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https://plus.google.com/107860381336457800445 Pradip Biswas : ARTURO RIPSTEIN : ARCHITECT OF MODERN MEXICAN CINEMA PRADIP BISWAS, THE INDIAN EXPRESS NEWSPAPRS, INDIA...

ARTURO RIPSTEIN : ARCHITECT OF MODERN MEXICAN CINEMA
PRADIP BISWAS, THE INDIAN EXPRESS NEWSPAPRS, INDIA

JURY MEMBER INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL AND FRIBOURG INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, SWISS



“Human ingratitude knows no limits.”
Gabriel Garcia Marquez

 


The current Mexican cinema is modestly led by Arturo Ripstein, the maestro of innovative Mexican cinema now. It is indeed somewhat a good time for Mexican cinema as the production has jumped from 24 films to nearly 70 films annually. However, this quantum leap does not always assure “quality” films in the sense numbers do not sanctify. At least this is what the director Arturo Ripstein who visited Kolkata a few years back at the invitation of the Cine Central Calcutta, the largest film Society of India, revealed to this critic in an awful shock.

Here we need to know that the very Mexican cinema got the phenomenal boost when the Spanish director Luis Bunuel came to live in Mexico during 50s and 60s. Bunuel made nearly twelve films in the country as Franco’s Spain refused him stay in his own country. And Ripstein at the formative stage of his career worked as an assistant to Bunuel. And literally Ripstein initiated the movement for good cinema against the wave of conventional Hollywood films in Mexico along with the help of Garcia Marquez and Carlos Fuentes who collaborated in Ripstein’s first film To Die (1965).

Thus widely considered Mexico's most celebrated and respected contemporary filmmaker, as well as perhaps the only director to have truly inherited Luis Buñuel's mantle, Arturo Ripstein is a legend in his own right. His films have earned both fame and flack for taking melodrama to its macabre extremes. They reflect the director's fascination -- one shared by Buñuel -- with l'amour fou and claustrophobia. Although his films have been enthusiastically received outside of Mexico in France and Spain, Ripstein is largely unknown to American audience, a fact Ripstein has not contradicted.

A true protégé, Ripstein made his directorial debut in 1965 with Tiempo De Morir /Time to Die.  A story of murder and revenge, it explored many of the themes that the director would make the trademarks of his brand of "macabre melodrama" in the years to come. The most interesting facet of the debut film is that the film's script was written by Carlos Fuentes and Nobel Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez. In an intimate session Ripstein told this critic: “I have subsequently collaborated with a number of important Latin American writers, including Joss Emilio Pancheco’s El Castillo De La Pureza /The Castle of Purity, (1974), and El Santo Oficio /Holy Office in the same year.; José Donoso El Lugar Sin Limites/Hell Has No Limits, in 1977, Vincente Leñero La Tía Alejandra /Aunt Alexandra in1978 and Luis Spota Cadena Perpetua/In For Life in the year 1978. I think the process came to enrich my directorial experience to a large extent.” 
He is rather more remorseful as he and his clan have always been treated as second-hand citizens and they seem to have acquired meaning thanks to a gaze imposed on them from outside. Said he: “When I was a young filmmaker, I realized that we were considered in different terms with respect to directors from other countries. I remember thinking: "Here, they ask you for your passport first, and then they consider your talent." You have to belong to a certain country and after that you have to prove that you can do something worthwhile. There was another cliché; European viewers expected films where...
In the 70s, Ripstein garnered mounting recognition for his films, particularly Holy Office, which was shown in competition at the 1974 Cannes Festival to high applause. The film narrates the sufferings of a Jewish family forced to flee to Mexico during the Spanish Inquisition. It may be mentioned the film drew on Ripstein's own Jewish heritage and provided a stark exploration of the claustrophobic elements and assumed identity. However, due to fund crunch for projects, Ripstein was forced to occasionally make commissioned films, such as La Ilegal/The Illegal Woman in 1979. Practically, he had to live on such commissioned films for survival in the visual medium. After directing The Realm of Fortune in 1987, which was based on a text by Juan Rolfo, he began working with his wife Paz Alicia Garciadiego, a collaboration that produced some of Ripstein's most significant films. Incidentally, one of Ripstein's more acclaimed efforts with Garciadiego was The Beginning and the End made in 1994. Based upon the novel by Nobel Prize-winning Egyptian author Naguib Mahfouz, the film has unbolted the disintegration of a family following the sudden death of the father. It won the San Sebastian Film Festival's Gold Shell award; that same year, Ripstein's The Queen of the Night (1994) was shown in competition at Cannes Festival. It presents a fictionalized biography of legendary Mexican singer Lucha Reyes and in its making he could not freeze out melodrama marked by tragedy with the authority of real-life occurrences.

Ripstein's most celebrated work is Deep Crimson made in 1996. Based upon the real-life Lonely Hearts Murders that took place in Mexico during the late 1940s, it was perhaps Ripstein's most full-blasted exploration of l'amour fou. The narrative reveals a crazy love that takes place between the film's main characters, a badly aging gigolo and an excessively overweight nurse with halitosis. The film looks rather controversial in many a way. To this Ripstein has retorted: “There's nothing like mad love: it shatters, corrupts, transforms...Nothing like mad love to break, tear down, and undo the house of social order. Nothing is more flippant, sacrilegious, or heretic. Nothing is more human." The film surprisingly won a number of awards at the Venice Film Festival and earned a Special Mention in Latin American Cinema at Sundance Festival. 

Ripstein in particular is much more concerned about the political and social climate dominating in Latin America. On this issue, Arturo Ripstein noted: “Only from a limited point of view, as it happens with Latin American literature. We are a dozen and a half countries sharing the same language; but a person from one of these countries could think that he is more like a Frenchman than Peruvian. Beyond the rigors of geography, I don't think that Latin America exists as a cinematic concept. It is very difficult to say that there is a clear parameter or a common sense of things among the films from all these countries.” He, however, believes with each day, movies resemble more and more a hegemonic model. According to him, not all of them, but those selected as the most important or determine new directions do conform to certain models. All of them share something in common and they all imitate gringo commercial films. 

In a personal mood, Ripstein told this critic: “The curve of progress to filmmaking has never been quite smooth for me as often I had to battle with the authority for crude and raw subjects tackled in my films. As my subjects are often satirical and sarcastic and make a dig at the system working in Mexixo, I often became the target of official attack for hitting hard truths.” The major breakthrough crowned him in 1997, when Ripstein was awarded the National Prize for the Arts in Mexico, becoming the only filmmaker aside from Buñuel to have received the honor. That same year, he began working on a new film, Divine, 1998). Based on actual events that took place in Mexico during the 1970s, it was a comedy of manners about a religious cult. The film was screened at Cannes. The following year, Ripstein's El Coronel No Tiene Quien Le Escriba/No One Writes to the Colonel, a masterpiece,  was made and also screened in competition at the prestigious film festivals. Based on García Márquez's novel, it is another study of a character trapped in a fatal destiny, driven into a hopeless void by his needy supplication to mere illusion. 

 

No One Writes to the Colonel, Arturo Ripstein's film based on a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novella, is about fragile hope sustained in the face of false expectations, about the survival of human dignity in the face of grinding poverty, about the triumph of love in the face of hunger, illness, age, and profound loss. The story has it that the colonel (Fernando Lujan) fought for three and a half years in a Mexican war waged by forces favoring an independent, secular state rather than a government dominated by the church. Now, decades later, he is still trying to obtain the pension to which he believes himself entitled - and which would relieve the destitute conditions in which he and his wife (Marisa Paredes) survive. Every week he dresses in suit and tie to meet the riverboat that brings the mail. But no one writes to the colonel and his ritual has become a source of hope which is all he has left. There is no money for food or for medicine for his asthmatic wife and they are threatened with the loss of their home as well. In such claustrophobic climate, Ripstein hold tenacity of two bold characters living on the verge of extinction. The expected pension and the potential game of cock are the only straws at which the old man can grasp. The pet cock is the only asset for the old Colonel and he is against selling it for physical survival.

No One Writes to the Colonel is an elegiac film in many a sense where the agile spirit for survival takes the uppermost chora, a space. Ripstein charges the screen frames with day-to-day incident in the colonel's life, a life in which a cigarette butt is picked up from the gutter to be smoked with pleasure. Here we have a tenebrous sense of feelings where a pair of new shoes is an occasion of rare luxury, where his wife sneaks into the local movie for her rare bit of amusement and escape. The going of the film is marked by folk wisdom and sad humour. The realism is invested with topical sensibility, tucking into the matrix of the work a rare humanism, grotesque lyricism and ring of truth. By degrees pieces of the past are revealed, particularly the story of what happened to the son who was killed by a circus acrobat, in a dispute that involved cock fighting and jealousy over a prostitute (Salma Hayek). The lost son ("My blood has died," the colonel weeps) is yet another element in their deprivation. In distraught state of time the Colonel acknowledges: “I don't know how to beg," And this brings to an end the sad pity we suffer while watching the film. On being an anti-Church, the Colonel also confronts a monstrous truth that Christianity plays as a part of tragic joke. We see how Ripstein doesn't shy away from the grimness here since he is a realist who eschews sentimentality. But, as his camera finds wonder in crumbling plaster and peeling paint, as it fondles the lined faces of these veterans of hardscrabble life, his characters retain their dignity and their humanity. They are optimistic survivors, living on the brink.  
  
 
Arcelia Ramirez in Reasons of the Heart
Next comes The Reasons of the Heart (2011) that explores themes of inexplicable passion, schizophrenia and despair. Arturo Ripstein seems to have adopted a new genre to pin on a subject glued to huge melancholia. This time he has chosen The Reasons of the Heart based on Madam Bovary, an all time controversial work. Shot entirely in black and white and inspired by Madame Bovary, as a sort of adaptation,  – The Reasons of the Heart plays on film-noir and theater aesthetics and dynamics. Made very consciously, Ripstein has felt the need to re-explore the inner wounds of a woman called Emilia, suffering from ambitious love for life and self-destruction. As we all know the film revolves around  a bored housewife Emilia and her passion-fuelled downward spiral to self-ruination .
In fact, Ripstein has only lifted the chosen part of the novel to vet when passionate love takes the route to irrational orgy of emotional purgation. Emilia’s life , as portrayed in the film, is vacant and only fulfilled (sometimes) by her infidelities and multiple imaginary whims. The treatment displays the catharsis of the woman protagonist of the film who seldom cares for her only child and frequently ridicules and punishes those around her for her mistakes which brings the downfall with an elegiac remorse. It may be mentioned Emilia’s vacuum of doom begins after her lover abandons her; the artistic and eccentric saxophone player, whom she projects her life-long dreams through. That irrational passion, wild and rabid one, does not hold is the primary subtext of the film. Such kind of films never straddles two poles of the issue be it love or human emotion. Ripstein surely plays with the vulnerable plot with dexterity.  The film takes us to the fatalism where Emilia’s despair destroys the lives of those around her and eventually destroys herself. The Reasons of the Heart is rightfully shot in black and white as the subject demands. When into the film, the performances stand-out so colorfully on their own. That being said, the film’s tendency to lean so much on over-dramatic and non-contextual dialogues proves to be a bit thick and ‘try-hard’ at times.
Engaging part of the film lies in its mute going without creating any grotesque elements. While Ripstein’s lustrous black-and-white rendering has a seductive luxury, Emma Bovary - or Emilia, as played to the hilt by Aracelia Ramirez. It presents a wearying company, and this may be claimed to be confined to the more dedicated end of the art market where festival exposure would seem prosperous.
According to Ripstein the working his its usual team, including wife and writer Paz Alicia Garciadiego. He places Emilia in a claustrophobic apartment block in Mexico, where she paces her 84-square-metre flat in over-ripe frustration, often clad in a dirty nightgown. Emilia’s problems aren’t, as to be expected, rooted in anything notable strophe.
Arturo Ripstein | El imperio de la fortuna (The Realm of Fortune)
russian roulette By Douglas Messerli   Paz Alicia Garciadiego (screenplay, based on a story by Juan Rulfo), Arturo Ripstein (director) El imperio de la fortuna (The Realm of Fortune) / 1986   If there is one thing Mexic...
2 days ago - Via Google+ - View -
https://plus.google.com/107860381336457800445 Pradip Biswas : ARTURO RIPSTEIN : ARCHITECT OF MODERN MEXICAN CINEMA PRADIP BISWAS, THE INDIAN EXPRESS NEWSPAPRS, INDIA...

ARTURO RIPSTEIN : ARCHITECT OF MODERN MEXICAN CINEMA
PRADIP BISWAS, THE INDIAN EXPRESS NEWSPAPRS, INDIA

JURY MEMBER INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL AND FRIBOURG INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, SWISS



“Human ingratitude knows no limits.”
Gabriel Garcia Marquez

 


The current Mexican cinema is modestly led by Arturo Ripstein, the maestro of innovative Mexican cinema now. It is indeed somewhat a good time for Mexican cinema as the production has jumped from 24 films to nearly 70 films annually. However, this quantum leap does not always assure “quality” films in the sense numbers do not sanctify. At least this is what the director Arturo Ripstein who visited Kolkata a few years back at the invitation of the Cine Central Calcutta, the largest film Society of India, revealed to this critic in an awful shock.

Here we need to know that the very Mexican cinema got the phenomenal boost when the Spanish director Luis Bunuel came to live in Mexico during 50s and 60s. Bunuel made nearly twelve films in the country as Franco’s Spain refused him stay in his own country. And Ripstein at the formative stage of his career worked as an assistant to Bunuel. And literally Ripstein initiated the movement for good cinema against the wave of conventional Hollywood films in Mexico along with the help of Garcia Marquez and Carlos Fuentes who collaborated in Ripstein’s first film To Die (1965).

Thus widely considered Mexico's most celebrated and respected contemporary filmmaker, as well as perhaps the only director to have truly inherited Luis Buñuel's mantle, Arturo Ripstein is a legend in his own right. His films have earned both fame and flack for taking melodrama to its macabre extremes. They reflect the director's fascination -- one shared by Buñuel -- with l'amour fou and claustrophobia. Although his films have been enthusiastically received outside of Mexico in France and Spain, Ripstein is largely unknown to American audience, a fact Ripstein has not contradicted.

A true protégé, Ripstein made his directorial debut in 1965 with Tiempo De Morir /Time to Die.  A story of murder and revenge, it explored many of the themes that the director would make the trademarks of his brand of "macabre melodrama" in the years to come. The most interesting facet of the debut film is that the film's script was written by Carlos Fuentes and Nobel Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez. In an intimate session Ripstein told this critic: “I have subsequently collaborated with a number of important Latin American writers, including Joss Emilio Pancheco’s El Castillo De La Pureza /The Castle of Purity, (1974), and El Santo Oficio /Holy Office in the same year.; José Donoso El Lugar Sin Limites/Hell Has No Limits, in 1977, Vincente Leñero La Tía Alejandra /Aunt Alexandra in1978 and Luis Spota Cadena Perpetua/In For Life in the year 1978. I think the process came to enrich my directorial experience to a large extent.” 
He is rather more remorseful as he and his clan have always been treated as second-hand citizens and they seem to have acquired meaning thanks to a gaze imposed on them from outside. Said he: “When I was a young filmmaker, I realized that we were considered in different terms with respect to directors from other countries. I remember thinking: "Here, they ask you for your passport first, and then they consider your talent." You have to belong to a certain country and after that you have to prove that you can do something worthwhile. There was another cliché; European viewers expected films where...
In the 70s, Ripstein garnered mounting recognition for his films, particularly Holy Office, which was shown in competition at the 1974 Cannes Festival to high applause. The film narrates the sufferings of a Jewish family forced to flee to Mexico during the Spanish Inquisition. It may be mentioned the film drew on Ripstein's own Jewish heritage and provided a stark exploration of the claustrophobic elements and assumed identity. However, due to fund crunch for projects, Ripstein was forced to occasionally make commissioned films, such as La Ilegal/The Illegal Woman in 1979. Practically, he had to live on such commissioned films for survival in the visual medium. After directing The Realm of Fortune in 1987, which was based on a text by Juan Rolfo, he began working with his wife Paz Alicia Garciadiego, a collaboration that produced some of Ripstein's most significant films. Incidentally, one of Ripstein's more acclaimed efforts with Garciadiego was The Beginning and the End made in 1994. Based upon the novel by Nobel Prize-winning Egyptian author Naguib Mahfouz, the film has unbolted the disintegration of a family following the sudden death of the father. It won the San Sebastian Film Festival's Gold Shell award; that same year, Ripstein's The Queen of the Night (1994) was shown in competition at Cannes Festival. It presents a fictionalized biography of legendary Mexican singer Lucha Reyes and in its making he could not freeze out melodrama marked by tragedy with the authority of real-life occurrences.

Ripstein's most celebrated work is Deep Crimson made in 1996. Based upon the real-life Lonely Hearts Murders that took place in Mexico during the late 1940s, it was perhaps Ripstein's most full-blasted exploration of l'amour fou. The narrative reveals a crazy love that takes place between the film's main characters, a badly aging gigolo and an excessively overweight nurse with halitosis. The film looks rather controversial in many a way. To this Ripstein has retorted: “There's nothing like mad love: it shatters, corrupts, transforms...Nothing like mad love to break, tear down, and undo the house of social order. Nothing is more flippant, sacrilegious, or heretic. Nothing is more human." The film surprisingly won a number of awards at the Venice Film Festival and earned a Special Mention in Latin American Cinema at Sundance Festival. 

Ripstein in particular is much more concerned about the political and social climate dominating in Latin America. On this issue, Arturo Ripstein noted: “Only from a limited point of view, as it happens with Latin American literature. We are a dozen and a half countries sharing the same language; but a person from one of these countries could think that he is more like a Frenchman than Peruvian. Beyond the rigors of geography, I don't think that Latin America exists as a cinematic concept. It is very difficult to say that there is a clear parameter or a common sense of things among the films from all these countries.” He, however, believes with each day, movies resemble more and more a hegemonic model. According to him, not all of them, but those selected as the most important or determine new directions do conform to certain models. All of them share something in common and they all imitate gringo commercial films. 

In a personal mood, Ripstein told this critic: “The curve of progress to filmmaking has never been quite smooth for me as often I had to battle with the authority for crude and raw subjects tackled in my films. As my subjects are often satirical and sarcastic and make a dig at the system working in Mexixo, I often became the target of official attack for hitting hard truths.” The major breakthrough crowned him in 1997, when Ripstein was awarded the National Prize for the Arts in Mexico, becoming the only filmmaker aside from Buñuel to have received the honor. That same year, he began working on a new film, Divine, 1998). Based on actual events that took place in Mexico during the 1970s, it was a comedy of manners about a religious cult. The film was screened at Cannes. The following year, Ripstein's El Coronel No Tiene Quien Le Escriba/No One Writes to the Colonel, a masterpiece,  was made and also screened in competition at the prestigious film festivals. Based on García Márquez's novel, it is another study of a character trapped in a fatal destiny, driven into a hopeless void by his needy supplication to mere illusion. 

 

No One Writes to the Colonel, Arturo Ripstein's film based on a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novella, is about fragile hope sustained in the face of false expectations, about the survival of human dignity in the face of grinding poverty, about the triumph of love in the face of hunger, illness, age, and profound loss. The story has it that the colonel (Fernando Lujan) fought for three and a half years in a Mexican war waged by forces favoring an independent, secular state rather than a government dominated by the church. Now, decades later, he is still trying to obtain the pension to which he believes himself entitled - and which would relieve the destitute conditions in which he and his wife (Marisa Paredes) survive. Every week he dresses in suit and tie to meet the riverboat that brings the mail. But no one writes to the colonel and his ritual has become a source of hope which is all he has left. There is no money for food or for medicine for his asthmatic wife and they are threatened with the loss of their home as well. In such claustrophobic climate, Ripstein hold tenacity of two bold characters living on the verge of extinction. The expected pension and the potential game of cock are the only straws at which the old man can grasp. The pet cock is the only asset for the old Colonel and he is against selling it for physical survival.

No One Writes to the Colonel is an elegiac film in many a sense where the agile spirit for survival takes the uppermost chora, a space. Ripstein charges the screen frames with day-to-day incident in the colonel's life, a life in which a cigarette butt is picked up from the gutter to be smoked with pleasure. Here we have a tenebrous sense of feelings where a pair of new shoes is an occasion of rare luxury, where his wife sneaks into the local movie for her rare bit of amusement and escape. The going of the film is marked by folk wisdom and sad humour. The realism is invested with topical sensibility, tucking into the matrix of the work a rare humanism, grotesque lyricism and ring of truth. By degrees pieces of the past are revealed, particularly the story of what happened to the son who was killed by a circus acrobat, in a dispute that involved cock fighting and jealousy over a prostitute (Salma Hayek). The lost son ("My blood has died," the colonel weeps) is yet another element in their deprivation. In distraught state of time the Colonel acknowledges: “I don't know how to beg," And this brings to an end the sad pity we suffer while watching the film. On being an anti-Church, the Colonel also confronts a monstrous truth that Christianity plays as a part of tragic joke. We see how Ripstein doesn't shy away from the grimness here since he is a realist who eschews sentimentality. But, as his camera finds wonder in crumbling plaster and peeling paint, as it fondles the lined faces of these veterans of hardscrabble life, his characters retain their dignity and their humanity. They are optimistic survivors, living on the brink.  
  
 
Arcelia Ramirez in Reasons of the Heart
Next comes The Reasons of the Heart (2011) that explores themes of inexplicable passion, schizophrenia and despair. Arturo Ripstein seems to have adopted a new genre to pin on a subject glued to huge melancholia. This time he has chosen The Reasons of the Heart based on Madam Bovary, an all time controversial work. Shot entirely in black and white and inspired by Madame Bovary, as a sort of adaptation,  – The Reasons of the Heart plays on film-noir and theater aesthetics and dynamics. Made very consciously, Ripstein has felt the need to re-explore the inner wounds of a woman called Emilia, suffering from ambitious love for life and self-destruction. As we all know the film revolves around  a bored housewife Emilia and her passion-fuelled downward spiral to self-ruination .
In fact, Ripstein has only lifted the chosen part of the novel to vet when passionate love takes the route to irrational orgy of emotional purgation. Emilia’s life , as portrayed in the film, is vacant and only fulfilled (sometimes) by her infidelities and multiple imaginary whims. The treatment displays the catharsis of the woman protagonist of the film who seldom cares for her only child and frequently ridicules and punishes those around her for her mistakes which brings the downfall with an elegiac remorse. It may be mentioned Emilia’s vacuum of doom begins after her lover abandons her; the artistic and eccentric saxophone player, whom she projects her life-long dreams through. That irrational passion, wild and rabid one, does not hold is the primary subtext of the film. Such kind of films never straddles two poles of the issue be it love or human emotion. Ripstein surely plays with the vulnerable plot with dexterity.  The film takes us to the fatalism where Emilia’s despair destroys the lives of those around her and eventually destroys herself. The Reasons of the Heart is rightfully shot in black and white as the subject demands. When into the film, the performances stand-out so colorfully on their own. That being said, the film’s tendency to lean so much on over-dramatic and non-contextual dialogues proves to be a bit thick and ‘try-hard’ at times.
Engaging part of the film lies in its mute going without creating any grotesque elements. While Ripstein’s lustrous black-and-white rendering has a seductive luxury, Emma Bovary - or Emilia, as played to the hilt by Aracelia Ramirez. It presents a wearying company, and this may be claimed to be confined to the more dedicated end of the art market where festival exposure would seem prosperous.
According to Ripstein the working his its usual team, including wife and writer Paz Alicia Garciadiego. He places Emilia in a claustrophobic apartment block in Mexico, where she paces her 84-square-metre flat in over-ripe frustration, often clad in a dirty nightgown. Emilia’s problems aren’t, as to be expected, rooted in anything notable strophe.
Arturo Ripstein | El imperio de la fortuna (The Realm of Fortune)
russian roulette By Douglas Messerli   Paz Alicia Garciadiego (screenplay, based on a story by Juan Rulfo), Arturo Ripstein (director) El imperio de la fortuna (The Realm of Fortune) / 1986   If there is one thing Mexic...
2 days ago - Via Google+ - View -
https://plus.google.com/107860381336457800445 Pradip Biswas : ARTURO RIPSTEIN : ARCHITECT OF MODERN MEXICAN CINEMA PRADIP BISWAS, THE INDIAN EXPRESS NEWSPAPRS, INDIA...

ARTURO RIPSTEIN : ARCHITECT OF MODERN MEXICAN CINEMA
PRADIP BISWAS, THE INDIAN EXPRESS NEWSPAPRS, INDIA

JURY MEMBER INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL AND FRIBOURG INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, SWISS



“Human ingratitude knows no limits.”
Gabriel Garcia Marquez

 


The current Mexican cinema is modestly led by Arturo Ripstein, the maestro of innovative Mexican cinema now. It is indeed somewhat a good time for Mexican cinema as the production has jumped from 24 films to nearly 70 films annually. However, this quantum leap does not always assure “quality” films in the sense numbers do not sanctify. At least this is what the director Arturo Ripstein who visited Kolkata a few years back at the invitation of the Cine Central Calcutta, the largest film Society of India, revealed to this critic in an awful shock.

