In the 1990s, a new wave Mexican filmmakers emerged who elevated the art of cinema in their native country and around the world with a combination of technical mastery and startling fresh perspectives.
These days, many of the leading lights of the Nuevo Cine Mexicano movement — Alfonso Cuarón (“Children of Men,” “Gravity”), Guillermo del Toro (“Pan’s Labyrinth,” “Crimson Peak”) and Alejandro González Iñarritu (“Birdman,” “The Revenant”) — can be found working either in or for Hollywood, tackling big subjects that address universal human concerns.
But there is still a community of talented Mexican directors making films for and about Mexico, and they’re being highlighted in a year-long series of short documentaries from the New York Times Op-Docs that kicks of today with the debut of “Unsilenced,” directed by Betzabé Garcia, whose 2015 feature-length documentary “ Kings of Nowhere” (“Los reyes del pueblo que no existe”) won the SX:Global Audience Award at SXSW.
“Unsilenced” is told from the point of view of Atilano Román Tirado (pictured), a community leader for displaced residents who was murdered on-air by gunmen inside a radio station while he was delivering a message to his people.
“With this documentary, narrated by Atilano in the years before his death, I want to give him back his voice and show that his courageous life message merits an even stronger platform,” said Garcia in a statement published alongside the film on the Times website. “Atilano may be dead, but his voice will live. And it will penetrate the rising wave of censorship that is plaguing our country.”
Launched in the fall of 2011, Op-Docs is the New York Times’ editorial department’s forum for short, opinionated documentaries, covering current affairs, contemporary life and historical subjects.
This film and others in the Mexican doc series are in Spanish with English subtitles. Director’s statements published with the films will be available in both languages.