films are known to me through the grapevine. Films such as ‘Cronos’, which brings another telling of the ‘Vampire’ genre, or perhaps another film entitled ’21 Grams’, a mysterious theoretical story about a 21 Gram weight loss when a person becomes deceased. These films all made the global market place, and gained various awards as a result. This led inexorably to more involvement with other film making productions for the Mexican involved cineastes. Reference their individual involvement in the ‘Harry Potter’ franchise, or ‘Revenant’ and so on.
The latter half of the book entails many one to one interviews with assorted screenwriters and directors; again their names more or less pass me by, but are strongly eminent in the filmmaking world.
Yes, the book is seriously written by Jason Wood to better explain how Mexican cinema is at last, making inroads within the global market, both artistically, financially albeit on a modest basis, screenwriting, acting, site settings, and choice of viewing. Explaining the fickleness of the audience for Mexican films is sometimes damaged by religious fervour, or political involvement, or simply too far ahead of the populace education standards.
It does make for an interesting book for the fan of the cinema, and in this case, the Mexican Cinema. I now keep a look out for film copies to see myself.
Review by Reg Seward
Published by Faber & Faber; Main edition (3 Jun. 2021)
Paperback, ISBN 978-0571353774