Here we need to know that the very Mexican cinema got the phenomenal boost when the Spanish director Luis Bunuel came to live in Mexico during 50s and 60s. Bunuel made nearly twelve films in the country as Franco’s Spain refused him stay in his own country. And Ripstein at the formative stage of his career worked as an assistant to Bunuel. And literally Ripstein initiated the movement for good cinema against the wave of conventional Hollywood films in Mexico along with the help of Garcia Marquez and Carlos Fuentes who collaborated in Ripstein’s first film To Die (1965).

Thus widely considered Mexico's most celebrated and respected contemporary filmmaker, as well as perhaps the only director to have truly inherited Luis Buñuel's mantle, Arturo Ripstein is a legend in his own right. His films have earned both fame and flack for taking melodrama to its macabre extremes. They reflect the director's fascination -- one shared by Buñuel -- with l'amour fou and claustrophobia. Although his films have been enthusiastically received outside of Mexico in France and Spain, Ripstein is largely unknown to American audience, a fact Ripstein has not contradicted.

A true protégé, Ripstein made his directorial debut in 1965 with Tiempo De Morir /Time to Die.  A story of murder and revenge, it explored many of the themes that the director would make the trademarks of his brand of "macabre melodrama" in the years to come. The most interesting facet of the debut film is that the film's script was written by Carlos Fuentes and Nobel Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez. In an intimate session Ripstein told this critic: “I have subsequently collaborated with a number of important Latin American writers, including Joss Emilio Pancheco’s El Castillo De La Pureza /The Castle of Purity, (1974), and El Santo Oficio /Holy Office in the same year.; José Donoso El Lugar Sin Limites/Hell Has No Limits, in 1977, Vincente Leñero La Tía Alejandra /Aunt Alexandra in1978 and Luis Spota Cadena Perpetua/In For Life in the year 1978. I think the process came to enrich my directorial experience to a large extent.” 
He is rather more remorseful as he and his clan have always been treated as second-hand citizens and they seem to have acquired meaning thanks to a gaze imposed on them from outside. Said he: “When I was a young filmmaker, I realized that we were considered in different terms with respect to directors from other countries. I remember thinking: "Here, they ask you for your passport first, and then they consider your talent." You have to belong to a certain country and after that you have to prove that you can do something worthwhile. There was another cliché; European viewers expected films where...
In the 70s, Ripstein garnered mounting recognition for his films, particularly Holy Office, which was shown in competition at the 1974 Cannes Festival to high applause. The film narrates the sufferings of a Jewish family forced to flee to Mexico during the Spanish Inquisition. It may be mentioned the film drew on Ripstein's own Jewish heritage and provided a stark exploration of the claustrophobic elements and assumed identity. However, due to fund crunch for projects, Ripstein was forced to occasionally make commissioned films, such as La Ilegal/The Illegal Woman in 1979. Practically, he had to live on such commissioned films for survival in the visual medium. After directing The Realm of Fortune in 1987, which was based on a text by Juan Rolfo, he began working with his wife Paz Alicia Garciadiego, a collaboration that produced some of Ripstein's most significant films. Incidentally, one of Ripstein's more acclaimed efforts with Garciadiego was The Beginning and the End made in 1994. Based upon the novel by Nobel Prize-winning Egyptian author Naguib Mahfouz, the film has unbolted the disintegration of a family following the sudden death of the father. It won the San Sebastian Film Festival's Gold Shell award; that same year, Ripstein's The Queen of the Night (1994) was shown in competition at Cannes Festival. It presents a fictionalized biography of legendary Mexican singer Lucha Reyes and in its making he could not freeze out melodrama marked by tragedy with the authority of real-life occurrences.

Ripstein's most celebrated work is Deep Crimson made in 1996. Based upon the real-life Lonely Hearts Murders that took place in Mexico during the late 1940s, it was perhaps Ripstein's most full-blasted exploration of l'amour fou. The narrative reveals a crazy love that takes place between the film's main characters, a badly aging gigolo and an excessively overweight nurse with halitosis. The film looks rather controversial in many a way. To this Ripstein has retorted: “There's nothing like mad love: it shatters, corrupts, transforms...Nothing like mad love to break, tear down, and undo the house of social order. Nothing is more flippant, sacrilegious, or heretic. Nothing is more human." The film surprisingly won a number of awards at the Venice Film Festival and earned a Special Mention in Latin American Cinema at Sundance Festival. 

Ripstein in particular is much more concerned about the political and social climate dominating in Latin America. On this issue, Arturo Ripstein noted: “Only from a limited point of view, as it happens with Latin American literature. We are a dozen and a half countries sharing the same language; but a person from one of these countries could think that he is more like a Frenchman than Peruvian. Beyond the rigors of geography, I don't think that Latin America exists as a cinematic concept. It is very difficult to say that there is a clear parameter or a common sense of things among the films from all these countries.” He, however, believes with each day, movies resemble more and more a hegemonic model. According to him, not all of them, but those selected as the most important or determine new directions do conform to certain models. All of them share something in common and they all imitate gringo commercial films. 

In a personal mood, Ripstein told this critic: “The curve of progress to filmmaking has never been quite smooth for me as often I had to battle with the authority for crude and raw subjects tackled in my films. As my subjects are often satirical and sarcastic and make a dig at the system working in Mexixo, I often became the target of official attack for hitting hard truths.” The major breakthrough crowned him in 1997, when Ripstein was awarded the National Prize for the Arts in Mexico, becoming the only filmmaker aside from Buñuel to have received the honor. That same year, he began working on a new film, Divine, 1998). Based on actual events that took place in Mexico during the 1970s, it was a comedy of manners about a religious cult. The film was screened at Cannes. The following year, Ripstein's El Coronel No Tiene Quien Le Escriba/No One Writes to the Colonel, a masterpiece,  was made and also screened in competition at the prestigious film festivals. Based on García Márquez's novel, it is another study of a character trapped in a fatal destiny, driven into a hopeless void by his needy supplication to mere illusion. 

 

No One Writes to the Colonel, Arturo Ripstein's film based on a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novella, is about fragile hope sustained in the face of false expectations, about the survival of human dignity in the face of grinding poverty, about the triumph of love in the face of hunger, illness, age, and profound loss. The story has it that the colonel (Fernando Lujan) fought for three and a half years in a Mexican war waged by forces favoring an independent, secular state rather than a government dominated by the church. Now, decades later, he is still trying to obtain the pension to which he believes himself entitled - and which would relieve the destitute conditions in which he and his wife (Marisa Paredes) survive. Every week he dresses in suit and tie to meet the riverboat that brings the mail. But no one writes to the colonel and his ritual has become a source of hope which is all he has left. There is no money for food or for medicine for his asthmatic wife and they are threatened with the loss of their home as well. In such claustrophobic climate, Ripstein hold tenacity of two bold characters living on the verge of extinction. The expected pension and the potential game of cock are the only straws at which the old man can grasp. The pet cock is the only asset for the old Colonel and he is against selling it for physical survival.

No One Writes to the Colonel is an elegiac film in many a sense where the agile spirit for survival takes the uppermost chora, a space. Ripstein charges the screen frames with day-to-day incident in the colonel's life, a life in which a cigarette butt is picked up from the gutter to be smoked with pleasure. Here we have a tenebrous sense of feelings where a pair of new shoes is an occasion of rare luxury, where his wife sneaks into the local movie for her rare bit of amusement and escape. The going of the film is marked by folk wisdom and sad humour. The realism is invested with topical sensibility, tucking into the matrix of the work a rare humanism, grotesque lyricism and ring of truth. By degrees pieces of the past are revealed, particularly the story of what happened to the son who was killed by a circus acrobat, in a dispute that involved cock fighting and jealousy over a prostitute (Salma Hayek). The lost son ("My blood has died," the colonel weeps) is yet another element in their deprivation. In distraught state of time the Colonel acknowledges: “I don't know how to beg," And this brings to an end the sad pity we suffer while watching the film. On being an anti-Church, the Colonel also confronts a monstrous truth that Christianity plays as a part of tragic joke. We see how Ripstein doesn't shy away from the grimness here since he is a realist who eschews sentimentality. But, as his camera finds wonder in crumbling plaster and peeling paint, as it fondles the lined faces of these veterans of hardscrabble life, his characters retain their dignity and their humanity. They are optimistic survivors, living on the brink.  
  
 
Arcelia Ramirez in Reasons of the Heart
Next comes The Reasons of the Heart (2011) that explores themes of inexplicable passion, schizophrenia and despair. Arturo Ripstein seems to have adopted a new genre to pin on a subject glued to huge melancholia. This time he has chosen The Reasons of the Heart based on Madam Bovary, an all time controversial work. Shot entirely in black and white and inspired by Madame Bovary, as a sort of adaptation,  – The Reasons of the Heart plays on film-noir and theater aesthetics and dynamics. Made very consciously, Ripstein has felt the need to re-explore the inner wounds of a woman called Emilia, suffering from ambitious love for life and self-destruction. As we all know the film revolves around  a bored housewife Emilia and her passion-fuelled downward spiral to self-ruination .
In fact, Ripstein has only lifted the chosen part of the novel to vet when passionate love takes the route to irrational orgy of emotional purgation. Emilia’s life , as portrayed in the film, is vacant and only fulfilled (sometimes) by her infidelities and multiple imaginary whims. The treatment displays the catharsis of the woman protagonist of the film who seldom cares for her only child and frequently ridicules and punishes those around her for her mistakes which brings the downfall with an elegiac remorse. It may be mentioned Emilia’s vacuum of doom begins after her lover abandons her; the artistic and eccentric saxophone player, whom she projects her life-long dreams through. That irrational passion, wild and rabid one, does not hold is the primary subtext of the film. Such kind of films never straddles two poles of the issue be it love or human emotion. Ripstein surely plays with the vulnerable plot with dexterity.  The film takes us to the fatalism where Emilia’s despair destroys the lives of those around her and eventually destroys herself. The Reasons of the Heart is rightfully shot in black and white as the subject demands. When into the film, the performances stand-out so colorfully on their own. That being said, the film’s tendency to lean so much on over-dramatic and non-contextual dialogues proves to be a bit thick and ‘try-hard’ at times.
Engaging part of the film lies in its mute going without creating any grotesque elements. While Ripstein’s lustrous black-and-white rendering has a seductive luxury, Emma Bovary - or Emilia, as played to the hilt by Aracelia Ramirez. It presents a wearying company, and this may be claimed to be confined to the more dedicated end of the art market where festival exposure would seem prosperous.
According to Ripstein the working his its usual team, including wife and writer Paz Alicia Garciadiego. He places Emilia in a claustrophobic apartment block in Mexico, where she paces her 84-square-metre flat in over-ripe frustration, often clad in a dirty nightgown. Emilia’s problems aren’t, as to be expected, rooted in anything notable strophe.
Arturo Ripstein | El imperio de la fortuna (The Realm of Fortune)
russian roulette By Douglas Messerli   Paz Alicia Garciadiego (screenplay, based on a story by Juan Rulfo), Arturo Ripstein (director) El imperio de la fortuna (The Realm of Fortune) / 1986   If there is one thing Mexic...
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https://plus.google.com/107860381336457800445 Pradip Biswas : ARTURO RIPSTEIN : ARCHITECT OF MODERN MEXICAN CINEMA PRADIP BISWAS, THE INDIAN EXPRESS NEWSPAPRS, INDIA...

ARTURO RIPSTEIN : ARCHITECT OF MODERN MEXICAN CINEMA
PRADIP BISWAS, THE INDIAN EXPRESS NEWSPAPRS, INDIA

JURY MEMBER INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL AND FRIBOURG INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, SWISS



“Human ingratitude knows no limits.”
Gabriel Garcia Marquez

 


The current Mexican cinema is modestly led by Arturo Ripstein, the maestro of innovative Mexican cinema now. It is indeed somewhat a good time for Mexican cinema as the production has jumped from 24 films to nearly 70 films annually. However, this quantum leap does not always assure “quality” films in the sense numbers do not sanctify. At least this is what the director Arturo Ripstein who visited Kolkata a few years back at the invitation of the Cine Central Calcutta, the largest film Society of India, revealed to this critic in an awful shock.

Here we need to know that the very Mexican cinema got the phenomenal boost when the Spanish director Luis Bunuel came to live in Mexico during 50s and 60s. Bunuel made nearly twelve films in the country as Franco’s Spain refused him stay in his own country. And Ripstein at the formative stage of his career worked as an assistant to Bunuel. And literally Ripstein initiated the movement for good cinema against the wave of conventional Hollywood films in Mexico along with the help of Garcia Marquez and Carlos Fuentes who collaborated in Ripstein’s first film To Die (1965).

Thus widely considered Mexico's most celebrated and respected contemporary filmmaker, as well as perhaps the only director to have truly inherited Luis Buñuel's mantle, Arturo Ripstein is a legend in his own right. His films have earned both fame and flack for taking melodrama to its macabre extremes. They reflect the director's fascination -- one shared by Buñuel -- with l'amour fou and claustrophobia. Although his films have been enthusiastically received outside of Mexico in France and Spain, Ripstein is largely unknown to American audience, a fact Ripstein has not contradicted.

A true protégé, Ripstein made his directorial debut in 1965 with Tiempo De Morir /Time to Die.  A story of murder and revenge, it explored many of the themes that the director would make the trademarks of his brand of "macabre melodrama" in the years to come. The most interesting facet of the debut film is that the film's script was written by Carlos Fuentes and Nobel Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez. In an intimate session Ripstein told this critic: “I have subsequently collaborated with a number of important Latin American writers, including Joss Emilio Pancheco’s El Castillo De La Pureza /The Castle of Purity, (1974), and El Santo Oficio /Holy Office in the same year.; José Donoso El Lugar Sin Limites/Hell Has No Limits, in 1977, Vincente Leñero La Tía Alejandra /Aunt Alexandra in1978 and Luis Spota Cadena Perpetua/In For Life in the year 1978. I think the process came to enrich my directorial experience to a large extent.” 
He is rather more remorseful as he and his clan have always been treated as second-hand citizens and they seem to have acquired meaning thanks to a gaze imposed on them from outside. Said he: “When I was a young filmmaker, I realized that we were considered in different terms with respect to directors from other countries. I remember thinking: "Here, they ask you for your passport first, and then they consider your talent." You have to belong to a certain country and after that you have to prove that you can do something worthwhile. There was another cliché; European viewers expected films where...
In the 70s, Ripstein garnered mounting recognition for his films, particularly Holy Office, which was shown in competition at the 1974 Cannes Festival to high applause. The film narrates the sufferings of a Jewish family forced to flee to Mexico during the Spanish Inquisition. It may be mentioned the film drew on Ripstein's own Jewish heritage and provided a stark exploration of the claustrophobic elements and assumed identity. However, due to fund crunch for projects, Ripstein was forced to occasionally make commissioned films, such as La Ilegal/The Illegal Woman in 1979. Practically, he had to live on such commissioned films for survival in the visual medium. After directing The Realm of Fortune in 1987, which was based on a text by Juan Rolfo, he began working with his wife Paz Alicia Garciadiego, a collaboration that produced some of Ripstein's most significant films. Incidentally, one of Ripstein's more acclaimed efforts with Garciadiego was The Beginning and the End made in 1994. Based upon the novel by Nobel Prize-winning Egyptian author Naguib Mahfouz, the film has unbolted the disintegration of a family following the sudden death of the father. It won the San Sebastian Film Festival's Gold Shell award; that same year, Ripstein's The Queen of the Night (1994) was shown in competition at Cannes Festival. It presents a fictionalized biography of legendary Mexican singer Lucha Reyes and in its making he could not freeze out melodrama marked by tragedy with the authority of real-life occurrences.

Ripstein's most celebrated work is Deep Crimson made in 1996. Based upon the real-life Lonely Hearts Murders that took place in Mexico during the late 1940s, it was perhaps Ripstein's most full-blasted exploration of l'amour fou. The narrative reveals a crazy love that takes place between the film's main characters, a badly aging gigolo and an excessively overweight nurse with halitosis. The film looks rather controversial in many a way. To this Ripstein has retorted: “There's nothing like mad love: it shatters, corrupts, transforms...Nothing like mad love to break, tear down, and undo the house of social order. Nothing is more flippant, sacrilegious, or heretic. Nothing is more human." The film surprisingly won a number of awards at the Venice Film Festival and earned a Special Mention in Latin American Cinema at Sundance Festival. 

Ripstein in particular is much more concerned about the political and social climate dominating in Latin America. On this issue, Arturo Ripstein noted: “Only from a limited point of view, as it happens with Latin American literature. We are a dozen and a half countries sharing the same language; but a person from one of these countries could think that he is more like a Frenchman than Peruvian. Beyond the rigors of geography, I don't think that Latin America exists as a cinematic concept. It is very difficult to say that there is a clear parameter or a common sense of things among the films from all these countries.” He, however, believes with each day, movies resemble more and more a hegemonic model. According to him, not all of them, but those selected as the most important or determine new directions do conform to certain models. All of them share something in common and they all imitate gringo commercial films. 

In a personal mood, Ripstein told this critic: “The curve of progress to filmmaking has never been quite smooth for me as often I had to battle with the authority for crude and raw subjects tackled in my films. As my subjects are often satirical and sarcastic and make a dig at the system working in Mexixo, I often became the target of official attack for hitting hard truths.” The major breakthrough crowned him in 1997, when Ripstein was awarded the National Prize for the Arts in Mexico, becoming the only filmmaker aside from Buñuel to have received the honor. That same year, he began working on a new film, Divine, 1998). Based on actual events that took place in Mexico during the 1970s, it was a comedy of manners about a religious cult. The film was screened at Cannes. The following year, Ripstein's El Coronel No Tiene Quien Le Escriba/No One Writes to the Colonel, a masterpiece,  was made and also screened in competition at the prestigious film festivals. Based on García Márquez's novel, it is another study of a character trapped in a fatal destiny, driven into a hopeless void by his needy supplication to mere illusion. 

 

No One Writes to the Colonel, Arturo Ripstein's film based on a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novella, is about fragile hope sustained in the face of false expectations, about the survival of human dignity in the face of grinding poverty, about the triumph of love in the face of hunger, illness, age, and profound loss. The story has it that the colonel (Fernando Lujan) fought for three and a half years in a Mexican war waged by forces favoring an independent, secular state rather than a government dominated by the church. Now, decades later, he is still trying to obtain the pension to which he believes himself entitled - and which would relieve the destitute conditions in which he and his wife (Marisa Paredes) survive. Every week he dresses in suit and tie to meet the riverboat that brings the mail. But no one writes to the colonel and his ritual has become a source of hope which is all he has left. There is no money for food or for medicine for his asthmatic wife and they are threatened with the loss of their home as well. In such claustrophobic climate, Ripstein hold tenacity of two bold characters living on the verge of extinction. The expected pension and the potential game of cock are the only straws at which the old man can grasp. The pet cock is the only asset for the old Colonel and he is against selling it for physical survival.

No One Writes to the Colonel is an elegiac film in many a sense where the agile spirit for survival takes the uppermost chora, a space. Ripstein charges the screen frames with day-to-day incident in the colonel's life, a life in which a cigarette butt is picked up from the gutter to be smoked with pleasure. Here we have a tenebrous sense of feelings where a pair of new shoes is an occasion of rare luxury, where his wife sneaks into the local movie for her rare bit of amusement and escape. The going of the film is marked by folk wisdom and sad humour. The realism is invested with topical sensibility, tucking into the matrix of the work a rare humanism, grotesque lyricism and ring of truth. By degrees pieces of the past are revealed, particularly the story of what happened to the son who was killed by a circus acrobat, in a dispute that involved cock fighting and jealousy over a prostitute (Salma Hayek). The lost son ("My blood has died," the colonel weeps) is yet another element in their deprivation. In distraught state of time the Colonel acknowledges: “I don't know how to beg," And this brings to an end the sad pity we suffer while watching the film. On being an anti-Church, the Colonel also confronts a monstrous truth that Christianity plays as a part of tragic joke. We see how Ripstein doesn't shy away from the grimness here since he is a realist who eschews sentimentality. But, as his camera finds wonder in crumbling plaster and peeling paint, as it fondles the lined faces of these veterans of hardscrabble life, his characters retain their dignity and their humanity. They are optimistic survivors, living on the brink.  
  
 
Arcelia Ramirez in Reasons of the Heart
Next comes The Reasons of the Heart (2011) that explores themes of inexplicable passion, schizophrenia and despair. Arturo Ripstein seems to have adopted a new genre to pin on a subject glued to huge melancholia. This time he has chosen The Reasons of the Heart based on Madam Bovary, an all time controversial work. Shot entirely in black and white and inspired by Madame Bovary, as a sort of adaptation,  – The Reasons of the Heart plays on film-noir and theater aesthetics and dynamics. Made very consciously, Ripstein has felt the need to re-explore the inner wounds of a woman called Emilia, suffering from ambitious love for life and self-destruction. As we all know the film revolves around  a bored housewife Emilia and her passion-fuelled downward spiral to self-ruination .
In fact, Ripstein has only lifted the chosen part of the novel to vet when passionate love takes the route to irrational orgy of emotional purgation. Emilia’s life , as portrayed in the film, is vacant and only fulfilled (sometimes) by her infidelities and multiple imaginary whims. The treatment displays the catharsis of the woman protagonist of the film who seldom cares for her only child and frequently ridicules and punishes those around her for her mistakes which brings the downfall with an elegiac remorse. It may be mentioned Emilia’s vacuum of doom begins after her lover abandons her; the artistic and eccentric saxophone player, whom she projects her life-long dreams through. That irrational passion, wild and rabid one, does not hold is the primary subtext of the film. Such kind of films never straddles two poles of the issue be it love or human emotion. Ripstein surely plays with the vulnerable plot with dexterity.  The film takes us to the fatalism where Emilia’s despair destroys the lives of those around her and eventually destroys herself. The Reasons of the Heart is rightfully shot in black and white as the subject demands. When into the film, the performances stand-out so colorfully on their own. That being said, the film’s tendency to lean so much on over-dramatic and non-contextual dialogues proves to be a bit thick and ‘try-hard’ at times.
Engaging part of the film lies in its mute going without creating any grotesque elements. While Ripstein’s lustrous black-and-white rendering has a seductive luxury, Emma Bovary - or Emilia, as played to the hilt by Aracelia Ramirez. It presents a wearying company, and this may be claimed to be confined to the more dedicated end of the art market where festival exposure would seem prosperous.
According to Ripstein the working his its usual team, including wife and writer Paz Alicia Garciadiego. He places Emilia in a claustrophobic apartment block in Mexico, where she paces her 84-square-metre flat in over-ripe frustration, often clad in a dirty nightgown. Emilia’s problems aren’t, as to be expected, rooted in anything notable strophe.
Arturo Ripstein | El imperio de la fortuna (The Realm of Fortune)
russian roulette By Douglas Messerli   Paz Alicia Garciadiego (screenplay, based on a story by Juan Rulfo), Arturo Ripstein (director) El imperio de la fortuna (The Realm of Fortune) / 1986   If there is one thing Mexic...
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https://plus.google.com/107860381336457800445 Pradip Biswas : ARTURO RIPSTEIN : ARCHITECT OF MODERN MEXICAN CINEMA PRADIP BISWAS, THE INDIAN EXPRESS NEWSPAPRS, INDIA...

ARTURO RIPSTEIN : ARCHITECT OF MODERN MEXICAN CINEMA
PRADIP BISWAS, THE INDIAN EXPRESS NEWSPAPRS, INDIA

JURY MEMBER INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL AND FRIBOURG INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, SWISS



“Human ingratitude knows no limits.”
Gabriel Garcia Marquez

 


The current Mexican cinema is modestly led by Arturo Ripstein, the maestro of innovative Mexican cinema now. It is indeed somewhat a good time for Mexican cinema as the production has jumped from 24 films to nearly 70 films annually. However, this quantum leap does not always assure “quality” films in the sense numbers do not sanctify. At least this is what the director Arturo Ripstein who visited Kolkata a few years back at the invitation of the Cine Central Calcutta, the largest film Society of India, revealed to this critic in an awful shock.

Here we need to know that the very Mexican cinema got the phenomenal boost when the Spanish director Luis Bunuel came to live in Mexico during 50s and 60s. Bunuel made nearly twelve films in the country as Franco’s Spain refused him stay in his own country. And Ripstein at the formative stage of his career worked as an assistant to Bunuel. And literally Ripstein initiated the movement for good cinema against the wave of conventional Hollywood films in Mexico along with the help of Garcia Marquez and Carlos Fuentes who collaborated in Ripstein’s first film To Die (1965).

Thus widely considered Mexico's most celebrated and respected contemporary filmmaker, as well as perhaps the only director to have truly inherited Luis Buñuel's mantle, Arturo Ripstein is a legend in his own right. His films have earned both fame and flack for taking melodrama to its macabre extremes. They reflect the director's fascination -- one shared by Buñuel -- with l'amour fou and claustrophobia. Although his films have been enthusiastically received outside of Mexico in France and Spain, Ripstein is largely unknown to American audience, a fact Ripstein has not contradicted.

