"We wanted a tour that would show your documentary everywhere, waiting on the side of the road so someday it might get seen in the desert of San Luis Potosí." Letter from Gael García Bernal, actor and co-founder of the Ambulante Documentary Film Festival, on the death of Eugenio Polgovsky, published in El País in 2017.
From March 22 to 25, DocumentaMadrid and the Cineteca Madrid are paying tribute to the director Eugenio Polgovsky with a special program of the young Mexican filmmaker's work following his death last August. His sister Mara Polgovsky will travel to Madrid to present audiences at the Cineteca Madrid with his documentary feature, Resurrection, which has never before been screened in Spain. Following the special screening of his last film on March 22, a discussion will be held with the filmmaker's sister, the co-director of DocumentaMadrid David Varela and the film critic and programmer Gonzalo de Pedro.
Mara comments on her brother's work "Eugenio always believed in the creative and sensitive strength of documentary film. Some called him a visual poet. His films are woven together, providing us the voice and vision of an artist who changed the documentary film scene in Mexico. His interest in filmmaking focused on the vulnerability of beings and nature; his approach was rooted in an intimacy that is both beautiful and powerfully symbolic. In Resurrection this symbolism becomes an allegory for the earth and its capitalist destruction."
For four days, the public will also get the chance to see three other feature films that - after being presented in competitive sections of such festivals as Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Rotterdam and Cinèma du Réel - established Polgovsky as a promising young Mexican documentary filmmaker, winner of four Ariel Awards and over thirty international awards as a photographer, producer, editor and director. Eugenio Polgovsky said about his last film Resurrection: "We wanted to tell a beautiful story about the Mexican Niagara Falls, El Salto de Juanacatlán, but in the process we saw how polluted it had become due to human irresponsibility. My goal is to find a way to build respect for the environment".
The artistic co-director of DocumentaMadrid, David Varela, justifies the need to show and spread this director's film work in Spain: "Eugenio Polgovsky's film work is a holistic system for representing reality, one that includes dust, water, skin, survival, death, condemnation and a breath of hopefulness that can be seen in his stubborn innocence about changing a perverse world: the world of those whom society has forgotten and dispossessed, the one in which humankind is bound to nature due to imposition or belonging."
NATURE IN THE BALANCE, A NEW FILM SERIES AT DOCUMENTAMADRID
David Varela highlights the influence that the socially, artistically and environmentally conscious Mexican artist had on artistic content to be featured in the upcoming Festival: "His cinema has been an inspiration to many, just as it has to DocumentaMadrid".
And so, DocumentaMadrid is announcing the creation of a new film series entitled NATURE IN THE BALANCE, which is born "with the aim of critically comparing how human beings are positioned in the face of (or alongside) nature, other living beings, and any non-physical place uniting us through spirituality or metaphysics."
The new series will give us a chance to see films at the upcoming festival by such filmmakers as Vincent Carelli, Pierre Perrault, Michel Brault, Antoine Boutet and Eugenio Polgovsky himself (Resurrection), films that tackle several different issues often neglected in the media and by politicians. "We want to include films that bring together excellence in filmmaking, cries of protest and the need to gather -or rather to rehabilitate-, humankind alongside with nature in a space of shared experience, one that has been getting lost along the way toward a poorly understood sense of progress", explains Varela.
FILMS IN THE TRIBUTE
Thursday, March 22 8:30 pm / Sala Azcona
With Mara Polgovsky, sister of Eugenio in attendance.
Ambulante Festival, Morelia Festival, Festival of Guanajuato. Premiere in Spain.
Condemnation of environmental pollution The Salto de Juanacatlán waterfall in Jalisco used to be the Mexican Niagara, but industrial development in the 70s has poisoned its waters and driven the families living there to fight for its restoration.
Tropic of Cancer (2004)
Friday, March 23 7:00 pm / Sala Borau
Saturday, March 24 9:00 pm / Sala Borau
Portrait of the inhabitants of Mexico's San Luis Potosí desert and their struggle to survive.
Frontier Selection at Sundance, Cannes Critics' Week, Ariel Award for Best Debut Documentary Feature, Joris Ivens Prize at Cinèma du Réel, Rotterdam Festival, Morelia Festival Eye Award, Coral Grand Prix Havana Film Festival, among others.
The Inheritors (2008)
Friday, March 23 9:00 pm / Sala Borau
Sunday, March 25 7:00 pm / Sala Borau
Documentary about child labor in different rural regions of Mexico.
Six nominations for Ariel Awards - winner of the Ariel for Best Editing and Ariel for Best Documentary, Venice Film Festival, first documentary in the Official Section of the Berlin Film Festival.
Saturday, March 24 7:00 pm / Sala Borau
Sunday, March 25 9:00 / Sala Borau
"The surgery of a moment", in Polgovsky's own words. The Mitote (celebration, in Nahuatl), where the square is turned into a battlefield among the local festivities, mystical invocations of shamans and labor strikes.
Cinema XXI Rome Film Festival Cinema, Special Mention at the Morelia Film Festival
BIOFILMOGRAPHY OF EUGENIO POLGOVSKY
Born in Mexico City in 1977, Eugenio taught himself photography by shooting portraits of local customs in marginalized areas of Mexico. At age 17, he won the ACCU / UNESCO world award for photography with a snapshot taken in Krakow of two exiled musicians who survived the Bosnian War.
This way of portraying the crude reality of different regions he visits is one that will mark his work from the beginning. After training at the Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica in Mexico City, he directed and edited his first film, Tropic of Cancer (2004). About the endemic poverty of the inhabitants of the San Luis Potosí desert, this film was presented in the Frontier section of the Sundance Film festival and had such an impact that the Cannes Film Festival scheduled a special screening of the film at the 2005 Critics' Week and the MOMA hailed it as the most innovative contemporary Latin American nonfiction film.
In 2007 he founded the production company Tecolote Films and produced, directed, shot and edited his second film, The Inheritors, about rural children in Mexico. It made its worldwide premier at the 2008 Venice Film Festival and was the first documentary to participate in the Official Section of the Berlin Film Festival.
"We cannot ignore documentary footage with such immense impact. We are eager to take part in the controversial debates that this work will stir for generations." Maryanne Redpath, director of the Generation section of the Berlinale.
This work earned critical acclaim and many international awards, including six nominations for Ariel Awards from the Mexican Academy and the National Youth Award, given for the first time to a filmmaker. It also set a record in attendance by audiences in Mexico upon its premiere in cinemas, but above all, it achieved Polgovsky's goal in filmmaking: to open up an international debate on the conditions of child labor.
In 2012, he produced Mitote, his third documentary feature, which was presented at the Rome Film Festival; and, in 2016, Resurrection, "the memory of a river and its devastation", which will be screened in Spain for the first time in this tribute series put on by DocumentaMadrid and Cineteca Madrid.
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