A true protégé, Ripstein made his directorial debut in 1965 with Tiempo De Morir /Time to Die.  A story of murder and revenge, it explored many of the themes that the director would make the trademarks of his brand of "macabre melodrama" in the years to come. The most interesting facet of the debut film is that the film's script was written by Carlos Fuentes and Nobel Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez. In an intimate session Ripstein told this critic: “I have subsequently collaborated with a number of important Latin American writers, including Joss Emilio Pancheco’s El Castillo De La Pureza /The Castle of Purity, (1974), and El Santo Oficio /Holy Office in the same year.; José Donoso El Lugar Sin Limites/Hell Has No Limits, in 1977, Vincente Leñero La Tía Alejandra /Aunt Alexandra in1978 and Luis Spota Cadena Perpetua/In For Life in the year 1978. I think the process came to enrich my directorial experience to a large extent.” 
He is rather more remorseful as he and his clan have always been treated as second-hand citizens and they seem to have acquired meaning thanks to a gaze imposed on them from outside. Said he: “When I was a young filmmaker, I realized that we were considered in different terms with respect to directors from other countries. I remember thinking: "Here, they ask you for your passport first, and then they consider your talent." You have to belong to a certain country and after that you have to prove that you can do something worthwhile. There was another cliché; European viewers expected films where...
In the 70s, Ripstein garnered mounting recognition for his films, particularly Holy Office, which was shown in competition at the 1974 Cannes Festival to high applause. The film narrates the sufferings of a Jewish family forced to flee to Mexico during the Spanish Inquisition. It may be mentioned the film drew on Ripstein's own Jewish heritage and provided a stark exploration of the claustrophobic elements and assumed identity. However, due to fund crunch for projects, Ripstein was forced to occasionally make commissioned films, such as La Ilegal/The Illegal Woman in 1979. Practically, he had to live on such commissioned films for survival in the visual medium. After directing The Realm of Fortune in 1987, which was based on a text by Juan Rolfo, he began working with his wife Paz Alicia Garciadiego, a collaboration that produced some of Ripstein's most significant films. Incidentally, one of Ripstein's more acclaimed efforts with Garciadiego was The Beginning and the End made in 1994. Based upon the novel by Nobel Prize-winning Egyptian author Naguib Mahfouz, the film has unbolted the disintegration of a family following the sudden death of the father. It won the San Sebastian Film Festival's Gold Shell award; that same year, Ripstein's The Queen of the Night (1994) was shown in competition at Cannes Festival. It presents a fictionalized biography of legendary Mexican singer Lucha Reyes and in its making he could not freeze out melodrama marked by tragedy with the authority of real-life occurrences.

Ripstein's most celebrated work is Deep Crimson made in 1996. Based upon the real-life Lonely Hearts Murders that took place in Mexico during the late 1940s, it was perhaps Ripstein's most full-blasted exploration of l'amour fou. The narrative reveals a crazy love that takes place between the film's main characters, a badly aging gigolo and an excessively overweight nurse with halitosis. The film looks rather controversial in many a way. To this Ripstein has retorted: “There's nothing like mad love: it shatters, corrupts, transforms...Nothing like mad love to break, tear down, and undo the house of social order. Nothing is more flippant, sacrilegious, or heretic. Nothing is more human." The film surprisingly won a number of awards at the Venice Film Festival and earned a Special Mention in Latin American Cinema at Sundance Festival. 

Ripstein in particular is much more concerned about the political and social climate dominating in Latin America. On this issue, Arturo Ripstein noted: “Only from a limited point of view, as it happens with Latin American literature. We are a dozen and a half countries sharing the same language; but a person from one of these countries could think that he is more like a Frenchman than Peruvian. Beyond the rigors of geography, I don't think that Latin America exists as a cinematic concept. It is very difficult to say that there is a clear parameter or a common sense of things among the films from all these countries.” He, however, believes with each day, movies resemble more and more a hegemonic model. According to him, not all of them, but those selected as the most important or determine new directions do conform to certain models. All of them share something in common and they all imitate gringo commercial films. 

In a personal mood, Ripstein told this critic: “The curve of progress to filmmaking has never been quite smooth for me as often I had to battle with the authority for crude and raw subjects tackled in my films. As my subjects are often satirical and sarcastic and make a dig at the system working in Mexixo, I often became the target of official attack for hitting hard truths.” The major breakthrough crowned him in 1997, when Ripstein was awarded the National Prize for the Arts in Mexico, becoming the only filmmaker aside from Buñuel to have received the honor. That same year, he began working on a new film, Divine, 1998). Based on actual events that took place in Mexico during the 1970s, it was a comedy of manners about a religious cult. The film was screened at Cannes. The following year, Ripstein's El Coronel No Tiene Quien Le Escriba/No One Writes to the Colonel, a masterpiece,  was made and also screened in competition at the prestigious film festivals. Based on García Márquez's novel, it is another study of a character trapped in a fatal destiny, driven into a hopeless void by his needy supplication to mere illusion. 

 

No One Writes to the Colonel, Arturo Ripstein's film based on a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novella, is about fragile hope sustained in the face of false expectations, about the survival of human dignity in the face of grinding poverty, about the triumph of love in the face of hunger, illness, age, and profound loss. The story has it that the colonel (Fernando Lujan) fought for three and a half years in a Mexican war waged by forces favoring an independent, secular state rather than a government dominated by the church. Now, decades later, he is still trying to obtain the pension to which he believes himself entitled - and which would relieve the destitute conditions in which he and his wife (Marisa Paredes) survive. Every week he dresses in suit and tie to meet the riverboat that brings the mail. But no one writes to the colonel and his ritual has become a source of hope which is all he has left. There is no money for food or for medicine for his asthmatic wife and they are threatened with the loss of their home as well. In such claustrophobic climate, Ripstein hold tenacity of two bold characters living on the verge of extinction. The expected pension and the potential game of cock are the only straws at which the old man can grasp. The pet cock is the only asset for the old Colonel and he is against selling it for physical survival.

No One Writes to the Colonel is an elegiac film in many a sense where the agile spirit for survival takes the uppermost chora, a space. Ripstein charges the screen frames with day-to-day incident in the colonel's life, a life in which a cigarette butt is picked up from the gutter to be smoked with pleasure. Here we have a tenebrous sense of feelings where a pair of new shoes is an occasion of rare luxury, where his wife sneaks into the local movie for her rare bit of amusement and escape. The going of the film is marked by folk wisdom and sad humour. The realism is invested with topical sensibility, tucking into the matrix of the work a rare humanism, grotesque lyricism and ring of truth. By degrees pieces of the past are revealed, particularly the story of what happened to the son who was killed by a circus acrobat, in a dispute that involved cock fighting and jealousy over a prostitute (Salma Hayek). The lost son ("My blood has died," the colonel weeps) is yet another element in their deprivation. In distraught state of time the Colonel acknowledges: “I don't know how to beg," And this brings to an end the sad pity we suffer while watching the film. On being an anti-Church, the Colonel also confronts a monstrous truth that Christianity plays as a part of tragic joke. We see how Ripstein doesn't shy away from the grimness here since he is a realist who eschews sentimentality. But, as his camera finds wonder in crumbling plaster and peeling paint, as it fondles the lined faces of these veterans of hardscrabble life, his characters retain their dignity and their humanity. They are optimistic survivors, living on the brink.  
  
 
Arcelia Ramirez in Reasons of the Heart
Next comes The Reasons of the Heart (2011) that explores themes of inexplicable passion, schizophrenia and despair. Arturo Ripstein seems to have adopted a new genre to pin on a subject glued to huge melancholia. This time he has chosen The Reasons of the Heart based on Madam Bovary, an all time controversial work. Shot entirely in black and white and inspired by Madame Bovary, as a sort of adaptation,  – The Reasons of the Heart plays on film-noir and theater aesthetics and dynamics. Made very consciously, Ripstein has felt the need to re-explore the inner wounds of a woman called Emilia, suffering from ambitious love for life and self-destruction. As we all know the film revolves around  a bored housewife Emilia and her passion-fuelled downward spiral to self-ruination .
In fact, Ripstein has only lifted the chosen part of the novel to vet when passionate love takes the route to irrational orgy of emotional purgation. Emilia’s life , as portrayed in the film, is vacant and only fulfilled (sometimes) by her infidelities and multiple imaginary whims. The treatment displays the catharsis of the woman protagonist of the film who seldom cares for her only child and frequently ridicules and punishes those around her for her mistakes which brings the downfall with an elegiac remorse. It may be mentioned Emilia’s vacuum of doom begins after her lover abandons her; the artistic and eccentric saxophone player, whom she projects her life-long dreams through. That irrational passion, wild and rabid one, does not hold is the primary subtext of the film. Such kind of films never straddles two poles of the issue be it love or human emotion. Ripstein surely plays with the vulnerable plot with dexterity.  The film takes us to the fatalism where Emilia’s despair destroys the lives of those around her and eventually destroys herself. The Reasons of the Heart is rightfully shot in black and white as the subject demands. When into the film, the performances stand-out so colorfully on their own. That being said, the film’s tendency to lean so much on over-dramatic and non-contextual dialogues proves to be a bit thick and ‘try-hard’ at times.
Engaging part of the film lies in its mute going without creating any grotesque elements. While Ripstein’s lustrous black-and-white rendering has a seductive luxury, Emma Bovary - or Emilia, as played to the hilt by Aracelia Ramirez. It presents a wearying company, and this may be claimed to be confined to the more dedicated end of the art market where festival exposure would seem prosperous.
According to Ripstein the working his its usual team, including wife and writer Paz Alicia Garciadiego. He places Emilia in a claustrophobic apartment block in Mexico, where she paces her 84-square-metre flat in over-ripe frustration, often clad in a dirty nightgown. Emilia’s problems aren’t, as to be expected, rooted in anything notable strophe.
Arturo Ripstein | El imperio de la fortuna (The Realm of Fortune)
russian roulette By Douglas Messerli   Paz Alicia Garciadiego (screenplay, based on a story by Juan Rulfo), Arturo Ripstein (director) El imperio de la fortuna (The Realm of Fortune) / 1986   If there is one thing Mexic...
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https://plus.google.com/107860381336457800445 Pradip Biswas : ARTURO RIPSTEIN : ARCHITECT OF MODERN MEXICAN CINEMA PRADIP BISWAS, THE INDIAN EXPRESS NEWSPAPRS, INDIA...

ARTURO RIPSTEIN : ARCHITECT OF MODERN MEXICAN CINEMA
PRADIP BISWAS, THE INDIAN EXPRESS NEWSPAPRS, INDIA

JURY MEMBER INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL AND FRIBOURG INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, SWISS



“Human ingratitude knows no limits.”
Gabriel Garcia Marquez

 


The current Mexican cinema is modestly led by Arturo Ripstein, the maestro of innovative Mexican cinema now. It is indeed somewhat a good time for Mexican cinema as the production has jumped from 24 films to nearly 70 films annually. However, this quantum leap does not always assure “quality” films in the sense numbers do not sanctify. At least this is what the director Arturo Ripstein who visited Kolkata a few years back at the invitation of the Cine Central Calcutta, the largest film Society of India, revealed to this critic in an awful shock.

Here we need to know that the very Mexican cinema got the phenomenal boost when the Spanish director Luis Bunuel came to live in Mexico during 50s and 60s. Bunuel made nearly twelve films in the country as Franco’s Spain refused him stay in his own country. And Ripstein at the formative stage of his career worked as an assistant to Bunuel. And literally Ripstein initiated the movement for good cinema against the wave of conventional Hollywood films in Mexico along with the help of Garcia Marquez and Carlos Fuentes who collaborated in Ripstein’s first film To Die (1965).

Thus widely considered Mexico's most celebrated and respected contemporary filmmaker, as well as perhaps the only director to have truly inherited Luis Buñuel's mantle, Arturo Ripstein is a legend in his own right. His films have earned both fame and flack for taking melodrama to its macabre extremes. They reflect the director's fascination -- one shared by Buñuel -- with l'amour fou and claustrophobia. Although his films have been enthusiastically received outside of Mexico in France and Spain, Ripstein is largely unknown to American audience, a fact Ripstein has not contradicted.

A true protégé, Ripstein made his directorial debut in 1965 with Tiempo De Morir /Time to Die.  A story of murder and revenge, it explored many of the themes that the director would make the trademarks of his brand of "macabre melodrama" in the years to come. The most interesting facet of the debut film is that the film's script was written by Carlos Fuentes and Nobel Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez. In an intimate session Ripstein told this critic: “I have subsequently collaborated with a number of important Latin American writers, including Joss Emilio Pancheco’s El Castillo De La Pureza /The Castle of Purity, (1974), and El Santo Oficio /Holy Office in the same year.; José Donoso El Lugar Sin Limites/Hell Has No Limits, in 1977, Vincente Leñero La Tía Alejandra /Aunt Alexandra in1978 and Luis Spota Cadena Perpetua/In For Life in the year 1978. I think the process came to enrich my directorial experience to a large extent.” 
He is rather more remorseful as he and his clan have always been treated as second-hand citizens and they seem to have acquired meaning thanks to a gaze imposed on them from outside. Said he: “When I was a young filmmaker, I realized that we were considered in different terms with respect to directors from other countries. I remember thinking: "Here, they ask you for your passport first, and then they consider your talent." You have to belong to a certain country and after that you have to prove that you can do something worthwhile. There was another cliché; European viewers expected films where...
In the 70s, Ripstein garnered mounting recognition for his films, particularly Holy Office, which was shown in competition at the 1974 Cannes Festival to high applause. The film narrates the sufferings of a Jewish family forced to flee to Mexico during the Spanish Inquisition. It may be mentioned the film drew on Ripstein's own Jewish heritage and provided a stark exploration of the claustrophobic elements and assumed identity. However, due to fund crunch for projects, Ripstein was forced to occasionally make commissioned films, such as La Ilegal/The Illegal Woman in 1979. Practically, he had to live on such commissioned films for survival in the visual medium. After directing The Realm of Fortune in 1987, which was based on a text by Juan Rolfo, he began working with his wife Paz Alicia Garciadiego, a collaboration that produced some of Ripstein's most significant films. Incidentally, one of Ripstein's more acclaimed efforts with Garciadiego was The Beginning and the End made in 1994. Based upon the novel by Nobel Prize-winning Egyptian author Naguib Mahfouz, the film has unbolted the disintegration of a family following the sudden death of the father. It won the San Sebastian Film Festival's Gold Shell award; that same year, Ripstein's The Queen of the Night (1994) was shown in competition at Cannes Festival. It presents a fictionalized biography of legendary Mexican singer Lucha Reyes and in its making he could not freeze out melodrama marked by tragedy with the authority of real-life occurrences.

Ripstein's most celebrated work is Deep Crimson made in 1996. Based upon the real-life Lonely Hearts Murders that took place in Mexico during the late 1940s, it was perhaps Ripstein's most full-blasted exploration of l'amour fou. The narrative reveals a crazy love that takes place between the film's main characters, a badly aging gigolo and an excessively overweight nurse with halitosis. The film looks rather controversial in many a way. To this Ripstein has retorted: “There's nothing like mad love: it shatters, corrupts, transforms...Nothing like mad love to break, tear down, and undo the house of social order. Nothing is more flippant, sacrilegious, or heretic. Nothing is more human." The film surprisingly won a number of awards at the Venice Film Festival and earned a Special Mention in Latin American Cinema at Sundance Festival. 

Ripstein in particular is much more concerned about the political and social climate dominating in Latin America. On this issue, Arturo Ripstein noted: “Only from a limited point of view, as it happens with Latin American literature. We are a dozen and a half countries sharing the same language; but a person from one of these countries could think that he is more like a Frenchman than Peruvian. Beyond the rigors of geography, I don't think that Latin America exists as a cinematic concept. It is very difficult to say that there is a clear parameter or a common sense of things among the films from all these countries.” He, however, believes with each day, movies resemble more and more a hegemonic model. According to him, not all of them, but those selected as the most important or determine new directions do conform to certain models. All of them share something in common and they all imitate gringo commercial films. 

In a personal mood, Ripstein told this critic: “The curve of progress to filmmaking has never been quite smooth for me as often I had to battle with the authority for crude and raw subjects tackled in my films. As my subjects are often satirical and sarcastic and make a dig at the system working in Mexixo, I often became the target of official attack for hitting hard truths.” The major breakthrough crowned him in 1997, when Ripstein was awarded the National Prize for the Arts in Mexico, becoming the only filmmaker aside from Buñuel to have received the honor. That same year, he began working on a new film, Divine, 1998). Based on actual events that took place in Mexico during the 1970s, it was a comedy of manners about a religious cult. The film was screened at Cannes. The following year, Ripstein's El Coronel No Tiene Quien Le Escriba/No One Writes to the Colonel, a masterpiece,  was made and also screened in competition at the prestigious film festivals. Based on García Márquez's novel, it is another study of a character trapped in a fatal destiny, driven into a hopeless void by his needy supplication to mere illusion. 

 

No One Writes to the Colonel, Arturo Ripstein's film based on a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novella, is about fragile hope sustained in the face of false expectations, about the survival of human dignity in the face of grinding poverty, about the triumph of love in the face of hunger, illness, age, and profound loss. The story has it that the colonel (Fernando Lujan) fought for three and a half years in a Mexican war waged by forces favoring an independent, secular state rather than a government dominated by the church. Now, decades later, he is still trying to obtain the pension to which he believes himself entitled - and which would relieve the destitute conditions in which he and his wife (Marisa Paredes) survive. Every week he dresses in suit and tie to meet the riverboat that brings the mail. But no one writes to the colonel and his ritual has become a source of hope which is all he has left. There is no money for food or for medicine for his asthmatic wife and they are threatened with the loss of their home as well. In such claustrophobic climate, Ripstein hold tenacity of two bold characters living on the verge of extinction. The expected pension and the potential game of cock are the only straws at which the old man can grasp. The pet cock is the only asset for the old Colonel and he is against selling it for physical survival.

No One Writes to the Colonel is an elegiac film in many a sense where the agile spirit for survival takes the uppermost chora, a space. Ripstein charges the screen frames with day-to-day incident in the colonel's life, a life in which a cigarette butt is picked up from the gutter to be smoked with pleasure. Here we have a tenebrous sense of feelings where a pair of new shoes is an occasion of rare luxury, where his wife sneaks into the local movie for her rare bit of amusement and escape. The going of the film is marked by folk wisdom and sad humour. The realism is invested with topical sensibility, tucking into the matrix of the work a rare humanism, grotesque lyricism and ring of truth. By degrees pieces of the past are revealed, particularly the story of what happened to the son who was killed by a circus acrobat, in a dispute that involved cock fighting and jealousy over a prostitute (Salma Hayek). The lost son ("My blood has died," the colonel weeps) is yet another element in their deprivation. In distraught state of time the Colonel acknowledges: “I don't know how to beg," And this brings to an end the sad pity we suffer while watching the film. On being an anti-Church, the Colonel also confronts a monstrous truth that Christianity plays as a part of tragic joke. We see how Ripstein doesn't shy away from the grimness here since he is a realist who eschews sentimentality. But, as his camera finds wonder in crumbling plaster and peeling paint, as it fondles the lined faces of these veterans of hardscrabble life, his characters retain their dignity and their humanity. They are optimistic survivors, living on the brink.  
  
 
Arcelia Ramirez in Reasons of the Heart
Next comes The Reasons of the Heart (2011) that explores themes of inexplicable passion, schizophrenia and despair. Arturo Ripstein seems to have adopted a new genre to pin on a subject glued to huge melancholia. This time he has chosen The Reasons of the Heart based on Madam Bovary, an all time controversial work. Shot entirely in black and white and inspired by Madame Bovary, as a sort of adaptation,  – The Reasons of the Heart plays on film-noir and theater aesthetics and dynamics. Made very consciously, Ripstein has felt the need to re-explore the inner wounds of a woman called Emilia, suffering from ambitious love for life and self-destruction. As we all know the film revolves around  a bored housewife Emilia and her passion-fuelled downward spiral to self-ruination .
In fact, Ripstein has only lifted the chosen part of the novel to vet when passionate love takes the route to irrational orgy of emotional purgation. Emilia’s life , as portrayed in the film, is vacant and only fulfilled (sometimes) by her infidelities and multiple imaginary whims. The treatment displays the catharsis of the woman protagonist of the film who seldom cares for her only child and frequently ridicules and punishes those around her for her mistakes which brings the downfall with an elegiac remorse. It may be mentioned Emilia’s vacuum of doom begins after her lover abandons her; the artistic and eccentric saxophone player, whom she projects her life-long dreams through. That irrational passion, wild and rabid one, does not hold is the primary subtext of the film. Such kind of films never straddles two poles of the issue be it love or human emotion. Ripstein surely plays with the vulnerable plot with dexterity.  The film takes us to the fatalism where Emilia’s despair destroys the lives of those around her and eventually destroys herself. The Reasons of the Heart is rightfully shot in black and white as the subject demands. When into the film, the performances stand-out so colorfully on their own. That being said, the film’s tendency to lean so much on over-dramatic and non-contextual dialogues proves to be a bit thick and ‘try-hard’ at times.
Engaging part of the film lies in its mute going without creating any grotesque elements. While Ripstein’s lustrous black-and-white rendering has a seductive luxury, Emma Bovary - or Emilia, as played to the hilt by Aracelia Ramirez. It presents a wearying company, and this may be claimed to be confined to the more dedicated end of the art market where festival exposure would seem prosperous.
According to Ripstein the working his its usual team, including wife and writer Paz Alicia Garciadiego. He places Emilia in a claustrophobic apartment block in Mexico, where she paces her 84-square-metre flat in over-ripe frustration, often clad in a dirty nightgown. Emilia’s problems aren’t, as to be expected, rooted in anything notable strophe.
Arturo Ripstein | El imperio de la fortuna (The Realm of Fortune)
russian roulette By Douglas Messerli   Paz Alicia Garciadiego (screenplay, based on a story by Juan Rulfo), Arturo Ripstein (director) El imperio de la fortuna (The Realm of Fortune) / 1986   If there is one thing Mexic...
2 days ago - Via Google+ - View -
https://plus.google.com/107860381336457800445 Pradip Biswas : ARTURO RIPSTEIN : ARCHITECT OF MODERN MEXICAN CINEMA PRADIP BISWAS, THE INDIAN EXPRESS NEWSPAPRS, INDIA...

ARTURO RIPSTEIN : ARCHITECT OF MODERN MEXICAN CINEMA
PRADIP BISWAS, THE INDIAN EXPRESS NEWSPAPRS, INDIA

JURY MEMBER INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL AND FRIBOURG INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, SWISS



“Human ingratitude knows no limits.”
Gabriel Garcia Marquez

 


The current Mexican cinema is modestly led by Arturo Ripstein, the maestro of innovative Mexican cinema now. It is indeed somewhat a good time for Mexican cinema as the production has jumped from 24 films to nearly 70 films annually. However, this quantum leap does not always assure “quality” films in the sense numbers do not sanctify. At least this is what the director Arturo Ripstein who visited Kolkata a few years back at the invitation of the Cine Central Calcutta, the largest film Society of India, revealed to this critic in an awful shock.

Here we need to know that the very Mexican cinema got the phenomenal boost when the Spanish director Luis Bunuel came to live in Mexico during 50s and 60s. Bunuel made nearly twelve films in the country as Franco’s Spain refused him stay in his own country. And Ripstein at the formative stage of his career worked as an assistant to Bunuel. And literally Ripstein initiated the movement for good cinema against the wave of conventional Hollywood films in Mexico along with the help of Garcia Marquez and Carlos Fuentes who collaborated in Ripstein’s first film To Die (1965).

Thus widely considered Mexico's most celebrated and respected contemporary filmmaker, as well as perhaps the only director to have truly inherited Luis Buñuel's mantle, Arturo Ripstein is a legend in his own right. His films have earned both fame and flack for taking melodrama to its macabre extremes. They reflect the director's fascination -- one shared by Buñuel -- with l'amour fou and claustrophobia. Although his films have been enthusiastically received outside of Mexico in France and Spain, Ripstein is largely unknown to American audience, a fact Ripstein has not contradicted.

A true protégé, Ripstein made his directorial debut in 1965 with Tiempo De Morir /Time to Die.  A story of murder and revenge, it explored many of the themes that the director would make the trademarks of his brand of "macabre melodrama" in the years to come. The most interesting facet of the debut film is that the film's script was written by Carlos Fuentes and Nobel Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez. In an intimate session Ripstein told this critic: “I have subsequently collaborated with a number of important Latin American writers, including Joss Emilio Pancheco’s El Castillo De La Pureza /The Castle of Purity, (1974), and El Santo Oficio /Holy Office in the same year.; José Donoso El Lugar Sin Limites/Hell Has No Limits, in 1977, Vincente Leñero La Tía Alejandra /Aunt Alexandra in1978 and Luis Spota Cadena Perpetua/In For Life in the year 1978. I think the process came to enrich my directorial experience to a large extent.” 
He is rather more remorseful as he and his clan have always been treated as second-hand citizens and they seem to have acquired meaning thanks to a gaze imposed on them from outside. Said he: “When I was a young filmmaker, I realized that we were considered in different terms with respect to directors from other countries. I remember thinking: "Here, they ask you for your passport first, and then they consider your talent." You have to belong to a certain country and after that you have to prove that you can do something worthwhile. There was another cliché; European viewers expected films where...
In the 70s, Ripstein garnered mounting recognition for his films, particularly Holy Office, which was shown in competition at the 1974 Cannes Festival to high applause. The film narrates the sufferings of a Jewish family forced to flee to Mexico during the Spanish Inquisition. It may be mentioned the film drew on Ripstein's own Jewish heritage and provided a stark exploration of the claustrophobic elements and assumed identity. However, due to fund crunch for projects, Ripstein was forced to occasionally make commissioned films, such as La Ilegal/The Illegal Woman in 1979. Practically, he had to live on such commissioned films for survival in the visual medium. After directing The Realm of Fortune in 1987, which was based on a text by Juan Rolfo, he began working with his wife Paz Alicia Garciadiego, a collaboration that produced some of Ripstein's most significant films. Incidentally, one of Ripstein's more acclaimed efforts with Garciadiego was The Beginning and the End made in 1994. Based upon the novel by Nobel Prize-winning Egyptian author Naguib Mahfouz, the film has unbolted the disintegration of a family following the sudden death of the father. It won the San Sebastian Film Festival's Gold Shell award; that same year, Ripstein's The Queen of the Night (1994) was shown in competition at Cannes Festival. It presents a fictionalized biography of legendary Mexican singer Lucha Reyes and in its making he could not freeze out melodrama marked by tragedy with the authority of real-life occurrences.

Ripstein's most celebrated work is Deep Crimson made in 1996. Based upon the real-life Lonely Hearts Murders that took place in Mexico during the late 1940s, it was perhaps Ripstein's most full-blasted exploration of l'amour fou. The narrative reveals a crazy love that takes place between the film's main characters, a badly aging gigolo and an excessively overweight nurse with halitosis. The film looks rather controversial in many a way. To this Ripstein has retorted: “There's nothing like mad love: it shatters, corrupts, transforms...Nothing like mad love to break, tear down, and undo the house of social order. Nothing is more flippant, sacrilegious, or heretic. Nothing is more human." The film surprisingly won a number of awards at the Venice Film Festival and earned a Special Mention in Latin American Cinema at Sundance Festival. 

Ripstein in particular is much more concerned about the political and social climate dominating in Latin America. On this issue, Arturo Ripstein noted: “Only from a limited point of view, as it happens with Latin American literature. We are a dozen and a half countries sharing the same language; but a person from one of these countries could think that he is more like a Frenchman than Peruvian. Beyond the rigors of geography, I don't think that Latin America exists as a cinematic concept. It is very difficult to say that there is a clear parameter or a common sense of things among the films from all these countries.” He, however, believes with each day, movies resemble more and more a hegemonic model. According to him, not all of them, but those selected as the most important or determine new directions do conform to certain models. All of them share something in common and they all imitate gringo commercial films. 

In a personal mood, Ripstein told this critic: “The curve of progress to filmmaking has never been quite smooth for me as often I had to battle with the authority for crude and raw subjects tackled in my films. As my subjects are often satirical and sarcastic and make a dig at the system working in Mexixo, I often became the target of official attack for hitting hard truths.” The major breakthrough crowned him in 1997, when Ripstein was awarded the National Prize for the Arts in Mexico, becoming the only filmmaker aside from Buñuel to have received the honor. That same year, he began working on a new film, Divine, 1998). Based on actual events that took place in Mexico during the 1970s, it was a comedy of manners about a religious cult. The film was screened at Cannes. The following year, Ripstein's El Coronel No Tiene Quien Le Escriba/No One Writes to the Colonel, a masterpiece,  was made and also screened in competition at the prestigious film festivals. Based on García Márquez's novel, it is another study of a character trapped in a fatal destiny, driven into a hopeless void by his needy supplication to mere illusion. 

 

No One Writes to the Colonel, Arturo Ripstein's film based on a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novella, is about fragile hope sustained in the face of false expectations, about the survival of human dignity in the face of grinding poverty, about the triumph of love in the face of hunger, illness, age, and profound loss. The story has it that the colonel (Fernando Lujan) fought for three and a half years in a Mexican war waged by forces favoring an independent, secular state rather than a government dominated by the church. Now, decades later, he is still trying to obtain the pension to which he believes himself entitled - and which would relieve the destitute conditions in which he and his wife (Marisa Paredes) survive. Every week he dresses in suit and tie to meet the riverboat that brings the mail. But no one writes to the colonel and his ritual has become a source of hope which is all he has left. There is no money for food or for medicine for his asthmatic wife and they are threatened with the loss of their home as well. In such claustrophobic climate, Ripstein hold tenacity of two bold characters living on the verge of extinction. The expected pension and the potential game of cock are the only straws at which the old man can grasp. The pet cock is the only asset for the old Colonel and he is against selling it for physical survival.

No One Writes to the Colonel is an elegiac film in many a sense where the agile spirit for survival takes the uppermost chora, a space. Ripstein charges the screen frames with day-to-day incident in the colonel's life, a life in which a cigarette butt is picked up from the gutter to be smoked with pleasure. Here we have a tenebrous sense of feelings where a pair of new shoes is an occasion of rare luxury, where his wife sneaks into the local movie for her rare bit of amusement and escape. The going of the film is marked by folk wisdom and sad humour. The realism is invested with topical sensibility, tucking into the matrix of the work a rare humanism, grotesque lyricism and ring of truth. By degrees pieces of the past are revealed, particularly the story of what happened to the son who was killed by a circus acrobat, in a dispute that involved cock fighting and jealousy over a prostitute (Salma Hayek). The lost son ("My blood has died," the colonel weeps) is yet another element in their deprivation. In distraught state of time the Colonel acknowledges: “I don't know how to beg," And this brings to an end the sad pity we suffer while watching the film. On being an anti-Church, the Colonel also confronts a monstrous truth that Christianity plays as a part of tragic joke. We see how Ripstein doesn't shy away from the grimness here since he is a realist who eschews sentimentality. But, as his camera finds wonder in crumbling plaster and peeling paint, as it fondles the lined faces of these veterans of hardscrabble life, his characters retain their dignity and their humanity. They are optimistic survivors, living on the brink.  
  
 
Arcelia Ramirez in Reasons of the Heart
Next comes The Reasons of the Heart (2011) that explores themes of inexplicable passion, schizophrenia and despair. Arturo Ripstein seems to have adopted a new genre to pin on a subject glued to huge melancholia. This time he has chosen The Reasons of the Heart based on Madam Bovary, an all time controversial work. Shot entirely in black and white and inspired by Madame Bovary, as a sort of adaptation,  – The Reasons of the Heart plays on film-noir and theater aesthetics and dynamics. Made very consciously, Ripstein has felt the need to re-explore the inner wounds of a woman called Emilia, suffering from ambitious love for life and self-destruction. As we all know the film revolves around  a bored housewife Emilia and her passion-fuelled downward spiral to self-ruination .
In fact, Ripstein has only lifted the chosen part of the novel to vet when passionate love takes the route to irrational orgy of emotional purgation. Emilia’s life , as portrayed in the film, is vacant and only fulfilled (sometimes) by her infidelities and multiple imaginary whims. The treatment displays the catharsis of the woman protagonist of the film who seldom cares for her only child and frequently ridicules and punishes those around her for her mistakes which brings the downfall with an elegiac remorse. It may be mentioned Emilia’s vacuum of doom begins after her lover abandons her; the artistic and eccentric saxophone player, whom she projects her life-long dreams through. That irrational passion, wild and rabid one, does not hold is the primary subtext of the film. Such kind of films never straddles two poles of the issue be it love or human emotion. Ripstein surely plays with the vulnerable plot with dexterity.  The film takes us to the fatalism where Emilia’s despair destroys the lives of those around her and eventually destroys herself. The Reasons of the Heart is rightfully shot in black and white as the subject demands. When into the film, the performances stand-out so colorfully on their own. That being said, the film’s tendency to lean so much on over-dramatic and non-contextual dialogues proves to be a bit thick and ‘try-hard’ at times.
Engaging part of the film lies in its mute going without creating any grotesque elements. While Ripstein’s lustrous black-and-white rendering has a seductive luxury, Emma Bovary - or Emilia, as played to the hilt by Aracelia Ramirez. It presents a wearying company, and this may be claimed to be confined to the more dedicated end of the art market where festival exposure would seem prosperous.
According to Ripstein the working his its usual team, including wife and writer Paz Alicia Garciadiego. He places Emilia in a claustrophobic apartment block in Mexico, where she paces her 84-square-metre flat in over-ripe frustration, often clad in a dirty nightgown. Emilia’s problems aren’t, as to be expected, rooted in anything notable strophe.
Arturo Ripstein | El imperio de la fortuna (The Realm of Fortune)
russian roulette By Douglas Messerli   Paz Alicia Garciadiego (screenplay, based on a story by Juan Rulfo), Arturo Ripstein (director) El imperio de la fortuna (The Realm of Fortune) / 1986   If there is one thing Mexic...
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https://plus.google.com/107860381336457800445 Pradip Biswas : ARTURO RIPSTEIN : ARCHITECT OF MODERN MEXICAN CINEMA PRADIP BISWAS, THE INDIAN EXPRESS NEWSPAPRS, INDIA...

ARTURO RIPSTEIN : ARCHITECT OF MODERN MEXICAN CINEMA
PRADIP BISWAS, THE INDIAN EXPRESS NEWSPAPRS, INDIA

JURY MEMBER INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL AND FRIBOURG INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, SWISS



“Human ingratitude knows no limits.”
Gabriel Garcia Marquez

 


The current Mexican cinema is modestly led by Arturo Ripstein, the maestro of innovative Mexican cinema now. It is indeed somewhat a good time for Mexican cinema as the production has jumped from 24 films to nearly 70 films annually. However, this quantum leap does not always assure “quality” films in the sense numbers do not sanctify. At least this is what the director Arturo Ripstein who visited Kolkata a few years back at the invitation of the Cine Central Calcutta, the largest film Society of India, revealed to this critic in an awful shock.

Here we need to know that the very Mexican cinema got the phenomenal boost when the Spanish director Luis Bunuel came to live in Mexico during 50s and 60s. Bunuel made nearly twelve films in the country as Franco’s Spain refused him stay in his own country. And Ripstein at the formative stage of his career worked as an assistant to Bunuel. And literally Ripstein initiated the movement for good cinema against the wave of conventional Hollywood films in Mexico along with the help of Garcia Marquez and Carlos Fuentes who collaborated in Ripstein’s first film To Die (1965).

Thus widely considered Mexico's most celebrated and respected contemporary filmmaker, as well as perhaps the only director to have truly inherited Luis Buñuel's mantle, Arturo Ripstein is a legend in his own right. His films have earned both fame and flack for taking melodrama to its macabre extremes. They reflect the director's fascination -- one shared by Buñuel -- with l'amour fou and claustrophobia. Although his films have been enthusiastically received outside of Mexico in France and Spain, Ripstein is largely unknown to American audience, a fact Ripstein has not contradicted.

A true protégé, Ripstein made his directorial debut in 1965 with Tiempo De Morir /Time to Die.  A story of murder and revenge, it explored many of the themes that the director would make the trademarks of his brand of "macabre melodrama" in the years to come. The most interesting facet of the debut film is that the film's script was written by Carlos Fuentes and Nobel Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez. In an intimate session Ripstein told this critic: “I have subsequently collaborated with a number of important Latin American writers, including Joss Emilio Pancheco’s El Castillo De La Pureza /The Castle of Purity, (1974), and El Santo Oficio /Holy Office in the same year.; José Donoso El Lugar Sin Limites/Hell Has No Limits, in 1977, Vincente Leñero La Tía Alejandra /Aunt Alexandra in1978 and Luis Spota Cadena Perpetua/In For Life in the year 1978. I think the process came to enrich my directorial experience to a large extent.” 
He is rather more remorseful as he and his clan have always been treated as second-hand citizens and they seem to have acquired meaning thanks to a gaze imposed on them from outside. Said he: “When I was a young filmmaker, I realized that we were considered in different terms with respect to directors from other countries. I remember thinking: "Here, they ask you for your passport first, and then they consider your talent." You have to belong to a certain country and after that you have to prove that you can do something worthwhile. There was another cliché; European viewers expected films where...
In the 70s, Ripstein garnered mounting recognition for his films, particularly Holy Office, which was shown in competition at the 1974 Cannes Festival to high applause. The film narrates the sufferings of a Jewish family forced to flee to Mexico during the Spanish Inquisition. It may be mentioned the film drew on Ripstein's own Jewish heritage and provided a stark exploration of the claustrophobic elements and assumed identity. However, due to fund crunch for projects, Ripstein was forced to occasionally make commissioned films, such as La Ilegal/The Illegal Woman in 1979. Practically, he had to live on such commissioned films for survival in the visual medium. After directing The Realm of Fortune in 1987, which was based on a text by Juan Rolfo, he began working with his wife Paz Alicia Garciadiego, a collaboration that produced some of Ripstein's most significant films. Incidentally, one of Ripstein's more acclaimed efforts with Garciadiego was The Beginning and the End made in 1994. Based upon the novel by Nobel Prize-winning Egyptian author Naguib Mahfouz, the film has unbolted the disintegration of a family following the sudden death of the father. It won the San Sebastian Film Festival's Gold Shell award; that same year, Ripstein's The Queen of the Night (1994) was shown in competition at Cannes Festival. It presents a fictionalized biography of legendary Mexican singer Lucha Reyes and in its making he could not freeze out melodrama marked by tragedy with the authority of real-life occurrences.

Ripstein's most celebrated work is Deep Crimson made in 1996. Based upon the real-life Lonely Hearts Murders that took place in Mexico during the late 1940s, it was perhaps Ripstein's most full-blasted exploration of l'amour fou. The narrative reveals a crazy love that takes place between the film's main characters, a badly aging gigolo and an excessively overweight nurse with halitosis. The film looks rather controversial in many a way. To this Ripstein has retorted: “There's nothing like mad love: it shatters, corrupts, transforms...Nothing like mad love to break, tear down, and undo the house of social order. Nothing is more flippant, sacrilegious, or heretic. Nothing is more human." The film surprisingly won a number of awards at the Venice Film Festival and earned a Special Mention in Latin American Cinema at Sundance Festival. 

Ripstein in particular is much more concerned about the political and social climate dominating in Latin America. On this issue, Arturo Ripstein noted: “Only from a limited point of view, as it happens with Latin American literature. We are a dozen and a half countries sharing the same language; but a person from one of these countries could think that he is more like a Frenchman than Peruvian. Beyond the rigors of geography, I don't think that Latin America exists as a cinematic concept. It is very difficult to say that there is a clear parameter or a common sense of things among the films from all these countries.” He, however, believes with each day, movies resemble more and more a hegemonic model. According to him, not all of them, but those selected as the most important or determine new directions do conform to certain models. All of them share something in common and they all imitate gringo commercial films. 

In a personal mood, Ripstein told this critic: “The curve of progress to filmmaking has never been quite smooth for me as often I had to battle with the authority for crude and raw subjects tackled in my films. As my subjects are often satirical and sarcastic and make a dig at the system working in Mexixo, I often became the target of official attack for hitting hard truths.” The major breakthrough crowned him in 1997, when Ripstein was awarded the National Prize for the Arts in Mexico, becoming the only filmmaker aside from Buñuel to have received the honor. That same year, he began working on a new film, Divine, 1998). Based on actual events that took place in Mexico during the 1970s, it was a comedy of manners about a religious cult. The film was screened at Cannes. The following year, Ripstein's El Coronel No Tiene Quien Le Escriba/No One Writes to the Colonel, a masterpiece,  was made and also screened in competition at the prestigious film festivals. Based on García Márquez's novel, it is another study of a character trapped in a fatal destiny, driven into a hopeless void by his needy supplication to mere illusion. 

 

No One Writes to the Colonel, Arturo Ripstein's film based on a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novella, is about fragile hope sustained in the face of false expectations, about the survival of human dignity in the face of grinding poverty, about the triumph of love in the face of hunger, illness, age, and profound loss. The story has it that the colonel (Fernando Lujan) fought for three and a half years in a Mexican war waged by forces favoring an independent, secular state rather than a government dominated by the church. Now, decades later, he is still trying to obtain the pension to which he believes himself entitled - and which would relieve the destitute conditions in which he and his wife (Marisa Paredes) survive. Every week he dresses in suit and tie to meet the riverboat that brings the mail. But no one writes to the colonel and his ritual has become a source of hope which is all he has left. There is no money for food or for medicine for his asthmatic wife and they are threatened with the loss of their home as well. In such claustrophobic climate, Ripstein hold tenacity of two bold characters living on the verge of extinction. The expected pension and the potential game of cock are the only straws at which the old man can grasp. The pet cock is the only asset for the old Colonel and he is against selling it for physical survival.

No One Writes to the Colonel is an elegiac film in many a sense where the agile spirit for survival takes the uppermost chora, a space. Ripstein charges the screen frames with day-to-day incident in the colonel's life, a life in which a cigarette butt is picked up from the gutter to be smoked with pleasure. Here we have a tenebrous sense of feelings where a pair of new shoes is an occasion of rare luxury, where his wife sneaks into the local movie for her rare bit of amusement and escape. The going of the film is marked by folk wisdom and sad humour. The realism is invested with topical sensibility, tucking into the matrix of the work a rare humanism, grotesque lyricism and ring of truth. By degrees pieces of the past are revealed, particularly the story of what happened to the son who was killed by a circus acrobat, in a dispute that involved cock fighting and jealousy over a prostitute (Salma Hayek). The lost son ("My blood has died," the colonel weeps) is yet another element in their deprivation. In distraught state of time the Colonel acknowledges: “I don't know how to beg," And this brings to an end the sad pity we suffer while watching the film. On being an anti-Church, the Colonel also confronts a monstrous truth that Christianity plays as a part of tragic joke. We see how Ripstein doesn't shy away from the grimness here since he is a realist who eschews sentimentality. But, as his camera finds wonder in crumbling plaster and peeling paint, as it fondles the lined faces of these veterans of hardscrabble life, his characters retain their dignity and their humanity. They are optimistic survivors, living on the brink.  
  
 
Arcelia Ramirez in Reasons of the Heart
Next comes The Reasons of the Heart (2011) that explores themes of inexplicable passion, schizophrenia and despair. Arturo Ripstein seems to have adopted a new genre to pin on a subject glued to huge melancholia. This time he has chosen The Reasons of the Heart based on Madam Bovary, an all time controversial work. Shot entirely in black and white and inspired by Madame Bovary, as a sort of adaptation,  – The Reasons of the Heart plays on film-noir and theater aesthetics and dynamics. Made very consciously, Ripstein has felt the need to re-explore the inner wounds of a woman called Emilia, suffering from ambitious love for life and self-destruction. As we all know the film revolves around  a bored housewife Emilia and her passion-fuelled downward spiral to self-ruination .
In fact, Ripstein has only lifted the chosen part of the novel to vet when passionate love takes the route to irrational orgy of emotional purgation. Emilia’s life , as portrayed in the film, is vacant and only fulfilled (sometimes) by her infidelities and multiple imaginary whims. The treatment displays the catharsis of the woman protagonist of the film who seldom cares for her only child and frequently ridicules and punishes those around her for her mistakes which brings the downfall with an elegiac remorse. It may be mentioned Emilia’s vacuum of doom begins after her lover abandons her; the artistic and eccentric saxophone player, whom she projects her life-long dreams through. That irrational passion, wild and rabid one, does not hold is the primary subtext of the film. Such kind of films never straddles two poles of the issue be it love or human emotion. Ripstein surely plays with the vulnerable plot with dexterity.  The film takes us to the fatalism where Emilia’s despair destroys the lives of those around her and eventually destroys herself. The Reasons of the Heart is rightfully shot in black and white as the subject demands. When into the film, the performances stand-out so colorfully on their own. That being said, the film’s tendency to lean so much on over-dramatic and non-contextual dialogues proves to be a bit thick and ‘try-hard’ at times.
Engaging part of the film lies in its mute going without creating any grotesque elements. While Ripstein’s lustrous black-and-white rendering has a seductive luxury, Emma Bovary - or Emilia, as played to the hilt by Aracelia Ramirez. It presents a wearying company, and this may be claimed to be confined to the more dedicated end of the art market where festival exposure would seem prosperous.
According to Ripstein the working his its usual team, including wife and writer Paz Alicia Garciadiego. He places Emilia in a claustrophobic apartment block in Mexico, where she paces her 84-square-metre flat in over-ripe frustration, often clad in a dirty nightgown. Emilia’s problems aren’t, as to be expected, rooted in anything notable strophe.
Arturo Ripstein | El imperio de la fortuna (The Realm of Fortune)
russian roulette By Douglas Messerli   Paz Alicia Garciadiego (screenplay, based on a story by Juan Rulfo), Arturo Ripstein (director) El imperio de la fortuna (The Realm of Fortune) / 1986   If there is one thing Mexic...
2 days ago - Via Google+ - View -
https://plus.google.com/107860381336457800445 Pradip Biswas : ARTURO RIPSTEIN : ARCHITECT OF MODERN MEXICAN CINEMA PRADIP BISWAS, THE INDIAN EXPRESS NEWSPAPRS, INDIA...

ARTURO RIPSTEIN : ARCHITECT OF MODERN MEXICAN CINEMA
PRADIP BISWAS, THE INDIAN EXPRESS NEWSPAPRS, INDIA

JURY MEMBER INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL AND FRIBOURG INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, SWISS



“Human ingratitude knows no limits.”
Gabriel Garcia Marquez

 


The current Mexican cinema is modestly led by Arturo Ripstein, the maestro of innovative Mexican cinema now. It is indeed somewhat a good time for Mexican cinema as the production has jumped from 24 films to nearly 70 films annually. However, this quantum leap does not always assure “quality” films in the sense numbers do not sanctify. At least this is what the director Arturo Ripstein who visited Kolkata a few years back at the invitation of the Cine Central Calcutta, the largest film Society of India, revealed to this critic in an awful shock.

Here we need to know that the very Mexican cinema got the phenomenal boost when the Spanish director Luis Bunuel came to live in Mexico during 50s and 60s. Bunuel made nearly twelve films in the country as Franco’s Spain refused him stay in his own country. And Ripstein at the formative stage of his career worked as an assistant to Bunuel. And literally Ripstein initiated the movement for good cinema against the wave of conventional Hollywood films in Mexico along with the help of Garcia Marquez and Carlos Fuentes who collaborated in Ripstein’s first film To Die (1965).

Thus widely considered Mexico's most celebrated and respected contemporary filmmaker, as well as perhaps the only director to have truly inherited Luis Buñuel's mantle, Arturo Ripstein is a legend in his own right. His films have earned both fame and flack for taking melodrama to its macabre extremes. They reflect the director's fascination -- one shared by Buñuel -- with l'amour fou and claustrophobia. Although his films have been enthusiastically received outside of Mexico in France and Spain, Ripstein is largely unknown to American audience, a fact Ripstein has not contradicted.

A true protégé, Ripstein made his directorial debut in 1965 with Tiempo De Morir /Time to Die.  A story of murder and revenge, it explored many of the themes that the director would make the trademarks of his brand of "macabre melodrama" in the years to come. The most interesting facet of the debut film is that the film's script was written by Carlos Fuentes and Nobel Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez. In an intimate session Ripstein told this critic: “I have subsequently collaborated with a number of important Latin American writers, including Joss Emilio Pancheco’s El Castillo De La Pureza /The Castle of Purity, (1974), and El Santo Oficio /Holy Office in the same year.; José Donoso El Lugar Sin Limites/Hell Has No Limits, in 1977, Vincente Leñero La Tía Alejandra /Aunt Alexandra in1978 and Luis Spota Cadena Perpetua/In For Life in the year 1978. I think the process came to enrich my directorial experience to a large extent.” 
He is rather more remorseful as he and his clan have always been treated as second-hand citizens and they seem to have acquired meaning thanks to a gaze imposed on them from outside. Said he: “When I was a young filmmaker, I realized that we were considered in different terms with respect to directors from other countries. I remember thinking: "Here, they ask you for your passport first, and then they consider your talent." You have to belong to a certain country and after that you have to prove that you can do something worthwhile. There was another cliché; European viewers expected films where...
In the 70s, Ripstein garnered mounting recognition for his films, particularly Holy Office, which was shown in competition at the 1974 Cannes Festival to high applause. The film narrates the sufferings of a Jewish family forced to flee to Mexico during the Spanish Inquisition. It may be mentioned the film drew on Ripstein's own Jewish heritage and provided a stark exploration of the claustrophobic elements and assumed identity. However, due to fund crunch for projects, Ripstein was forced to occasionally make commissioned films, such as La Ilegal/The Illegal Woman in 1979. Practically, he had to live on such commissioned films for survival in the visual medium. After directing The Realm of Fortune in 1987, which was based on a text by Juan Rolfo, he began working with his wife Paz Alicia Garciadiego, a collaboration that produced some of Ripstein's most significant films. Incidentally, one of Ripstein's more acclaimed efforts with Garciadiego was The Beginning and the End made in 1994. Based upon the novel by Nobel Prize-winning Egyptian author Naguib Mahfouz, the film has unbolted the disintegration of a family following the sudden death of the father. It won the San Sebastian Film Festival's Gold Shell award; that same year, Ripstein's The Queen of the Night (1994) was shown in competition at Cannes Festival. It presents a fictionalized biography of legendary Mexican singer Lucha Reyes and in its making he could not freeze out melodrama marked by tragedy with the authority of real-life occurrences.

Ripstein's most celebrated work is Deep Crimson made in 1996. Based upon the real-life Lonely Hearts Murders that took place in Mexico during the late 1940s, it was perhaps Ripstein's most full-blasted exploration of l'amour fou. The narrative reveals a crazy love that takes place between the film's main characters, a badly aging gigolo and an excessively overweight nurse with halitosis. The film looks rather controversial in many a way. To this Ripstein has retorted: “There's nothing like mad love: it shatters, corrupts, transforms...Nothing like mad love to break, tear down, and undo the house of social order. Nothing is more flippant, sacrilegious, or heretic. Nothing is more human." The film surprisingly won a number of awards at the Venice Film Festival and earned a Special Mention in Latin American Cinema at Sundance Festival. 

Ripstein in particular is much more concerned about the political and social climate dominating in Latin America. On this issue, Arturo Ripstein noted: “Only from a limited point of view, as it happens with Latin American literature. We are a dozen and a half countries sharing the same language; but a person from one of these countries could think that he is more like a Frenchman than Peruvian. Beyond the rigors of geography, I don't think that Latin America exists as a cinematic concept. It is very difficult to say that there is a clear parameter or a common sense of things among the films from all these countries.” He, however, believes with each day, movies resemble more and more a hegemonic model. According to him, not all of them, but those selected as the most important or determine new directions do conform to certain models. All of them share something in common and they all imitate gringo commercial films. 

In a personal mood, Ripstein told this critic: “The curve of progress to filmmaking has never been quite smooth for me as often I had to battle with the authority for crude and raw subjects tackled in my films. As my subjects are often satirical and sarcastic and make a dig at the system working in Mexixo, I often became the target of official attack for hitting hard truths.” The major breakthrough crowned him in 1997, when Ripstein was awarded the National Prize for the Arts in Mexico, becoming the only filmmaker aside from Buñuel to have received the honor. That same year, he began working on a new film, Divine, 1998). Based on actual events that took place in Mexico during the 1970s, it was a comedy of manners about a religious cult. The film was screened at Cannes. The following year, Ripstein's El Coronel No Tiene Quien Le Escriba/No One Writes to the Colonel, a masterpiece,  was made and also screened in competition at the prestigious film festivals. Based on García Márquez's novel, it is another study of a character trapped in a fatal destiny, driven into a hopeless void by his needy supplication to mere illusion. 

 

No One Writes to the Colonel, Arturo Ripstein's film based on a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novella, is about fragile hope sustained in the face of false expectations, about the survival of human dignity in the face of grinding poverty, about the triumph of love in the face of hunger, illness, age, and profound loss. The story has it that the colonel (Fernando Lujan) fought for three and a half years in a Mexican war waged by forces favoring an independent, secular state rather than a government dominated by the church. Now, decades later, he is still trying to obtain the pension to which he believes himself entitled - and which would relieve the destitute conditions in which he and his wife (Marisa Paredes) survive. Every week he dresses in suit and tie to meet the riverboat that brings the mail. But no one writes to the colonel and his ritual has become a source of hope which is all he has left. There is no money for food or for medicine for his asthmatic wife and they are threatened with the loss of their home as well. In such claustrophobic climate, Ripstein hold tenacity of two bold characters living on the verge of extinction. The expected pension and the potential game of cock are the only straws at which the old man can grasp. The pet cock is the only asset for the old Colonel and he is against selling it for physical survival.

No One Writes to the Colonel is an elegiac film in many a sense where the agile spirit for survival takes the uppermost chora, a space. Ripstein charges the screen frames with day-to-day incident in the colonel's life, a life in which a cigarette butt is picked up from the gutter to be smoked with pleasure. Here we have a tenebrous sense of feelings where a pair of new shoes is an occasion of rare luxury, where his wife sneaks into the local movie for her rare bit of amusement and escape. The going of the film is marked by folk wisdom and sad humour. The realism is invested with topical sensibility, tucking into the matrix of the work a rare humanism, grotesque lyricism and ring of truth. By degrees pieces of the past are revealed, particularly the story of what happened to the son who was killed by a circus acrobat, in a dispute that involved cock fighting and jealousy over a prostitute (Salma Hayek). The lost son ("My blood has died," the colonel weeps) is yet another element in their deprivation. In distraught state of time the Colonel acknowledges: “I don't know how to beg," And this brings to an end the sad pity we suffer while watching the film. On being an anti-Church, the Colonel also confronts a monstrous truth that Christianity plays as a part of tragic joke. We see how Ripstein doesn't shy away from the grimness here since he is a realist who eschews sentimentality. But, as his camera finds wonder in crumbling plaster and peeling paint, as it fondles the lined faces of these veterans of hardscrabble life, his characters retain their dignity and their humanity. They are optimistic survivors, living on the brink.  
  
 
Arcelia Ramirez in Reasons of the Heart
Next comes The Reasons of the Heart (2011) that explores themes of inexplicable passion, schizophrenia and despair. Arturo Ripstein seems to have adopted a new genre to pin on a subject glued to huge melancholia. This time he has chosen The Reasons of the Heart based on Madam Bovary, an all time controversial work. Shot entirely in black and white and inspired by Madame Bovary, as a sort of adaptation,  – The Reasons of the Heart plays on film-noir and theater aesthetics and dynamics. Made very consciously, Ripstein has felt the need to re-explore the inner wounds of a woman called Emilia, suffering from ambitious love for life and self-destruction. As we all know the film revolves around  a bored housewife Emilia and her passion-fuelled downward spiral to self-ruination .
In fact, Ripstein has only lifted the chosen part of the novel to vet when passionate love takes the route to irrational orgy of emotional purgation. Emilia’s life , as portrayed in the film, is vacant and only fulfilled (sometimes) by her infidelities and multiple imaginary whims. The treatment displays the catharsis of the woman protagonist of the film who seldom cares for her only child and frequently ridicules and punishes those around her for her mistakes which brings the downfall with an elegiac remorse. It may be mentioned Emilia’s vacuum of doom begins after her lover abandons her; the artistic and eccentric saxophone player, whom she projects her life-long dreams through. That irrational passion, wild and rabid one, does not hold is the primary subtext of the film. Such kind of films never straddles two poles of the issue be it love or human emotion. Ripstein surely plays with the vulnerable plot with dexterity.  The film takes us to the fatalism where Emilia’s despair destroys the lives of those around her and eventually destroys herself. The Reasons of the Heart is rightfully shot in black and white as the subject demands. When into the film, the performances stand-out so colorfully on their own. That being said, the film’s tendency to lean so much on over-dramatic and non-contextual dialogues proves to be a bit thick and ‘try-hard’ at times.
Engaging part of the film lies in its mute going without creating any grotesque elements. While Ripstein’s lustrous black-and-white rendering has a seductive luxury, Emma Bovary - or Emilia, as played to the hilt by Aracelia Ramirez. It presents a wearying company, and this may be claimed to be confined to the more dedicated end of the art market where festival exposure would seem prosperous.
According to Ripstein the working his its usual team, including wife and writer Paz Alicia Garciadiego. He places Emilia in a claustrophobic apartment block in Mexico, where she paces her 84-square-metre flat in over-ripe frustration, often clad in a dirty nightgown. Emilia’s problems aren’t, as to be expected, rooted in anything notable strophe.
Arturo Ripstein | El imperio de la fortuna (The Realm of Fortune)
russian roulette By Douglas Messerli   Paz Alicia Garciadiego (screenplay, based on a story by Juan Rulfo), Arturo Ripstein (director) El imperio de la fortuna (The Realm of Fortune) / 1986   If there is one thing Mexic...
2 days ago - Via Google+ - View -
https://plus.google.com/107860381336457800445 Pradip Biswas : ARTURO RIPSTEIN : ARCHITECT OF MODERN MEXICAN CINEMA PRADIP BISWAS, THE INDIAN EXPRESS NEWSPAPRS, INDIA...

ARTURO RIPSTEIN : ARCHITECT OF MODERN MEXICAN CINEMA
PRADIP BISWAS, THE INDIAN EXPRESS NEWSPAPRS, INDIA

JURY MEMBER INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL AND FRIBOURG INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, SWISS



“Human ingratitude knows no limits.”
Gabriel Garcia Marquez

 


The current Mexican cinema is modestly led by Arturo Ripstein, the maestro of innovative Mexican cinema now. It is indeed somewhat a good time for Mexican cinema as the production has jumped from 24 films to nearly 70 films annually. However, this quantum leap does not always assure “quality” films in the sense numbers do not sanctify. At least this is what the director Arturo Ripstein who visited Kolkata a few years back at the invitation of the Cine Central Calcutta, the largest film Society of India, revealed to this critic in an awful shock.

Here we need to know that the very Mexican cinema got the phenomenal boost when the Spanish director Luis Bunuel came to live in Mexico during 50s and 60s. Bunuel made nearly twelve films in the country as Franco’s Spain refused him stay in his own country. And Ripstein at the formative stage of his career worked as an assistant to Bunuel. And literally Ripstein initiated the movement for good cinema against the wave of conventional Hollywood films in Mexico along with the help of Garcia Marquez and Carlos Fuentes who collaborated in Ripstein’s first film To Die (1965).

Thus widely considered Mexico's most celebrated and respected contemporary filmmaker, as well as perhaps the only director to have truly inherited Luis Buñuel's mantle, Arturo Ripstein is a legend in his own right. His films have earned both fame and flack for taking melodrama to its macabre extremes. They reflect the director's fascination -- one shared by Buñuel -- with l'amour fou and claustrophobia. Although his films have been enthusiastically received outside of Mexico in France and Spain, Ripstein is largely unknown to American audience, a fact Ripstein has not contradicted.

A true protégé, Ripstein made his directorial debut in 1965 with Tiempo De Morir /Time to Die.  A story of murder and revenge, it explored many of the themes that the director would make the trademarks of his brand of "macabre melodrama" in the years to come. The most interesting facet of the debut film is that the film's script was written by Carlos Fuentes and Nobel Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez. In an intimate session Ripstein told this critic: “I have subsequently collaborated with a number of important Latin American writers, including Joss Emilio Pancheco’s El Castillo De La Pureza /The Castle of Purity, (1974), and El Santo Oficio /Holy Office in the same year.; José Donoso El Lugar Sin Limites/Hell Has No Limits, in 1977, Vincente Leñero La Tía Alejandra /Aunt Alexandra in1978 and Luis Spota Cadena Perpetua/In For Life in the year 1978. I think the process came to enrich my directorial experience to a large extent.” 
He is rather more remorseful as he and his clan have always been treated as second-hand citizens and they seem to have acquired meaning thanks to a gaze imposed on them from outside. Said he: “When I was a young filmmaker, I realized that we were considered in different terms with respect to directors from other countries. I remember thinking: "Here, they ask you for your passport first, and then they consider your talent." You have to belong to a certain country and after that you have to prove that you can do something worthwhile. There was another cliché; European viewers expected films where...
In the 70s, Ripstein garnered mounting recognition for his films, particularly Holy Office, which was shown in competition at the 1974 Cannes Festival to high applause. The film narrates the sufferings of a Jewish family forced to flee to Mexico during the Spanish Inquisition. It may be mentioned the film drew on Ripstein's own Jewish heritage and provided a stark exploration of the claustrophobic elements and assumed identity. However, due to fund crunch for projects, Ripstein was forced to occasionally make commissioned films, such as La Ilegal/The Illegal Woman in 1979. Practically, he had to live on such commissioned films for survival in the visual medium. After directing The Realm of Fortune in 1987, which was based on a text by Juan Rolfo, he began working with his wife Paz Alicia Garciadiego, a collaboration that produced some of Ripstein's most significant films. Incidentally, one of Ripstein's more acclaimed efforts with Garciadiego was The Beginning and the End made in 1994. Based upon the novel by Nobel Prize-winning Egyptian author Naguib Mahfouz, the film has unbolted the disintegration of a family following the sudden death of the father. It won the San Sebastian Film Festival's Gold Shell award; that same year, Ripstein's The Queen of the Night (1994) was shown in competition at Cannes Festival. It presents a fictionalized biography of legendary Mexican singer Lucha Reyes and in its making he could not freeze out melodrama marked by tragedy with the authority of real-life occurrences.

Ripstein's most celebrated work is Deep Crimson made in 1996. Based upon the real-life Lonely Hearts Murders that took place in Mexico during the late 1940s, it was perhaps Ripstein's most full-blasted exploration of l'amour fou. The narrative reveals a crazy love that takes place between the film's main characters, a badly aging gigolo and an excessively overweight nurse with halitosis. The film looks rather controversial in many a way. To this Ripstein has retorted: “There's nothing like mad love: it shatters, corrupts, transforms...Nothing like mad love to break, tear down, and undo the house of social order. Nothing is more flippant, sacrilegious, or heretic. Nothing is more human." The film surprisingly won a number of awards at the Venice Film Festival and earned a Special Mention in Latin American Cinema at Sundance Festival. 

Ripstein in particular is much more concerned about the political and social climate dominating in Latin America. On this issue, Arturo Ripstein noted: “Only from a limited point of view, as it happens with Latin American literature. We are a dozen and a half countries sharing the same language; but a person from one of these countries could think that he is more like a Frenchman than Peruvian. Beyond the rigors of geography, I don't think that Latin America exists as a cinematic concept. It is very difficult to say that there is a clear parameter or a common sense of things among the films from all these countries.” He, however, believes with each day, movies resemble more and more a hegemonic model. According to him, not all of them, but those selected as the most important or determine new directions do conform to certain models. All of them share something in common and they all imitate gringo commercial films. 

In a personal mood, Ripstein told this critic: “The curve of progress to filmmaking has never been quite smooth for me as often I had to battle with the authority for crude and raw subjects tackled in my films. As my subjects are often satirical and sarcastic and make a dig at the system working in Mexixo, I often became the target of official attack for hitting hard truths.” The major breakthrough crowned him in 1997, when Ripstein was awarded the National Prize for the Arts in Mexico, becoming the only filmmaker aside from Buñuel to have received the honor. That same year, he began working on a new film, Divine, 1998). Based on actual events that took place in Mexico during the 1970s, it was a comedy of manners about a religious cult. The film was screened at Cannes. The following year, Ripstein's El Coronel No Tiene Quien Le Escriba/No One Writes to the Colonel, a masterpiece,  was made and also screened in competition at the prestigious film festivals. Based on García Márquez's novel, it is another study of a character trapped in a fatal destiny, driven into a hopeless void by his needy supplication to mere illusion. 

 

No One Writes to the Colonel, Arturo Ripstein's film based on a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novella, is about fragile hope sustained in the face of false expectations, about the survival of human dignity in the face of grinding poverty, about the triumph of love in the face of hunger, illness, age, and profound loss. The story has it that the colonel (Fernando Lujan) fought for three and a half years in a Mexican war waged by forces favoring an independent, secular state rather than a government dominated by the church. Now, decades later, he is still trying to obtain the pension to which he believes himself entitled - and which would relieve the destitute conditions in which he and his wife (Marisa Paredes) survive. Every week he dresses in suit and tie to meet the riverboat that brings the mail. But no one writes to the colonel and his ritual has become a source of hope which is all he has left. There is no money for food or for medicine for his asthmatic wife and they are threatened with the loss of their home as well. In such claustrophobic climate, Ripstein hold tenacity of two bold characters living on the verge of extinction. The expected pension and the potential game of cock are the only straws at which the old man can grasp. The pet cock is the only asset for the old Colonel and he is against selling it for physical survival.

No One Writes to the Colonel is an elegiac film in many a sense where the agile spirit for survival takes the uppermost chora, a space. Ripstein charges the screen frames with day-to-day incident in the colonel's life, a life in which a cigarette butt is picked up from the gutter to be smoked with pleasure. Here we have a tenebrous sense of feelings where a pair of new shoes is an occasion of rare luxury, where his wife sneaks into the local movie for her rare bit of amusement and escape. The going of the film is marked by folk wisdom and sad humour. The realism is invested with topical sensibility, tucking into the matrix of the work a rare humanism, grotesque lyricism and ring of truth. By degrees pieces of the past are revealed, particularly the story of what happened to the son who was killed by a circus acrobat, in a dispute that involved cock fighting and jealousy over a prostitute (Salma Hayek). The lost son ("My blood has died," the colonel weeps) is yet another element in their deprivation. In distraught state of time the Colonel acknowledges: “I don't know how to beg," And this brings to an end the sad pity we suffer while watching the film. On being an anti-Church, the Colonel also confronts a monstrous truth that Christianity plays as a part of tragic joke. We see how Ripstein doesn't shy away from the grimness here since he is a realist who eschews sentimentality. But, as his camera finds wonder in crumbling plaster and peeling paint, as it fondles the lined faces of these veterans of hardscrabble life, his characters retain their dignity and their humanity. They are optimistic survivors, living on the brink.  
  
 
Arcelia Ramirez in Reasons of the Heart
Next comes The Reasons of the Heart (2011) that explores themes of inexplicable passion, schizophrenia and despair. Arturo Ripstein seems to have adopted a new genre to pin on a subject glued to huge melancholia. This time he has chosen The Reasons of the Heart based on Madam Bovary, an all time controversial work. Shot entirely in black and white and inspired by Madame Bovary, as a sort of adaptation,  – The Reasons of the Heart plays on film-noir and theater aesthetics and dynamics. Made very consciously, Ripstein has felt the need to re-explore the inner wounds of a woman called Emilia, suffering from ambitious love for life and self-destruction. As we all know the film revolves around  a bored housewife Emilia and her passion-fuelled downward spiral to self-ruination .
In fact, Ripstein has only lifted the chosen part of the novel to vet when passionate love takes the route to irrational orgy of emotional purgation. Emilia’s life , as portrayed in the film, is vacant and only fulfilled (sometimes) by her infidelities and multiple imaginary whims. The treatment displays the catharsis of the woman protagonist of the film who seldom cares for her only child and frequently ridicules and punishes those around her for her mistakes which brings the downfall with an elegiac remorse. It may be mentioned Emilia’s vacuum of doom begins after her lover abandons her; the artistic and eccentric saxophone player, whom she projects her life-long dreams through. That irrational passion, wild and rabid one, does not hold is the primary subtext of the film. Such kind of films never straddles two poles of the issue be it love or human emotion. Ripstein surely plays with the vulnerable plot with dexterity.  The film takes us to the fatalism where Emilia’s despair destroys the lives of those around her and eventually destroys herself. The Reasons of the Heart is rightfully shot in black and white as the subject demands. When into the film, the performances stand-out so colorfully on their own. That being said, the film’s tendency to lean so much on over-dramatic and non-contextual dialogues proves to be a bit thick and ‘try-hard’ at times.
Engaging part of the film lies in its mute going without creating any grotesque elements. While Ripstein’s lustrous black-and-white rendering has a seductive luxury, Emma Bovary - or Emilia, as played to the hilt by Aracelia Ramirez. It presents a wearying company, and this may be claimed to be confined to the more dedicated end of the art market where festival exposure would seem prosperous.
According to Ripstein the working his its usual team, including wife and writer Paz Alicia Garciadiego. He places Emilia in a claustrophobic apartment block in Mexico, where she paces her 84-square-metre flat in over-ripe frustration, often clad in a dirty nightgown. Emilia’s problems aren’t, as to be expected, rooted in anything notable strophe.
Arturo Ripstein | El imperio de la fortuna (The Realm of Fortune)
russian roulette By Douglas Messerli   Paz Alicia Garciadiego (screenplay, based on a story by Juan Rulfo), Arturo Ripstein (director) El imperio de la fortuna (The Realm of Fortune) / 1986   If there is one thing Mexic...
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https://plus.google.com/107860381336457800445 Pradip Biswas : ARTURO RIPSTEIN : ARCHITECT OF MODERN MEXICAN CINEMA PRADIP BISWAS, THE INDIAN EXPRESS NEWSPAPRS, INDIA...

ARTURO RIPSTEIN : ARCHITECT OF MODERN MEXICAN CINEMA
PRADIP BISWAS, THE INDIAN EXPRESS NEWSPAPRS, INDIA

JURY MEMBER INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL AND FRIBOURG INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, SWISS



“Human ingratitude knows no limits.”
Gabriel Garcia Marquez

 


The current Mexican cinema is modestly led by Arturo Ripstein, the maestro of innovative Mexican cinema now. It is indeed somewhat a good time for Mexican cinema as the production has jumped from 24 films to nearly 70 films annually. However, this quantum leap does not always assure “quality” films in the sense numbers do not sanctify. At least this is what the director Arturo Ripstein who visited Kolkata a few years back at the invitation of the Cine Central Calcutta, the largest film Society of India, revealed to this critic in an awful shock.

Here we need to know that the very Mexican cinema got the phenomenal boost when the Spanish director Luis Bunuel came to live in Mexico during 50s and 60s. Bunuel made nearly twelve films in the country as Franco’s Spain refused him stay in his own country. And Ripstein at the formative stage of his career worked as an assistant to Bunuel. And literally Ripstein initiated the movement for good cinema against the wave of conventional Hollywood films in Mexico along with the help of Garcia Marquez and Carlos Fuentes who collaborated in Ripstein’s first film To Die (1965).

Thus widely considered Mexico's most celebrated and respected contemporary filmmaker, as well as perhaps the only director to have truly inherited Luis Buñuel's mantle, Arturo Ripstein is a legend in his own right. His films have earned both fame and flack for taking melodrama to its macabre extremes. They reflect the director's fascination -- one shared by Buñuel -- with l'amour fou and claustrophobia. Although his films have been enthusiastically received outside of Mexico in France and Spain, Ripstein is largely unknown to American audience, a fact Ripstein has not contradicted.

A true protégé, Ripstein made his directorial debut in 1965 with Tiempo De Morir /Time to Die.  A story of murder and revenge, it explored many of the themes that the director would make the trademarks of his brand of "macabre melodrama" in the years to come. The most interesting facet of the debut film is that the film's script was written by Carlos Fuentes and Nobel Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez. In an intimate session Ripstein told this critic: “I have subsequently collaborated with a number of important Latin American writers, including Joss Emilio Pancheco’s El Castillo De La Pureza /The Castle of Purity, (1974), and El Santo Oficio /Holy Office in the same year.; José Donoso El Lugar Sin Limites/Hell Has No Limits, in 1977, Vincente Leñero La Tía Alejandra /Aunt Alexandra in1978 and Luis Spota Cadena Perpetua/In For Life in the year 1978. I think the process came to enrich my directorial experience to a large extent.” 
He is rather more remorseful as he and his clan have always been treated as second-hand citizens and they seem to have acquired meaning thanks to a gaze imposed on them from outside. Said he: “When I was a young filmmaker, I realized that we were considered in different terms with respect to directors from other countries. I remember thinking: "Here, they ask you for your passport first, and then they consider your talent." You have to belong to a certain country and after that you have to prove that you can do something worthwhile. There was another cliché; European viewers expected films where...
In the 70s, Ripstein garnered mounting recognition for his films, particularly Holy Office, which was shown in competition at the 1974 Cannes Festival to high applause. The film narrates the sufferings of a Jewish family forced to flee to Mexico during the Spanish Inquisition. It may be mentioned the film drew on Ripstein's own Jewish heritage and provided a stark exploration of the claustrophobic elements and assumed identity. However, due to fund crunch for projects, Ripstein was forced to occasionally make commissioned films, such as La Ilegal/The Illegal Woman in 1979. Practically, he had to live on such commissioned films for survival in the visual medium. After directing The Realm of Fortune in 1987, which was based on a text by Juan Rolfo, he began working with his wife Paz Alicia Garciadiego, a collaboration that produced some of Ripstein's most significant films. Incidentally, one of Ripstein's more acclaimed efforts with Garciadiego was The Beginning and the End made in 1994. Based upon the novel by Nobel Prize-winning Egyptian author Naguib Mahfouz, the film has unbolted the disintegration of a family following the sudden death of the father. It won the San Sebastian Film Festival's Gold Shell award; that same year, Ripstein's The Queen of the Night (1994) was shown in competition at Cannes Festival. It presents a fictionalized biography of legendary Mexican singer Lucha Reyes and in its making he could not freeze out melodrama marked by tragedy with the authority of real-life occurrences.

Ripstein's most celebrated work is Deep Crimson made in 1996. Based upon the real-life Lonely Hearts Murders that took place in Mexico during the late 1940s, it was perhaps Ripstein's most full-blasted exploration of l'amour fou. The narrative reveals a crazy love that takes place between the film's main characters, a badly aging gigolo and an excessively overweight nurse with halitosis. The film looks rather controversial in many a way. To this Ripstein has retorted: “There's nothing like mad love: it shatters, corrupts, transforms...Nothing like mad love to break, tear down, and undo the house of social order. Nothing is more flippant, sacrilegious, or heretic. Nothing is more human." The film surprisingly won a number of awards at the Venice Film Festival and earned a Special Mention in Latin American Cinema at Sundance Festival. 

Ripstein in particular is much more concerned about the political and social climate dominating in Latin America. On this issue, Arturo Ripstein noted: “Only from a limited point of view, as it happens with Latin American literature. We are a dozen and a half countries sharing the same language; but a person from one of these countries could think that he is more like a Frenchman than Peruvian. Beyond the rigors of geography, I don't think that Latin America exists as a cinematic concept. It is very difficult to say that there is a clear parameter or a common sense of things among the films from all these countries.” He, however, believes with each day, movies resemble more and more a hegemonic model. According to him, not all of them, but those selected as the most important or determine new directions do conform to certain models. All of them share something in common and they all imitate gringo commercial films. 

In a personal mood, Ripstein told this critic: “The curve of progress to filmmaking has never been quite smooth for me as often I had to battle with the authority for crude and raw subjects tackled in my films. As my subjects are often satirical and sarcastic and make a dig at the system working in Mexixo, I often became the target of official attack for hitting hard truths.” The major breakthrough crowned him in 1997, when Ripstein was awarded the National Prize for the Arts in Mexico, becoming the only filmmaker aside from Buñuel to have received the honor. That same year, he began working on a new film, Divine, 1998). Based on actual events that took place in Mexico during the 1970s, it was a comedy of manners about a religious cult. The film was screened at Cannes. The following year, Ripstein's El Coronel No Tiene Quien Le Escriba/No One Writes to the Colonel, a masterpiece,  was made and also screened in competition at the prestigious film festivals. Based on García Márquez's novel, it is another study of a character trapped in a fatal destiny, driven into a hopeless void by his needy supplication to mere illusion. 

 

No One Writes to the Colonel, Arturo Ripstein's film based on a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novella, is about fragile hope sustained in the face of false expectations, about the survival of human dignity in the face of grinding poverty, about the triumph of love in the face of hunger, illness, age, and profound loss. The story has it that the colonel (Fernando Lujan) fought for three and a half years in a Mexican war waged by forces favoring an independent, secular state rather than a government dominated by the church. Now, decades later, he is still trying to obtain the pension to which he believes himself entitled - and which would relieve the destitute conditions in which he and his wife (Marisa Paredes) survive. Every week he dresses in suit and tie to meet the riverboat that brings the mail. But no one writes to the colonel and his ritual has become a source of hope which is all he has left. There is no money for food or for medicine for his asthmatic wife and they are threatened with the loss of their home as well. In such claustrophobic climate, Ripstein hold tenacity of two bold characters living on the verge of extinction. The expected pension and the potential game of cock are the only straws at which the old man can grasp. The pet cock is the only asset for the old Colonel and he is against selling it for physical survival.

No One Writes to the Colonel is an elegiac film in many a sense where the agile spirit for survival takes the uppermost chora, a space. Ripstein charges the screen frames with day-to-day incident in the colonel's life, a life in which a cigarette butt is picked up from the gutter to be smoked with pleasure. Here we have a tenebrous sense of feelings where a pair of new shoes is an occasion of rare luxury, where his wife sneaks into the local movie for her rare bit of amusement and escape. The going of the film is marked by folk wisdom and sad humour. The realism is invested with topical sensibility, tucking into the matrix of the work a rare humanism, grotesque lyricism and ring of truth. By degrees pieces of the past are revealed, particularly the story of what happened to the son who was killed by a circus acrobat, in a dispute that involved cock fighting and jealousy over a prostitute (Salma Hayek). The lost son ("My blood has died," the colonel weeps) is yet another element in their deprivation. In distraught state of time the Colonel acknowledges: “I don't know how to beg," And this brings to an end the sad pity we suffer while watching the film. On being an anti-Church, the Colonel also confronts a monstrous truth that Christianity plays as a part of tragic joke. We see how Ripstein doesn't shy away from the grimness here since he is a realist who eschews sentimentality. But, as his camera finds wonder in crumbling plaster and peeling paint, as it fondles the lined faces of these veterans of hardscrabble life, his characters retain their dignity and their humanity. They are optimistic survivors, living on the brink.  
  
 
Arcelia Ramirez in Reasons of the Heart
Next comes The Reasons of the Heart (2011) that explores themes of inexplicable passion, schizophrenia and despair. Arturo Ripstein seems to have adopted a new genre to pin on a subject glued to huge melancholia. This time he has chosen The Reasons of the Heart based on Madam Bovary, an all time controversial work. Shot entirely in black and white and inspired by Madame Bovary, as a sort of adaptation,  – The Reasons of the Heart plays on film-noir and theater aesthetics and dynamics. Made very consciously, Ripstein has felt the need to re-explore the inner wounds of a woman called Emilia, suffering from ambitious love for life and self-destruction. As we all know the film revolves around  a bored housewife Emilia and her passion-fuelled downward spiral to self-ruination .
In fact, Ripstein has only lifted the chosen part of the novel to vet when passionate love takes the route to irrational orgy of emotional purgation. Emilia’s life , as portrayed in the film, is vacant and only fulfilled (sometimes) by her infidelities and multiple imaginary whims. The treatment displays the catharsis of the woman protagonist of the film who seldom cares for her only child and frequently ridicules and punishes those around her for her mistakes which brings the downfall with an elegiac remorse. It may be mentioned Emilia’s vacuum of doom begins after her lover abandons her; the artistic and eccentric saxophone player, whom she projects her life-long dreams through. That irrational passion, wild and rabid one, does not hold is the primary subtext of the film. Such kind of films never straddles two poles of the issue be it love or human emotion. Ripstein surely plays with the vulnerable plot with dexterity.  The film takes us to the fatalism where Emilia’s despair destroys the lives of those around her and eventually destroys herself. The Reasons of the Heart is rightfully shot in black and white as the subject demands. When into the film, the performances stand-out so colorfully on their own. That being said, the film’s tendency to lean so much on over-dramatic and non-contextual dialogues proves to be a bit thick and ‘try-hard’ at times.
Engaging part of the film lies in its mute going without creating any grotesque elements. While Ripstein’s lustrous black-and-white rendering has a seductive luxury, Emma Bovary - or Emilia, as played to the hilt by Aracelia Ramirez. It presents a wearying company, and this may be claimed to be confined to the more dedicated end of the art market where festival exposure would seem prosperous.
According to Ripstein the working his its usual team, including wife and writer Paz Alicia Garciadiego. He places Emilia in a claustrophobic apartment block in Mexico, where she paces her 84-square-metre flat in over-ripe frustration, often clad in a dirty nightgown. Emilia’s problems aren’t, as to be expected, rooted in anything notable strophe.
Arturo Ripstein | El imperio de la fortuna (The Realm of Fortune)
russian roulette By Douglas Messerli   Paz Alicia Garciadiego (screenplay, based on a story by Juan Rulfo), Arturo Ripstein (director) El imperio de la fortuna (The Realm of Fortune) / 1986   If there is one thing Mexic...
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https://plus.google.com/107860381336457800445 Pradip Biswas : ARTURO RIPSTEIN : ARCHITECT OF MODERN MEXICAN CINEMA PRADIP BISWAS, THE INDIAN EXPRESS NEWSPAPRS, INDIA...

ARTURO RIPSTEIN : ARCHITECT OF MODERN MEXICAN CINEMA
PRADIP BISWAS, THE INDIAN EXPRESS NEWSPAPRS, INDIA

JURY MEMBER INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL AND FRIBOURG INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, SWISS



“Human ingratitude knows no limits.”
Gabriel Garcia Marquez

 


The current Mexican cinema is modestly led by Arturo Ripstein, the maestro of innovative Mexican cinema now. It is indeed somewhat a good time for Mexican cinema as the production has jumped from 24 films to nearly 70 films annually. However, this quantum leap does not always assure “quality” films in the sense numbers do not sanctify. At least this is what the director Arturo Ripstein who visited Kolkata a few years back at the invitation of the Cine Central Calcutta, the largest film Society of India, revealed to this critic in an awful shock.

Here we need to know that the very Mexican cinema got the phenomenal boost when the Spanish director Luis Bunuel came to live in Mexico during 50s and 60s. Bunuel made nearly twelve films in the country as Franco’s Spain refused him stay in his own country. And Ripstein at the formative stage of his career worked as an assistant to Bunuel. And literally Ripstein initiated the movement for good cinema against the wave of conventional Hollywood films in Mexico along with the help of Garcia Marquez and Carlos Fuentes who collaborated in Ripstein’s first film To Die (1965).

Thus widely considered Mexico's most celebrated and respected contemporary filmmaker, as well as perhaps the only director to have truly inherited Luis Buñuel's mantle, Arturo Ripstein is a legend in his own right. His films have earned both fame and flack for taking melodrama to its macabre extremes. They reflect the director's fascination -- one shared by Buñuel -- with l'amour fou and claustrophobia. Although his films have been enthusiastically received outside of Mexico in France and Spain, Ripstein is largely unknown to American audience, a fact Ripstein has not contradicted.

A true protégé, Ripstein made his directorial debut in 1965 with Tiempo De Morir /Time to Die.  A story of murder and revenge, it explored many of the themes that the director would make the trademarks of his brand of "macabre melodrama" in the years to come. The most interesting facet of the debut film is that the film's script was written by Carlos Fuentes and Nobel Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez. In an intimate session Ripstein told this critic: “I have subsequently collaborated with a number of important Latin American writers, including Joss Emilio Pancheco’s El Castillo De La Pureza /The Castle of Purity, (1974), and El Santo Oficio /Holy Office in the same year.; José Donoso El Lugar Sin Limites/Hell Has No Limits, in 1977, Vincente Leñero La Tía Alejandra /Aunt Alexandra in1978 and Luis Spota Cadena Perpetua/In For Life in the year 1978. I think the process came to enrich my directorial experience to a large extent.” 
He is rather more remorseful as he and his clan have always been treated as second-hand citizens and they seem to have acquired meaning thanks to a gaze imposed on them from outside. Said he: “When I was a young filmmaker, I realized that we were considered in different terms with respect to directors from other countries. I remember thinking: "Here, they ask you for your passport first, and then they consider your talent." You have to belong to a certain country and after that you have to prove that you can do something worthwhile. There was another cliché; European viewers expected films where...
In the 70s, Ripstein garnered mounting recognition for his films, particularly Holy Office, which was shown in competition at the 1974 Cannes Festival to high applause. The film narrates the sufferings of a Jewish family forced to flee to Mexico during the Spanish Inquisition. It may be mentioned the film drew on Ripstein's own Jewish heritage and provided a stark exploration of the claustrophobic elements and assumed identity. However, due to fund crunch for projects, Ripstein was forced to occasionally make commissioned films, such as La Ilegal/The Illegal Woman in 1979. Practically, he had to live on such commissioned films for survival in the visual medium. After directing The Realm of Fortune in 1987, which was based on a text by Juan Rolfo, he began working with his wife Paz Alicia Garciadiego, a collaboration that produced some of Ripstein's most significant films. Incidentally, one of Ripstein's more acclaimed efforts with Garciadiego was The Beginning and the End made in 1994. Based upon the novel by Nobel Prize-winning Egyptian author Naguib Mahfouz, the film has unbolted the disintegration of a family following the sudden death of the father. It won the San Sebastian Film Festival's Gold Shell award; that same year, Ripstein's The Queen of the Night (1994) was shown in competition at Cannes Festival. It presents a fictionalized biography of legendary Mexican singer Lucha Reyes and in its making he could not freeze out melodrama marked by tragedy with the authority of real-life occurrences.

Ripstein's most celebrated work is Deep Crimson made in 1996. Based upon the real-life Lonely Hearts Murders that took place in Mexico during the late 1940s, it was perhaps Ripstein's most full-blasted exploration of l'amour fou. The narrative reveals a crazy love that takes place between the film's main characters, a badly aging gigolo and an excessively overweight nurse with halitosis. The film looks rather controversial in many a way. To this Ripstein has retorted: “There's nothing like mad love: it shatters, corrupts, transforms...Nothing like mad love to break, tear down, and undo the house of social order. Nothing is more flippant, sacrilegious, or heretic. Nothing is more human." The film surprisingly won a number of awards at the Venice Film Festival and earned a Special Mention in Latin American Cinema at Sundance Festival. 

Ripstein in particular is much more concerned about the political and social climate dominating in Latin America. On this issue, Arturo Ripstein noted: “Only from a limited point of view, as it happens with Latin American literature. We are a dozen and a half countries sharing the same language; but a person from one of these countries could think that he is more like a Frenchman than Peruvian. Beyond the rigors of geography, I don't think that Latin America exists as a cinematic concept. It is very difficult to say that there is a clear parameter or a common sense of things among the films from all these countries.” He, however, believes with each day, movies resemble more and more a hegemonic model. According to him, not all of them, but those selected as the most important or determine new directions do conform to certain models. All of them share something in common and they all imitate gringo commercial films. 

In a personal mood, Ripstein told this critic: “The curve of progress to filmmaking has never been quite smooth for me as often I had to battle with the authority for crude and raw subjects tackled in my films. As my subjects are often satirical and sarcastic and make a dig at the system working in Mexixo, I often became the target of official attack for hitting hard truths.” The major breakthrough crowned him in 1997, when Ripstein was awarded the National Prize for the Arts in Mexico, becoming the only filmmaker aside from Buñuel to have received the honor. That same year, he began working on a new film, Divine, 1998). Based on actual events that took place in Mexico during the 1970s, it was a comedy of manners about a religious cult. The film was screened at Cannes. The following year, Ripstein's El Coronel No Tiene Quien Le Escriba/No One Writes to the Colonel, a masterpiece,  was made and also screened in competition at the prestigious film festivals. Based on García Márquez's novel, it is another study of a character trapped in a fatal destiny, driven into a hopeless void by his needy supplication to mere illusion. 

 

No One Writes to the Colonel, Arturo Ripstein's film based on a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novella, is about fragile hope sustained in the face of false expectations, about the survival of human dignity in the face of grinding poverty, about the triumph of love in the face of hunger, illness, age, and profound loss. The story has it that the colonel (Fernando Lujan) fought for three and a half years in a Mexican war waged by forces favoring an independent, secular state rather than a government dominated by the church. Now, decades later, he is still trying to obtain the pension to which he believes himself entitled - and which would relieve the destitute conditions in which he and his wife (Marisa Paredes) survive. Every week he dresses in suit and tie to meet the riverboat that brings the mail. But no one writes to the colonel and his ritual has become a source of hope which is all he has left. There is no money for food or for medicine for his asthmatic wife and they are threatened with the loss of their home as well. In such claustrophobic climate, Ripstein hold tenacity of two bold characters living on the verge of extinction. The expected pension and the potential game of cock are the only straws at which the old man can grasp. The pet cock is the only asset for the old Colonel and he is against selling it for physical survival.

No One Writes to the Colonel is an elegiac film in many a sense where the agile spirit for survival takes the uppermost chora, a space. Ripstein charges the screen frames with day-to-day incident in the colonel's life, a life in which a cigarette butt is picked up from the gutter to be smoked with pleasure. Here we have a tenebrous sense of feelings where a pair of new shoes is an occasion of rare luxury, where his wife sneaks into the local movie for her rare bit of amusement and escape. The going of the film is marked by folk wisdom and sad humour. The realism is invested with topical sensibility, tucking into the matrix of the work a rare humanism, grotesque lyricism and ring of truth. By degrees pieces of the past are revealed, particularly the story of what happened to the son who was killed by a circus acrobat, in a dispute that involved cock fighting and jealousy over a prostitute (Salma Hayek). The lost son ("My blood has died," the colonel weeps) is yet another element in their deprivation. In distraught state of time the Colonel acknowledges: “I don't know how to beg," And this brings to an end the sad pity we suffer while watching the film. On being an anti-Church, the Colonel also confronts a monstrous truth that Christianity plays as a part of tragic joke. We see how Ripstein doesn't shy away from the grimness here since he is a realist who eschews sentimentality. But, as his camera finds wonder in crumbling plaster and peeling paint, as it fondles the lined faces of these veterans of hardscrabble life, his characters retain their dignity and their humanity. They are optimistic survivors, living on the brink.  
  
 
Arcelia Ramirez in Reasons of the Heart
Next comes The Reasons of the Heart (2011) that explores themes of inexplicable passion, schizophrenia and despair. Arturo Ripstein seems to have adopted a new genre to pin on a subject glued to huge melancholia. This time he has chosen The Reasons of the Heart based on Madam Bovary, an all time controversial work. Shot entirely in black and white and inspired by Madame Bovary, as a sort of adaptation,  – The Reasons of the Heart plays on film-noir and theater aesthetics and dynamics. Made very consciously, Ripstein has felt the need to re-explore the inner wounds of a woman called Emilia, suffering from ambitious love for life and self-destruction. As we all know the film revolves around  a bored housewife Emilia and her passion-fuelled downward spiral to self-ruination .
In fact, Ripstein has only lifted the chosen part of the novel to vet when passionate love takes the route to irrational orgy of emotional purgation. Emilia’s life , as portrayed in the film, is vacant and only fulfilled (sometimes) by her infidelities and multiple imaginary whims. The treatment displays the catharsis of the woman protagonist of the film who seldom cares for her only child and frequently ridicules and punishes those around her for her mistakes which brings the downfall with an elegiac remorse. It may be mentioned Emilia’s vacuum of doom begins after her lover abandons her; the artistic and eccentric saxophone player, whom she projects her life-long dreams through. That irrational passion, wild and rabid one, does not hold is the primary subtext of the film. Such kind of films never straddles two poles of the issue be it love or human emotion. Ripstein surely plays with the vulnerable plot with dexterity.  The film takes us to the fatalism where Emilia’s despair destroys the lives of those around her and eventually destroys herself. The Reasons of the Heart is rightfully shot in black and white as the subject demands. When into the film, the performances stand-out so colorfully on their own. That being said, the film’s tendency to lean so much on over-dramatic and non-contextual dialogues proves to be a bit thick and ‘try-hard’ at times.
Engaging part of the film lies in its mute going without creating any grotesque elements. While Ripstein’s lustrous black-and-white rendering has a seductive luxury, Emma Bovary - or Emilia, as played to the hilt by Aracelia Ramirez. It presents a wearying company, and this may be claimed to be confined to the more dedicated end of the art market where festival exposure would seem prosperous.
According to Ripstein the working his its usual team, including wife and writer Paz Alicia Garciadiego. He places Emilia in a claustrophobic apartment block in Mexico, where she paces her 84-square-metre flat in over-ripe frustration, often clad in a dirty nightgown. Emilia’s problems aren’t, as to be expected, rooted in anything notable strophe.
Arturo Ripstein | El imperio de la fortuna (The Realm of Fortune)
russian roulette By Douglas Messerli   Paz Alicia Garciadiego (screenplay, based on a story by Juan Rulfo), Arturo Ripstein (director) El imperio de la fortuna (The Realm of Fortune) / 1986   If there is one thing Mexic...
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ARTURO RIPSTEIN : ARCHITECT OF MODERN MEXICAN CINEMA
PRADIP BISWAS, THE INDIAN EXPRESS NEWSPAPRS, INDIA

JURY MEMBER INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL AND FRIBOURG INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, SWISS



“Human ingratitude knows no limits.”
Gabriel Garcia Marquez

 


The current Mexican cinema is modestly led by Arturo Ripstein, the maestro of innovative Mexican cinema now. It is indeed somewhat a good time for Mexican cinema as the production has jumped from 24 films to nearly 70 films annually. However, this quantum leap does not always assure “quality” films in the sense numbers do not sanctify. At least this is what the director Arturo Ripstein who visited Kolkata a few years back at the invitation of the Cine Central Calcutta, the largest film Society of India, revealed to this critic in an awful shock.

Here we need to know that the very Mexican cinema got the phenomenal boost when the Spanish director Luis Bunuel came to live in Mexico during 50s and 60s. Bunuel made nearly twelve films in the country as Franco’s Spain refused him stay in his own country. And Ripstein at the formative stage of his career worked as an assistant to Bunuel. And literally Ripstein initiated the movement for good cinema against the wave of conventional Hollywood films in Mexico along with the help of Garcia Marquez and Carlos Fuentes who collaborated in Ripstein’s first film To Die (1965).

Thus widely considered Mexico's most celebrated and respected contemporary filmmaker, as well as perhaps the only director to have truly inherited Luis Buñuel's mantle, Arturo Ripstein is a legend in his own right. His films have earned both fame and flack for taking melodrama to its macabre extremes. They reflect the director's fascination -- one shared by Buñuel -- with l'amour fou and claustrophobia. Although his films have been enthusiastically received outside of Mexico in France and Spain, Ripstein is largely unknown to American audience, a fact Ripstein has not contradicted.

A true protégé, Ripstein made his directorial debut in 1965 with Tiempo De Morir /Time to Die.  A story of murder and revenge, it explored many of the themes that the director would make the trademarks of his brand of "macabre melodrama" in the years to come. The most interesting facet of the debut film is that the film's script was written by Carlos Fuentes and Nobel Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez. In an intimate session Ripstein told this critic: “I have subsequently collaborated with a number of important Latin American writers, including Joss Emilio Pancheco’s El Castillo De La Pureza /The Castle of Purity, (1974), and El Santo Oficio /Holy Office in the same year.; José Donoso El Lugar Sin Limites/Hell Has No Limits, in 1977, Vincente Leñero La Tía Alejandra /Aunt Alexandra in1978 and Luis Spota Cadena Perpetua/In For Life in the year 1978. I think the process came to enrich my directorial experience to a large extent.” 
He is rather more remorseful as he and his clan have always been treated as second-hand citizens and they seem to have acquired meaning thanks to a gaze imposed on them from outside. Said he: “When I was a young filmmaker, I realized that we were considered in different terms with respect to directors from other countries. I remember thinking: "Here, they ask you for your passport first, and then they consider your talent." You have to belong to a certain country and after that you have to prove that you can do something worthwhile. There was another cliché; European viewers expected films where...
In the 70s, Ripstein garnered mounting recognition for his films, particularly Holy Office, which was shown in competition at the 1974 Cannes Festival to high applause. The film narrates the sufferings of a Jewish family forced to flee to Mexico during the Spanish Inquisition. It may be mentioned the film drew on Ripstein's own Jewish heritage and provided a stark exploration of the claustrophobic elements and assumed identity. However, due to fund crunch for projects, Ripstein was forced to occasionally make commissioned films, such as La Ilegal/The Illegal Woman in 1979. Practically, he had to live on such commissioned films for survival in the visual medium. After directing The Realm of Fortune in 1987, which was based on a text by Juan Rolfo, he began working with his wife Paz Alicia Garciadiego, a collaboration that produced some of Ripstein's most significant films. Incidentally, one of Ripstein's more acclaimed efforts with Garciadiego was The Beginning and the End made in 1994. Based upon the novel by Nobel Prize-winning Egyptian author Naguib Mahfouz, the film has unbolted the disintegration of a family following the sudden death of the father. It won the San Sebastian Film Festival's Gold Shell award; that same year, Ripstein's The Queen of the Night (1994) was shown in competition at Cannes Festival. It presents a fictionalized biography of legendary Mexican singer Lucha Reyes and in its making he could not freeze out melodrama marked by tragedy with the authority of real-life occurrences.

Ripstein's most celebrated work is Deep Crimson made in 1996. Based upon the real-life Lonely Hearts Murders that took place in Mexico during the late 1940s, it was perhaps Ripstein's most full-blasted exploration of l'amour fou. The narrative reveals a crazy love that takes place between the film's main characters, a badly aging gigolo and an excessively overweight nurse with halitosis. The film looks rather controversial in many a way. To this Ripstein has retorted: “There's nothing like mad love: it shatters, corrupts, transforms...Nothing like mad love to break, tear down, and undo the house of social order. Nothing is more flippant, sacrilegious, or heretic. Nothing is more human." The film surprisingly won a number of awards at the Venice Film Festival and earned a Special Mention in Latin American Cinema at Sundance Festival. 

Ripstein in particular is much more concerned about the political and social climate dominating in Latin America. On this issue, Arturo Ripstein noted: “Only from a limited point of view, as it happens with Latin American literature. We are a dozen and a half countries sharing the same language; but a person from one of these countries could think that he is more like a Frenchman than Peruvian. Beyond the rigors of geography, I don't think that Latin America exists as a cinematic concept. It is very difficult to say that there is a clear parameter or a common sense of things among the films from all these countries.” He, however, believes with each day, movies resemble more and more a hegemonic model. According to him, not all of them, but those selected as the most important or determine new directions do conform to certain models. All of them share something in common and they all imitate gringo commercial films. 

In a personal mood, Ripstein told this critic: “The curve of progress to filmmaking has never been quite smooth for me as often I had to battle with the authority for crude and raw subjects tackled in my films. As my subjects are often satirical and sarcastic and make a dig at the system working in Mexixo, I often became the target of official attack for hitting hard truths.” The major breakthrough crowned him in 1997, when Ripstein was awarded the National Prize for the Arts in Mexico, becoming the only filmmaker aside from Buñuel to have received the honor. That same year, he began working on a new film, Divine, 1998). Based on actual events that took place in Mexico during the 1970s, it was a comedy of manners about a religious cult. The film was screened at Cannes. The following year, Ripstein's El Coronel No Tiene Quien Le Escriba/No One Writes to the Colonel, a masterpiece,  was made and also screened in competition at the prestigious film festivals. Based on García Márquez's novel, it is another study of a character trapped in a fatal destiny, driven into a hopeless void by his needy supplication to mere illusion. 

 

No One Writes to the Colonel, Arturo Ripstein's film based on a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novella, is about fragile hope sustained in the face of false expectations, about the survival of human dignity in the face of grinding poverty, about the triumph of love in the face of hunger, illness, age, and profound loss. The story has it that the colonel (Fernando Lujan) fought for three and a half years in a Mexican war waged by forces favoring an independent, secular state rather than a government dominated by the church. Now, decades later, he is still trying to obtain the pension to which he believes himself entitled - and which would relieve the destitute conditions in which he and his wife (Marisa Paredes) survive. Every week he dresses in suit and tie to meet the riverboat that brings the mail. But no one writes to the colonel and his ritual has become a source of hope which is all he has left. There is no money for food or for medicine for his asthmatic wife and they are threatened with the loss of their home as well. In such claustrophobic climate, Ripstein hold tenacity of two bold characters living on the verge of extinction. The expected pension and the potential game of cock are the only straws at which the old man can grasp. The pet cock is the only asset for the old Colonel and he is against selling it for physical survival.

No One Writes to the Colonel is an elegiac film in many a sense where the agile spirit for survival takes the uppermost chora, a space. Ripstein charges the screen frames with day-to-day incident in the colonel's life, a life in which a cigarette butt is picked up from the gutter to be smoked with pleasure. Here we have a tenebrous sense of feelings where a pair of new shoes is an occasion of rare luxury, where his wife sneaks into the local movie for her rare bit of amusement and escape. The going of the film is marked by folk wisdom and sad humour. The realism is invested with topical sensibility, tucking into the matrix of the work a rare humanism, grotesque lyricism and ring of truth. By degrees pieces of the past are revealed, particularly the story of what happened to the son who was killed by a circus acrobat, in a dispute that involved cock fighting and jealousy over a prostitute (Salma Hayek). The lost son ("My blood has died," the colonel weeps) is yet another element in their deprivation. In distraught state of time the Colonel acknowledges: “I don't know how to beg," And this brings to an end the sad pity we suffer while watching the film. On being an anti-Church, the Colonel also confronts a monstrous truth that Christianity plays as a part of tragic joke. We see how Ripstein doesn't shy away from the grimness here since he is a realist who eschews sentimentality. But, as his camera finds wonder in crumbling plaster and peeling paint, as it fondles the lined faces of these veterans of hardscrabble life, his characters retain their dignity and their humanity. They are optimistic survivors, living on the brink.  
  
 
Arcelia Ramirez in Reasons of the Heart
Next comes The Reasons of the Heart (2011) that explores themes of inexplicable passion, schizophrenia and despair. Arturo Ripstein seems to have adopted a new genre to pin on a subject glued to huge melancholia. This time he has chosen The Reasons of the Heart based on Madam Bovary, an all time controversial work. Shot entirely in black and white and inspired by Madame Bovary, as a sort of adaptation,  – The Reasons of the Heart plays on film-noir and theater aesthetics and dynamics. Made very consciously, Ripstein has felt the need to re-explore the inner wounds of a woman called Emilia, suffering from ambitious love for life and self-destruction. As we all know the film revolves around  a bored housewife Emilia and her passion-fuelled downward spiral to self-ruination .
In fact, Ripstein has only lifted the chosen part of the novel to vet when passionate love takes the route to irrational orgy of emotional purgation. Emilia’s life , as portrayed in the film, is vacant and only fulfilled (sometimes) by her infidelities and multiple imaginary whims. The treatment displays the catharsis of the woman protagonist of the film who seldom cares for her only child and frequently ridicules and punishes those around her for her mistakes which brings the downfall with an elegiac remorse. It may be mentioned Emilia’s vacuum of doom begins after her lover abandons her; the artistic and eccentric saxophone player, whom she projects her life-long dreams through. That irrational passion, wild and rabid one, does not hold is the primary subtext of the film. Such kind of films never straddles two poles of the issue be it love or human emotion. Ripstein surely plays with the vulnerable plot with dexterity.  The film takes us to the fatalism where Emilia’s despair destroys the lives of those around her and eventually destroys herself. The Reasons of the Heart is rightfully shot in black and white as the subject demands. When into the film, the performances stand-out so colorfully on their own. That being said, the film’s tendency to lean so much on over-dramatic and non-contextual dialogues proves to be a bit thick and ‘try-hard’ at times.
Engaging part of the film lies in its mute going without creating any grotesque elements. While Ripstein’s lustrous black-and-white rendering has a seductive luxury, Emma Bovary - or Emilia, as played to the hilt by Aracelia Ramirez. It presents a wearying company, and this may be claimed to be confined to the more dedicated end of the art market where festival exposure would seem prosperous.
According to Ripstein the working his its usual team, including wife and writer Paz Alicia Garciadiego. He places Emilia in a claustrophobic apartment block in Mexico, where she paces her 84-square-metre flat in over-ripe frustration, often clad in a dirty nightgown. Emilia’s problems aren’t, as to be expected, rooted in anything notable strophe.
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https://plus.google.com/107860381336457800445 Pradip Biswas : ARTURO RIPSTEIN : ARCHITECT OF MODERN MEXICAN CINEMA PRADIP BISWAS, THE INDIAN EXPRESS NEWSPAPRS, INDIA...

ARTURO RIPSTEIN : ARCHITECT OF MODERN MEXICAN CINEMA
PRADIP BISWAS, THE INDIAN EXPRESS NEWSPAPRS, INDIA

JURY MEMBER INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL AND FRIBOURG INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, SWISS



“Human ingratitude knows no limits.”
Gabriel Garcia Marquez

 


The current Mexican cinema is modestly led by Arturo Ripstein, the maestro of innovative Mexican cinema now. It is indeed somewhat a good time for Mexican cinema as the production has jumped from 24 films to nearly 70 films annually. However, this quantum leap does not always assure “quality” films in the sense numbers do not sanctify. At least this is what the director Arturo Ripstein who visited Kolkata a few years back at the invitation of the Cine Central Calcutta, the largest film Society of India, revealed to this critic in an awful shock.

Here we need to know that the very Mexican cinema got the phenomenal boost when the Spanish director Luis Bunuel came to live in Mexico during 50s and 60s. Bunuel made nearly twelve films in the country as Franco’s Spain refused him stay in his own country. And Ripstein at the formative stage of his career worked as an assistant to Bunuel. And literally Ripstein initiated the movement for good cinema against the wave of conventional Hollywood films in Mexico along with the help of Garcia Marquez and Carlos Fuentes who collaborated in Ripstein’s first film To Die (1965).

Thus widely considered Mexico's most celebrated and respected contemporary filmmaker, as well as perhaps the only director to have truly inherited Luis Buñuel's mantle, Arturo Ripstein is a legend in his own right. His films have earned both fame and flack for taking melodrama to its macabre extremes. They reflect the director's fascination -- one shared by Buñuel -- with l'amour fou and claustrophobia. Although his films have been enthusiastically received outside of Mexico in France and Spain, Ripstein is largely unknown to American audience, a fact Ripstein has not contradicted.

A true protégé, Ripstein made his directorial debut in 1965 with Tiempo De Morir /Time to Die.  A story of murder and revenge, it explored many of the themes that the director would make the trademarks of his brand of "macabre melodrama" in the years to come. The most interesting facet of the debut film is that the film's script was written by Carlos Fuentes and Nobel Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez. In an intimate session Ripstein told this critic: “I have subsequently collaborated with a number of important Latin American writers, including Joss Emilio Pancheco’s El Castillo De La Pureza /The Castle of Purity, (1974), and El Santo Oficio /Holy Office in the same year.; José Donoso El Lugar Sin Limites/Hell Has No Limits, in 1977, Vincente Leñero La Tía Alejandra /Aunt Alexandra in1978 and Luis Spota Cadena Perpetua/In For Life in the year 1978. I think the process came to enrich my directorial experience to a large extent.” 
He is rather more remorseful as he and his clan have always been treated as second-hand citizens and they seem to have acquired meaning thanks to a gaze imposed on them from outside. Said he: “When I was a young filmmaker, I realized that we were considered in different terms with respect to directors from other countries. I remember thinking: "Here, they ask you for your passport first, and then they consider your talent." You have to belong to a certain country and after that you have to prove that you can do something worthwhile. There was another cliché; European viewers expected films where...
In the 70s, Ripstein garnered mounting recognition for his films, particularly Holy Office, which was shown in competition at the 1974 Cannes Festival to high applause. The film narrates the sufferings of a Jewish family forced to flee to Mexico during the Spanish Inquisition. It may be mentioned the film drew on Ripstein's own Jewish heritage and provided a stark exploration of the claustrophobic elements and assumed identity. However, due to fund crunch for projects, Ripstein was forced to occasionally make commissioned films, such as La Ilegal/The Illegal Woman in 1979. Practically, he had to live on such commissioned films for survival in the visual medium. After directing The Realm of Fortune in 1987, which was based on a text by Juan Rolfo, he began working with his wife Paz Alicia Garciadiego, a collaboration that produced some of Ripstein's most significant films. Incidentally, one of Ripstein's more acclaimed efforts with Garciadiego was The Beginning and the End made in 1994. Based upon the novel by Nobel Prize-winning Egyptian author Naguib Mahfouz, the film has unbolted the disintegration of a family following the sudden death of the father. It won the San Sebastian Film Festival's Gold Shell award; that same year, Ripstein's The Queen of the Night (1994) was shown in competition at Cannes Festival. It presents a fictionalized biography of legendary Mexican singer Lucha Reyes and in its making he could not freeze out melodrama marked by tragedy with the authority of real-life occurrences.

Ripstein's most celebrated work is Deep Crimson made in 1996. Based upon the real-life Lonely Hearts Murders that took place in Mexico during the late 1940s, it was perhaps Ripstein's most full-blasted exploration of l'amour fou. The narrative reveals a crazy love that takes place between the film's main characters, a badly aging gigolo and an excessively overweight nurse with halitosis. The film looks rather controversial in many a way. To this Ripstein has retorted: “There's nothing like mad love: it shatters, corrupts, transforms...Nothing like mad love to break, tear down, and undo the house of social order. Nothing is more flippant, sacrilegious, or heretic. Nothing is more human." The film surprisingly won a number of awards at the Venice Film Festival and earned a Special Mention in Latin American Cinema at Sundance Festival. 

Ripstein in particular is much more concerned about the political and social climate dominating in Latin America. On this issue, Arturo Ripstein noted: “Only from a limited point of view, as it happens with Latin American literature. We are a dozen and a half countries sharing the same language; but a person from one of these countries could think that he is more like a Frenchman than Peruvian. Beyond the rigors of geography, I don't think that Latin America exists as a cinematic concept. It is very difficult to say that there is a clear parameter or a common sense of things among the films from all these countries.” He, however, believes with each day, movies resemble more and more a hegemonic model. According to him, not all of them, but those selected as the most important or determine new directions do conform to certain models. All of them share something in common and they all imitate gringo commercial films. 

In a personal mood, Ripstein told this critic: “The curve of progress to filmmaking has never been quite smooth for me as often I had to battle with the authority for crude and raw subjects tackled in my films. As my subjects are often satirical and sarcastic and make a dig at the system working in Mexixo, I often became the target of official attack for hitting hard truths.” The major breakthrough crowned him in 1997, when Ripstein was awarded the National Prize for the Arts in Mexico, becoming the only filmmaker aside from Buñuel to have received the honor. That same year, he began working on a new film, Divine, 1998). Based on actual events that took place in Mexico during the 1970s, it was a comedy of manners about a religious cult. The film was screened at Cannes. The following year, Ripstein's El Coronel No Tiene Quien Le Escriba/No One Writes to the Colonel, a masterpiece,  was made and also screened in competition at the prestigious film festivals. Based on García Márquez's novel, it is another study of a character trapped in a fatal destiny, driven into a hopeless void by his needy supplication to mere illusion. 

 

No One Writes to the Colonel, Arturo Ripstein's film based on a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novella, is about fragile hope sustained in the face of false expectations, about the survival of human dignity in the face of grinding poverty, about the triumph of love in the face of hunger, illness, age, and profound loss. The story has it that the colonel (Fernando Lujan) fought for three and a half years in a Mexican war waged by forces favoring an independent, secular state rather than a government dominated by the church. Now, decades later, he is still trying to obtain the pension to which he believes himself entitled - and which would relieve the destitute conditions in which he and his wife (Marisa Paredes) survive. Every week he dresses in suit and tie to meet the riverboat that brings the mail. But no one writes to the colonel and his ritual has become a source of hope which is all he has left. There is no money for food or for medicine for his asthmatic wife and they are threatened with the loss of their home as well. In such claustrophobic climate, Ripstein hold tenacity of two bold characters living on the verge of extinction. The expected pension and the potential game of cock are the only straws at which the old man can grasp. The pet cock is the only asset for the old Colonel and he is against selling it for physical survival.

No One Writes to the Colonel is an elegiac film in many a sense where the agile spirit for survival takes the uppermost chora, a space. Ripstein charges the screen frames with day-to-day incident in the colonel's life, a life in which a cigarette butt is picked up from the gutter to be smoked with pleasure. Here we have a tenebrous sense of feelings where a pair of new shoes is an occasion of rare luxury, where his wife sneaks into the local movie for her rare bit of amusement and escape. The going of the film is marked by folk wisdom and sad humour. The realism is invested with topical sensibility, tucking into the matrix of the work a rare humanism, grotesque lyricism and ring of truth. By degrees pieces of the past are revealed, particularly the story of what happened to the son who was killed by a circus acrobat, in a dispute that involved cock fighting and jealousy over a prostitute (Salma Hayek). The lost son ("My blood has died," the colonel weeps) is yet another element in their deprivation. In distraught state of time the Colonel acknowledges: “I don't know how to beg," And this brings to an end the sad pity we suffer while watching the film. On being an anti-Church, the Colonel also confronts a monstrous truth that Christianity plays as a part of tragic joke. We see how Ripstein doesn't shy away from the grimness here since he is a realist who eschews sentimentality. But, as his camera finds wonder in crumbling plaster and peeling paint, as it fondles the lined faces of these veterans of hardscrabble life, his characters retain their dignity and their humanity. They are optimistic survivors, living on the brink.  
  
 
Arcelia Ramirez in Reasons of the Heart
Next comes The Reasons of the Heart (2011) that explores themes of inexplicable passion, schizophrenia and despair. Arturo Ripstein seems to have adopted a new genre to pin on a subject glued to huge melancholia. This time he has chosen The Reasons of the Heart based on Madam Bovary, an all time controversial work. Shot entirely in black and white and inspired by Madame Bovary, as a sort of adaptation,  – The Reasons of the Heart plays on film-noir and theater aesthetics and dynamics. Made very consciously, Ripstein has felt the need to re-explore the inner wounds of a woman called Emilia, suffering from ambitious love for life and self-destruction. As we all know the film revolves around  a bored housewife Emilia and her passion-fuelled downward spiral to self-ruination .
In fact, Ripstein has only lifted the chosen part of the novel to vet when passionate love takes the route to irrational orgy of emotional purgation. Emilia’s life , as portrayed in the film, is vacant and only fulfilled (sometimes) by her infidelities and multiple imaginary whims. The treatment displays the catharsis of the woman protagonist of the film who seldom cares for her only child and frequently ridicules and punishes those around her for her mistakes which brings the downfall with an elegiac remorse. It may be mentioned Emilia’s vacuum of doom begins after her lover abandons her; the artistic and eccentric saxophone player, whom she projects her life-long dreams through. That irrational passion, wild and rabid one, does not hold is the primary subtext of the film. Such kind of films never straddles two poles of the issue be it love or human emotion. Ripstein surely plays with the vulnerable plot with dexterity.  The film takes us to the fatalism where Emilia’s despair destroys the lives of those around her and eventually destroys herself. The Reasons of the Heart is rightfully shot in black and white as the subject demands. When into the film, the performances stand-out so colorfully on their own. That being said, the film’s tendency to lean so much on over-dramatic and non-contextual dialogues proves to be a bit thick and ‘try-hard’ at times.
Engaging part of the film lies in its mute going without creating any grotesque elements. While Ripstein’s lustrous black-and-white rendering has a seductive luxury, Emma Bovary - or Emilia, as played to the hilt by Aracelia Ramirez. It presents a wearying company, and this may be claimed to be confined to the more dedicated end of the art market where festival exposure would seem prosperous.
According to Ripstein the working his its usual team, including wife and writer Paz Alicia Garciadiego. He places Emilia in a claustrophobic apartment block in Mexico, where she paces her 84-square-metre flat in over-ripe frustration, often clad in a dirty nightgown. Emilia’s problems aren’t, as to be expected, rooted in anything notable strophe.
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https://plus.google.com/107860381336457800445 Pradip Biswas : ARTURO RIPSTEIN : ARCHITECT OF MODERN MEXICAN CINEMA PRADIP BISWAS, THE INDIAN EXPRESS NEWSPAPRS, INDIA...

ARTURO RIPSTEIN : ARCHITECT OF MODERN MEXICAN CINEMA
PRADIP BISWAS, THE INDIAN EXPRESS NEWSPAPRS, INDIA

JURY MEMBER INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL AND FRIBOURG INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, SWISS



“Human ingratitude knows no limits.”
Gabriel Garcia Marquez

 


The current Mexican cinema is modestly led by Arturo Ripstein, the maestro of innovative Mexican cinema now. It is indeed somewhat a good time for Mexican cinema as the production has jumped from 24 films to nearly 70 films annually. However, this quantum leap does not always assure “quality” films in the sense numbers do not sanctify. At least this is what the director Arturo Ripstein who visited Kolkata a few years back at the invitation of the Cine Central Calcutta, the largest film Society of India, revealed to this critic in an awful shock.

Here we need to know that the very Mexican cinema got the phenomenal boost when the Spanish director Luis Bunuel came to live in Mexico during 50s and 60s. Bunuel made nearly twelve films in the country as Franco’s Spain refused him stay in his own country. And Ripstein at the formative stage of his career worked as an assistant to Bunuel. And literally Ripstein initiated the movement for good cinema against the wave of conventional Hollywood films in Mexico along with the help of Garcia Marquez and Carlos Fuentes who collaborated in Ripstein’s first film To Die (1965).

Thus widely considered Mexico's most celebrated and respected contemporary filmmaker, as well as perhaps the only director to have truly inherited Luis Buñuel's mantle, Arturo Ripstein is a legend in his own right. His films have earned both fame and flack for taking melodrama to its macabre extremes. They reflect the director's fascination -- one shared by Buñuel -- with l'amour fou and claustrophobia. Although his films have been enthusiastically received outside of Mexico in France and Spain, Ripstein is largely unknown to American audience, a fact Ripstein has not contradicted.

A true protégé, Ripstein made his directorial debut in 1965 with Tiempo De Morir /Time to Die.  A story of murder and revenge, it explored many of the themes that the director would make the trademarks of his brand of "macabre melodrama" in the years to come. The most interesting facet of the debut film is that the film's script was written by Carlos Fuentes and Nobel Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez. In an intimate session Ripstein told this critic: “I have subsequently collaborated with a number of important Latin American writers, including Joss Emilio Pancheco’s El Castillo De La Pureza /The Castle of Purity, (1974), and El Santo Oficio /Holy Office in the same year.; José Donoso El Lugar Sin Limites/Hell Has No Limits, in 1977, Vincente Leñero La Tía Alejandra /Aunt Alexandra in1978 and Luis Spota Cadena Perpetua/In For Life in the year 1978. I think the process came to enrich my directorial experience to a large extent.” 
He is rather more remorseful as he and his clan have always been treated as second-hand citizens and they seem to have acquired meaning thanks to a gaze imposed on them from outside. Said he: “When I was a young filmmaker, I realized that we were considered in different terms with respect to directors from other countries. I remember thinking: "Here, they ask you for your passport first, and then they consider your talent." You have to belong to a certain country and after that you have to prove that you can do something worthwhile. There was another cliché; European viewers expected films where...
In the 70s, Ripstein garnered mounting recognition for his films, particularly Holy Office, which was shown in competition at the 1974 Cannes Festival to high applause. The film narrates the sufferings of a Jewish family forced to flee to Mexico during the Spanish Inquisition. It may be mentioned the film drew on Ripstein's own Jewish heritage and provided a stark exploration of the claustrophobic elements and assumed identity. However, due to fund crunch for projects, Ripstein was forced to occasionally make commissioned films, such as La Ilegal/The Illegal Woman in 1979. Practically, he had to live on such commissioned films for survival in the visual medium. After directing The Realm of Fortune in 1987, which was based on a text by Juan Rolfo, he began working with his wife Paz Alicia Garciadiego, a collaboration that produced some of Ripstein's most significant films. Incidentally, one of Ripstein's more acclaimed efforts with Garciadiego was The Beginning and the End made in 1994. Based upon the novel by Nobel Prize-winning Egyptian author Naguib Mahfouz, the film has unbolted the disintegration of a family following the sudden death of the father. It won the San Sebastian Film Festival's Gold Shell award; that same year, Ripstein's The Queen of the Night (1994) was shown in competition at Cannes Festival. It presents a fictionalized biography of legendary Mexican singer Lucha Reyes and in its making he could not freeze out melodrama marked by tragedy with the authority of real-life occurrences.

Ripstein's most celebrated work is Deep Crimson made in 1996. Based upon the real-life Lonely Hearts Murders that took place in Mexico during the late 1940s, it was perhaps Ripstein's most full-blasted exploration of l'amour fou. The narrative reveals a crazy love that takes place between the film's main characters, a badly aging gigolo and an excessively overweight nurse with halitosis. The film looks rather controversial in many a way. To this Ripstein has retorted: “There's nothing like mad love: it shatters, corrupts, transforms...Nothing like mad love to break, tear down, and undo the house of social order. Nothing is more flippant, sacrilegious, or heretic. Nothing is more human." The film surprisingly won a number of awards at the Venice Film Festival and earned a Special Mention in Latin American Cinema at Sundance Festival. 

Ripstein in particular is much more concerned about the political and social climate dominating in Latin America. On this issue, Arturo Ripstein noted: “Only from a limited point of view, as it happens with Latin American literature. We are a dozen and a half countries sharing the same language; but a person from one of these countries could think that he is more like a Frenchman than Peruvian. Beyond the rigors of geography, I don't think that Latin America exists as a cinematic concept. It is very difficult to say that there is a clear parameter or a common sense of things among the films from all these countries.” He, however, believes with each day, movies resemble more and more a hegemonic model. According to him, not all of them, but those selected as the most important or determine new directions do conform to certain models. All of them share something in common and they all imitate gringo commercial films. 

In a personal mood, Ripstein told this critic: “The curve of progress to filmmaking has never been quite smooth for me as often I had to battle with the authority for crude and raw subjects tackled in my films. As my subjects are often satirical and sarcastic and make a dig at the system working in Mexixo, I often became the target of official attack for hitting hard truths.” The major breakthrough crowned him in 1997, when Ripstein was awarded the National Prize for the Arts in Mexico, becoming the only filmmaker aside from Buñuel to have received the honor. That same year, he began working on a new film, Divine, 1998). Based on actual events that took place in Mexico during the 1970s, it was a comedy of manners about a religious cult. The film was screened at Cannes. The following year, Ripstein's El Coronel No Tiene Quien Le Escriba/No One Writes to the Colonel, a masterpiece,  was made and also screened in competition at the prestigious film festivals. Based on García Márquez's novel, it is another study of a character trapped in a fatal destiny, driven into a hopeless void by his needy supplication to mere illusion. 

 

No One Writes to the Colonel, Arturo Ripstein's film based on a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novella, is about fragile hope sustained in the face of false expectations, about the survival of human dignity in the face of grinding poverty, about the triumph of love in the face of hunger, illness, age, and profound loss. The story has it that the colonel (Fernando Lujan) fought for three and a half years in a Mexican war waged by forces favoring an independent, secular state rather than a government dominated by the church. Now, decades later, he is still trying to obtain the pension to which he believes himself entitled - and which would relieve the destitute conditions in which he and his wife (Marisa Paredes) survive. Every week he dresses in suit and tie to meet the riverboat that brings the mail. But no one writes to the colonel and his ritual has become a source of hope which is all he has left. There is no money for food or for medicine for his asthmatic wife and they are threatened with the loss of their home as well. In such claustrophobic climate, Ripstein hold tenacity of two bold characters living on the verge of extinction. The expected pension and the potential game of cock are the only straws at which the old man can grasp. The pet cock is the only asset for the old Colonel and he is against selling it for physical survival.

No One Writes to the Colonel is an elegiac film in many a sense where the agile spirit for survival takes the uppermost chora, a space. Ripstein charges the screen frames with day-to-day incident in the colonel's life, a life in which a cigarette butt is picked up from the gutter to be smoked with pleasure. Here we have a tenebrous sense of feelings where a pair of new shoes is an occasion of rare luxury, where his wife sneaks into the local movie for her rare bit of amusement and escape. The going of the film is marked by folk wisdom and sad humour. The realism is invested with topical sensibility, tucking into the matrix of the work a rare humanism, grotesque lyricism and ring of truth. By degrees pieces of the past are revealed, particularly the story of what happened to the son who was killed by a circus acrobat, in a dispute that involved cock fighting and jealousy over a prostitute (Salma Hayek). The lost son ("My blood has died," the colonel weeps) is yet another element in their deprivation. In distraught state of time the Colonel acknowledges: “I don't know how to beg," And this brings to an end the sad pity we suffer while watching the film. On being an anti-Church, the Colonel also confronts a monstrous truth that Christianity plays as a part of tragic joke. We see how Ripstein doesn't shy away from the grimness here since he is a realist who eschews sentimentality. But, as his camera finds wonder in crumbling plaster and peeling paint, as it fondles the lined faces of these veterans of hardscrabble life, his characters retain their dignity and their humanity. They are optimistic survivors, living on the brink.  
  
 
Arcelia Ramirez in Reasons of the Heart
Next comes The Reasons of the Heart (2011) that explores themes of inexplicable passion, schizophrenia and despair. Arturo Ripstein seems to have adopted a new genre to pin on a subject glued to huge melancholia. This time he has chosen The Reasons of the Heart based on Madam Bovary, an all time controversial work. Shot entirely in black and white and inspired by Madame Bovary, as a sort of adaptation,  – The Reasons of the Heart plays on film-noir and theater aesthetics and dynamics. Made very consciously, Ripstein has felt the need to re-explore the inner wounds of a woman called Emilia, suffering from ambitious love for life and self-destruction. As we all know the film revolves around  a bored housewife Emilia and her passion-fuelled downward spiral to self-ruination .
In fact, Ripstein has only lifted the chosen part of the novel to vet when passionate love takes the route to irrational orgy of emotional purgation. Emilia’s life , as portrayed in the film, is vacant and only fulfilled (sometimes) by her infidelities and multiple imaginary whims. The treatment displays the catharsis of the woman protagonist of the film who seldom cares for her only child and frequently ridicules and punishes those around her for her mistakes which brings the downfall with an elegiac remorse. It may be mentioned Emilia’s vacuum of doom begins after her lover abandons her; the artistic and eccentric saxophone player, whom she projects her life-long dreams through. That irrational passion, wild and rabid one, does not hold is the primary subtext of the film. Such kind of films never straddles two poles of the issue be it love or human emotion. Ripstein surely plays with the vulnerable plot with dexterity.  The film takes us to the fatalism where Emilia’s despair destroys the lives of those around her and eventually destroys herself. The Reasons of the Heart is rightfully shot in black and white as the subject demands. When into the film, the performances stand-out so colorfully on their own. That being said, the film’s tendency to lean so much on over-dramatic and non-contextual dialogues proves to be a bit thick and ‘try-hard’ at times.
Engaging part of the film lies in its mute going without creating any grotesque elements. While Ripstein’s lustrous black-and-white rendering has a seductive luxury, Emma Bovary - or Emilia, as played to the hilt by Aracelia Ramirez. It presents a wearying company, and this may be claimed to be confined to the more dedicated end of the art market where festival exposure would seem prosperous.
According to Ripstein the working his its usual team, including wife and writer Paz Alicia Garciadiego. He places Emilia in a claustrophobic apartment block in Mexico, where she paces her 84-square-metre flat in over-ripe frustration, often clad in a dirty nightgown. Emilia’s problems aren’t, as to be expected, rooted in anything notable strophe.
2 days ago - Via Google+ - View -
https://plus.google.com/107860381336457800445 Pradip Biswas : ARTURO RIPSTEIN : ARCHITECT OF MODERN MEXICAN CINEMA PRADIP BISWAS, THE INDIAN EXPRESS NEWSPAPRS, INDIA...

ARTURO RIPSTEIN : ARCHITECT OF MODERN MEXICAN CINEMA
PRADIP BISWAS, THE INDIAN EXPRESS NEWSPAPRS, INDIA

JURY MEMBER INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL AND FRIBOURG INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, SWISS



“Human ingratitude knows no limits.”
Gabriel Garcia Marquez

 


The current Mexican cinema is modestly led by Arturo Ripstein, the maestro of innovative Mexican cinema now. It is indeed somewhat a good time for Mexican cinema as the production has jumped from 24 films to nearly 70 films annually. However, this quantum leap does not always assure “quality” films in the sense numbers do not sanctify. At least this is what the director Arturo Ripstein who visited Kolkata a few years back at the invitation of the Cine Central Calcutta, the largest film Society of India, revealed to this critic in an awful shock.

Here we need to know that the very Mexican cinema got the phenomenal boost when the Spanish director Luis Bunuel came to live in Mexico during 50s and 60s. Bunuel made nearly twelve films in the country as Franco’s Spain refused him stay in his own country. And Ripstein at the formative stage of his career worked as an assistant to Bunuel. And literally Ripstein initiated the movement for good cinema against the wave of conventional Hollywood films in Mexico along with the help of Garcia Marquez and Carlos Fuentes who collaborated in Ripstein’s first film To Die (1965).

Thus widely considered Mexico's most celebrated and respected contemporary filmmaker, as well as perhaps the only director to have truly inherited Luis Buñuel's mantle, Arturo Ripstein is a legend in his own right. His films have earned both fame and flack for taking melodrama to its macabre extremes. They reflect the director's fascination -- one shared by Buñuel -- with l'amour fou and claustrophobia. Although his films have been enthusiastically received outside of Mexico in France and Spain, Ripstein is largely unknown to American audience, a fact Ripstein has not contradicted.

A true protégé, Ripstein made his directorial debut in 1965 with Tiempo De Morir /Time to Die.  A story of murder and revenge, it explored many of the themes that the director would make the trademarks of his brand of "macabre melodrama" in the years to come. The most interesting facet of the debut film is that the film's script was written by Carlos Fuentes and Nobel Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez. In an intimate session Ripstein told this critic: “I have subsequently collaborated with a number of important Latin American writers, including Joss Emilio Pancheco’s El Castillo De La Pureza /The Castle of Purity, (1974), and El Santo Oficio /Holy Office in the same year.; José Donoso El Lugar Sin Limites/Hell Has No Limits, in 1977, Vincente Leñero La Tía Alejandra /Aunt Alexandra in1978 and Luis Spota Cadena Perpetua/In For Life in the year 1978. I think the process came to enrich my directorial experience to a large extent.” 
He is rather more remorseful as he and his clan have always been treated as second-hand citizens and they seem to have acquired meaning thanks to a gaze imposed on them from outside. Said he: “When I was a young filmmaker, I realized that we were considered in different terms with respect to directors from other countries. I remember thinking: "Here, they ask you for your passport first, and then they consider your talent." You have to belong to a certain country and after that you have to prove that you can do something worthwhile. There was another cliché; European viewers expected films where...
In the 70s, Ripstein garnered mounting recognition for his films, particularly Holy Office, which was shown in competition at the 1974 Cannes Festival to high applause. The film narrates the sufferings of a Jewish family forced to flee to Mexico during the Spanish Inquisition. It may be mentioned the film drew on Ripstein's own Jewish heritage and provided a stark exploration of the claustrophobic elements and assumed identity. However, due to fund crunch for projects, Ripstein was forced to occasionally make commissioned films, such as La Ilegal/The Illegal Woman in 1979. Practically, he had to live on such commissioned films for survival in the visual medium. After directing The Realm of Fortune in 1987, which was based on a text by Juan Rolfo, he began working with his wife Paz Alicia Garciadiego, a collaboration that produced some of Ripstein's most significant films. Incidentally, one of Ripstein's more acclaimed efforts with Garciadiego was The Beginning and the End made in 1994. Based upon the novel by Nobel Prize-winning Egyptian author Naguib Mahfouz, the film has unbolted the disintegration of a family following the sudden death of the father. It won the San Sebastian Film Festival's Gold Shell award; that same year, Ripstein's The Queen of the Night (1994) was shown in competition at Cannes Festival. It presents a fictionalized biography of legendary Mexican singer Lucha Reyes and in its making he could not freeze out melodrama marked by tragedy with the authority of real-life occurrences.

Ripstein's most celebrated work is Deep Crimson made in 1996. Based upon the real-life Lonely Hearts Murders that took place in Mexico during the late 1940s, it was perhaps Ripstein's most full-blasted exploration of l'amour fou. The narrative reveals a crazy love that takes place between the film's main characters, a badly aging gigolo and an excessively overweight nurse with halitosis. The film looks rather controversial in many a way. To this Ripstein has retorted: “There's nothing like mad love: it shatters, corrupts, transforms...Nothing like mad love to break, tear down, and undo the house of social order. Nothing is more flippant, sacrilegious, or heretic. Nothing is more human." The film surprisingly won a number of awards at the Venice Film Festival and earned a Special Mention in Latin American Cinema at Sundance Festival. 

Ripstein in particular is much more concerned about the political and social climate dominating in Latin America. On this issue, Arturo Ripstein noted: “Only from a limited point of view, as it happens with Latin American literature. We are a dozen and a half countries sharing the same language; but a person from one of these countries could think that he is more like a Frenchman than Peruvian. Beyond the rigors of geography, I don't think that Latin America exists as a cinematic concept. It is very difficult to say that there is a clear parameter or a common sense of things among the films from all these countries.” He, however, believes with each day, movies resemble more and more a hegemonic model. According to him, not all of them, but those selected as the most important or determine new directions do conform to certain models. All of them share something in common and they all imitate gringo commercial films. 

In a personal mood, Ripstein told this critic: “The curve of progress to filmmaking has never been quite smooth for me as often I had to battle with the authority for crude and raw subjects tackled in my films. As my subjects are often satirical and sarcastic and make a dig at the system working in Mexixo, I often became the target of official attack for hitting hard truths.” The major breakthrough crowned him in 1997, when Ripstein was awarded the National Prize for the Arts in Mexico, becoming the only filmmaker aside from Buñuel to have received the honor. That same year, he began working on a new film, Divine, 1998). Based on actual events that took place in Mexico during the 1970s, it was a comedy of manners about a religious cult. The film was screened at Cannes. The following year, Ripstein's El Coronel No Tiene Quien Le Escriba/No One Writes to the Colonel, a masterpiece,  was made and also screened in competition at the prestigious film festivals. Based on García Márquez's novel, it is another study of a character trapped in a fatal destiny, driven into a hopeless void by his needy supplication to mere illusion. 

 

No One Writes to the Colonel, Arturo Ripstein's film based on a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novella, is about fragile hope sustained in the face of false expectations, about the survival of human dignity in the face of grinding poverty, about the triumph of love in the face of hunger, illness, age, and profound loss. The story has it that the colonel (Fernando Lujan) fought for three and a half years in a Mexican war waged by forces favoring an independent, secular state rather than a government dominated by the church. Now, decades later, he is still trying to obtain the pension to which he believes himself entitled - and which would relieve the destitute conditions in which he and his wife (Marisa Paredes) survive. Every week he dresses in suit and tie to meet the riverboat that brings the mail. But no one writes to the colonel and his ritual has become a source of hope which is all he has left. There is no money for food or for medicine for his asthmatic wife and they are threatened with the loss of their home as well. In such claustrophobic climate, Ripstein hold tenacity of two bold characters living on the verge of extinction. The expected pension and the potential game of cock are the only straws at which the old man can grasp. The pet cock is the only asset for the old Colonel and he is against selling it for physical survival.

No One Writes to the Colonel is an elegiac film in many a sense where the agile spirit for survival takes the uppermost chora, a space. Ripstein charges the screen frames with day-to-day incident in the colonel's life, a life in which a cigarette butt is picked up from the gutter to be smoked with pleasure. Here we have a tenebrous sense of feelings where a pair of new shoes is an occasion of rare luxury, where his wife sneaks into the local movie for her rare bit of amusement and escape. The going of the film is marked by folk wisdom and sad humour. The realism is invested with topical sensibility, tucking into the matrix of the work a rare humanism, grotesque lyricism and ring of truth. By degrees pieces of the past are revealed, particularly the story of what happened to the son who was killed by a circus acrobat, in a dispute that involved cock fighting and jealousy over a prostitute (Salma Hayek). The lost son ("My blood has died," the colonel weeps) is yet another element in their deprivation. In distraught state of time the Colonel acknowledges: “I don't know how to beg," And this brings to an end the sad pity we suffer while watching the film. On being an anti-Church, the Colonel also confronts a monstrous truth that Christianity plays as a part of tragic joke. We see how Ripstein doesn't shy away from the grimness here since he is a realist who eschews sentimentality. But, as his camera finds wonder in crumbling plaster and peeling paint, as it fondles the lined faces of these veterans of hardscrabble life, his characters retain their dignity and their humanity. They are optimistic survivors, living on the brink.  
  
 
Arcelia Ramirez in Reasons of the Heart
Next comes The Reasons of the Heart (2011) that explores themes of inexplicable passion, schizophrenia and despair. Arturo Ripstein seems to have adopted a new genre to pin on a subject glued to huge melancholia. This time he has chosen The Reasons of the Heart based on Madam Bovary, an all time controversial work. Shot entirely in black and white and inspired by Madame Bovary, as a sort of adaptation,  – The Reasons of the Heart plays on film-noir and theater aesthetics and dynamics. Made very consciously, Ripstein has felt the need to re-explore the inner wounds of a woman called Emilia, suffering from ambitious love for life and self-destruction. As we all know the film revolves around  a bored housewife Emilia and her passion-fuelled downward spiral to self-ruination .
In fact, Ripstein has only lifted the chosen part of the novel to vet when passionate love takes the route to irrational orgy of emotional purgation. Emilia’s life , as portrayed in the film, is vacant and only fulfilled (sometimes) by her infidelities and multiple imaginary whims. The treatment displays the catharsis of the woman protagonist of the film who seldom cares for her only child and frequently ridicules and punishes those around her for her mistakes which brings the downfall with an elegiac remorse. It may be mentioned Emilia’s vacuum of doom begins after her lover abandons her; the artistic and eccentric saxophone player, whom she projects her life-long dreams through. That irrational passion, wild and rabid one, does not hold is the primary subtext of the film. Such kind of films never straddles two poles of the issue be it love or human emotion. Ripstein surely plays with the vulnerable plot with dexterity.  The film takes us to the fatalism where Emilia’s despair destroys the lives of those around her and eventually destroys herself. The Reasons of the Heart is rightfully shot in black and white as the subject demands. When into the film, the performances stand-out so colorfully on their own. That being said, the film’s tendency to lean so much on over-dramatic and non-contextual dialogues proves to be a bit thick and ‘try-hard’ at times.
Engaging part of the film lies in its mute going without creating any grotesque elements. While Ripstein’s lustrous black-and-white rendering has a seductive luxury, Emma Bovary - or Emilia, as played to the hilt by Aracelia Ramirez. It presents a wearying company, and this may be claimed to be confined to the more dedicated end of the art market where festival exposure would seem prosperous.
According to Ripstein the working his its usual team, including wife and writer Paz Alicia Garciadiego. He places Emilia in a claustrophobic apartment block in Mexico, where she paces her 84-square-metre flat in over-ripe frustration, often clad in a dirty nightgown. Emilia’s problems aren’t, as to be expected, rooted in anything notable strophe.
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https://plus.google.com/107860381336457800445 Pradip Biswas : ARTURO RIPSTEIN : ARCHITECT OF MODERN MEXICAN CINEMA PRADIP BISWAS, THE INDIAN EXPRESS NEWSPAPRS, INDIA...

ARTURO RIPSTEIN : ARCHITECT OF MODERN MEXICAN CINEMA
PRADIP BISWAS, THE INDIAN EXPRESS NEWSPAPRS, INDIA

JURY MEMBER INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL AND FRIBOURG INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, SWISS



“Human ingratitude knows no limits.”
Gabriel Garcia Marquez

 


The current Mexican cinema is modestly led by Arturo Ripstein, the maestro of innovative Mexican cinema now. It is indeed somewhat a good time for Mexican cinema as the production has jumped from 24 films to nearly 70 films annually. However, this quantum leap does not always assure “quality” films in the sense numbers do not sanctify. At least this is what the director Arturo Ripstein who visited Kolkata a few years back at the invitation of the Cine Central Calcutta, the largest film Society of India, revealed to this critic in an awful shock.

Here we need to know that the very Mexican cinema got the phenomenal boost when the Spanish director Luis Bunuel came to live in Mexico during 50s and 60s. Bunuel made nearly twelve films in the country as Franco’s Spain refused him stay in his own country. And Ripstein at the formative stage of his career worked as an assistant to Bunuel. And literally Ripstein initiated the movement for good cinema against the wave of conventional Hollywood films in Mexico along with the help of Garcia Marquez and Carlos Fuentes who collaborated in Ripstein’s first film To Die (1965).

Thus widely considered Mexico's most celebrated and respected contemporary filmmaker, as well as perhaps the only director to have truly inherited Luis Buñuel's mantle, Arturo Ripstein is a legend in his own right. His films have earned both fame and flack for taking melodrama to its macabre extremes. They reflect the director's fascination -- one shared by Buñuel -- with l'amour fou and claustrophobia. Although his films have been enthusiastically received outside of Mexico in France and Spain, Ripstein is largely unknown to American audience, a fact Ripstein has not contradicted.

A true protégé, Ripstein made his directorial debut in 1965 with Tiempo De Morir /Time to Die.  A story of murder and revenge, it explored many of the themes that the director would make the trademarks of his brand of "macabre melodrama" in the years to come. The most interesting facet of the debut film is that the film's script was written by Carlos Fuentes and Nobel Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez. In an intimate session Ripstein told this critic: “I have subsequently collaborated with a number of important Latin American writers, including Joss Emilio Pancheco’s El Castillo De La Pureza /The Castle of Purity, (1974), and El Santo Oficio /Holy Office in the same year.; José Donoso El Lugar Sin Limites/Hell Has No Limits, in 1977, Vincente Leñero La Tía Alejandra /Aunt Alexandra in1978 and Luis Spota Cadena Perpetua/In For Life in the year 1978. I think the process came to enrich my directorial experience to a large extent.” 
He is rather more remorseful as he and his clan have always been treated as second-hand citizens and they seem to have acquired meaning thanks to a gaze imposed on them from outside. Said he: “When I was a young filmmaker, I realized that we were considered in different terms with respect to directors from other countries. I remember thinking: "Here, they ask you for your passport first, and then they consider your talent." You have to belong to a certain country and after that you have to prove that you can do something worthwhile. There was another cliché; European viewers expected films where...
In the 70s, Ripstein garnered mounting recognition for his films, particularly Holy Office, which was shown in competition at the 1974 Cannes Festival to high applause. The film narrates the sufferings of a Jewish family forced to flee to Mexico during the Spanish Inquisition. It may be mentioned the film drew on Ripstein's own Jewish heritage and provided a stark exploration of the claustrophobic elements and assumed identity. However, due to fund crunch for projects, Ripstein was forced to occasionally make commissioned films, such as La Ilegal/The Illegal Woman in 1979. Practically, he had to live on such commissioned films for survival in the visual medium. After directing The Realm of Fortune in 1987, which was based on a text by Juan Rolfo, he began working with his wife Paz Alicia Garciadiego, a collaboration that produced some of Ripstein's most significant films. Incidentally, one of Ripstein's more acclaimed efforts with Garciadiego was The Beginning and the End made in 1994. Based upon the novel by Nobel Prize-winning Egyptian author Naguib Mahfouz, the film has unbolted the disintegration of a family following the sudden death of the father. It won the San Sebastian Film Festival's Gold Shell award; that same year, Ripstein's The Queen of the Night (1994) was shown in competition at Cannes Festival. It presents a fictionalized biography of legendary Mexican singer Lucha Reyes and in its making he could not freeze out melodrama marked by tragedy with the authority of real-life occurrences.

Ripstein's most celebrated work is Deep Crimson made in 1996. Based upon the real-life Lonely Hearts Murders that took place in Mexico during the late 1940s, it was perhaps Ripstein's most full-blasted exploration of l'amour fou. The narrative reveals a crazy love that takes place between the film's main characters, a badly aging gigolo and an excessively overweight nurse with halitosis. The film looks rather controversial in many a way. To this Ripstein has retorted: “There's nothing like mad love: it shatters, corrupts, transforms...Nothing like mad love to break, tear down, and undo the house of social order. Nothing is more flippant, sacrilegious, or heretic. Nothing is more human." The film surprisingly won a number of awards at the Venice Film Festival and earned a Special Mention in Latin American Cinema at Sundance Festival. 

Ripstein in particular is much more concerned about the political and social climate dominating in Latin America. On this issue, Arturo Ripstein noted: “Only from a limited point of view, as it happens with Latin American literature. We are a dozen and a half countries sharing the same language; but a person from one of these countries could think that he is more like a Frenchman than Peruvian. Beyond the rigors of geography, I don't think that Latin America exists as a cinematic concept. It is very difficult to say that there is a clear parameter or a common sense of things among the films from all these countries.” He, however, believes with each day, movies resemble more and more a hegemonic model. According to him, not all of them, but those selected as the most important or determine new directions do conform to certain models. All of them share something in common and they all imitate gringo commercial films. 

In a personal mood, Ripstein told this critic: “The curve of progress to filmmaking has never been quite smooth for me as often I had to battle with the authority for crude and raw subjects tackled in my films. As my subjects are often satirical and sarcastic and make a dig at the system working in Mexixo, I often became the target of official attack for hitting hard truths.” The major breakthrough crowned him in 1997, when Ripstein was awarded the National Prize for the Arts in Mexico, becoming the only filmmaker aside from Buñuel to have received the honor. That same year, he began working on a new film, Divine, 1998). Based on actual events that took place in Mexico during the 1970s, it was a comedy of manners about a religious cult. The film was screened at Cannes. The following year, Ripstein's El Coronel No Tiene Quien Le Escriba/No One Writes to the Colonel, a masterpiece,  was made and also screened in competition at the prestigious film festivals. Based on García Márquez's novel, it is another study of a character trapped in a fatal destiny, driven into a hopeless void by his needy supplication to mere illusion. 

 

No One Writes to the Colonel, Arturo Ripstein's film based on a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novella, is about fragile hope sustained in the face of false expectations, about the survival of human dignity in the face of grinding poverty, about the triumph of love in the face of hunger, illness, age, and profound loss. The story has it that the colonel (Fernando Lujan) fought for three and a half years in a Mexican war waged by forces favoring an independent, secular state rather than a government dominated by the church. Now, decades later, he is still trying to obtain the pension to which he believes himself entitled - and which would relieve the destitute conditions in which he and his wife (Marisa Paredes) survive. Every week he dresses in suit and tie to meet the riverboat that brings the mail. But no one writes to the colonel and his ritual has become a source of hope which is all he has left. There is no money for food or for medicine for his asthmatic wife and they are threatened with the loss of their home as well. In such claustrophobic climate, Ripstein hold tenacity of two bold characters living on the verge of extinction. The expected pension and the potential game of cock are the only straws at which the old man can grasp. The pet cock is the only asset for the old Colonel and he is against selling it for physical survival.

No One Writes to the Colonel is an elegiac film in many a sense where the agile spirit for survival takes the uppermost chora, a space. Ripstein charges the screen frames with day-to-day incident in the colonel's life, a life in which a cigarette butt is picked up from the gutter to be smoked with pleasure. Here we have a tenebrous sense of feelings where a pair of new shoes is an occasion of rare luxury, where his wife sneaks into the local movie for her rare bit of amusement and escape. The going of the film is marked by folk wisdom and sad humour. The realism is invested with topical sensibility, tucking into the matrix of the work a rare humanism, grotesque lyricism and ring of truth. By degrees pieces of the past are revealed, particularly the story of what happened to the son who was killed by a circus acrobat, in a dispute that involved cock fighting and jealousy over a prostitute (Salma Hayek). The lost son ("My blood has died," the colonel weeps) is yet another element in their deprivation. In distraught state of time the Colonel acknowledges: “I don't know how to beg," And this brings to an end the sad pity we suffer while watching the film. On being an anti-Church, the Colonel also confronts a monstrous truth that Christianity plays as a part of tragic joke. We see how Ripstein doesn't shy away from the grimness here since he is a realist who eschews sentimentality. But, as his camera finds wonder in crumbling plaster and peeling paint, as it fondles the lined faces of these veterans of hardscrabble life, his characters retain their dignity and their humanity. They are optimistic survivors, living on the brink.  
  
 
Arcelia Ramirez in Reasons of the Heart
Next comes The Reasons of the Heart (2011) that explores themes of inexplicable passion, schizophrenia and despair. Arturo Ripstein seems to have adopted a new genre to pin on a subject glued to huge melancholia. This time he has chosen The Reasons of the Heart based on Madam Bovary, an all time controversial work. Shot entirely in black and white and inspired by Madame Bovary, as a sort of adaptation,  – The Reasons of the Heart plays on film-noir and theater aesthetics and dynamics. Made very consciously, Ripstein has felt the need to re-explore the inner wounds of a woman called Emilia, suffering from ambitious love for life and self-destruction. As we all know the film revolves around  a bored housewife Emilia and her passion-fuelled downward spiral to self-ruination .
In fact, Ripstein has only lifted the chosen part of the novel to vet when passionate love takes the route to irrational orgy of emotional purgation. Emilia’s life , as portrayed in the film, is vacant and only fulfilled (sometimes) by her infidelities and multiple imaginary whims. The treatment displays the catharsis of the woman protagonist of the film who seldom cares for her only child and frequently ridicules and punishes those around her for her mistakes which brings the downfall with an elegiac remorse. It may be mentioned Emilia’s vacuum of doom begins after her lover abandons her; the artistic and eccentric saxophone player, whom she projects her life-long dreams through. That irrational passion, wild and rabid one, does not hold is the primary subtext of the film. Such kind of films never straddles two poles of the issue be it love or human emotion. Ripstein surely plays with the vulnerable plot with dexterity.  The film takes us to the fatalism where Emilia’s despair destroys the lives of those around her and eventually destroys herself. The Reasons of the Heart is rightfully shot in black and white as the subject demands. When into the film, the performances stand-out so colorfully on their own. That being said, the film’s tendency to lean so much on over-dramatic and non-contextual dialogues proves to be a bit thick and ‘try-hard’ at times.
Engaging part of the film lies in its mute going without creating any grotesque elements. While Ripstein’s lustrous black-and-white rendering has a seductive luxury, Emma Bovary - or Emilia, as played to the hilt by Aracelia Ramirez. It presents a wearying company, and this may be claimed to be confined to the more dedicated end of the art market where festival exposure would seem prosperous.
According to Ripstein the working his its usual team, including wife and writer Paz Alicia Garciadiego. He places Emilia in a claustrophobic apartment block in Mexico, where she paces her 84-square-metre flat in over-ripe frustration, often clad in a dirty nightgown. Emilia’s problems aren’t, as to be expected, rooted in anything notable strophe.
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