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Mexico chooses a film with Colombian flavor for the Oscar

I'm no longer here is the title of the film chosen to represent Mexico at the Oscars.

Frame from the movie 'I'm not here anymore'.

The AMACC chose the film 'Ya no soy siempre' as representation of Mexico at the Oscars 2021. / Photo: YT / Netflix

LatinAmerican Post | Luis Hernández Liborio

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Leer en español: México elige para el Oscar una cinta con sabor colombiano

I'm no longer here has been a surprise in Mexico, to begin with, it won ten Ariel awards in the 62nd installment of the Mexican Academy of Cinematographic Arts and Sciences (AMACC). Among them were Best Movie, Best Director for Fernando Frías de la Parra and Best New Actor for its protagonist Juan Daniel García Treviño. This film has been chosen by the AMACC to represent Mexico at the Goya Awards and at the Oscars , according to information from Forbes Mexico .

I'm no longer here

The film is set in the decade of the 2000s , when Mexico went through one of the crudest stages of violence caused by the open confrontation between the Mexican state and the drug cartels. In this context, Ulises (Juan Daniel García Treviño), a young lover of Colombian music, finds himself in the wrong place and time, so he must flee to New York , as happened with other Mexicans at that time.

The city of Monterrey, in northern Mexico, is the setting for this story that shows us the face of poverty in one of the richest cities in Latin America. Ulises is one of many young people with few educational and job opportunities that continue to exist in Mexico. Extreme violence forces him to leave his city, but at the same time, he maintains his attachment to his culture thanks to music.

In New York, it is this own identity that differentiates him from others, like any illegal migrant he suffers discrimination, but he also draws the attention of Americans who are curious about his culture attached to music and of course to a different way of thinking. The film then explores, on the one hand, the violence that forces people to emigrate, and also how they try to adapt to a new reality.

Kolombia

Monterrey is one of the most important industrial centers in Mexico, and as such it has a well-defined culture of its own. Part of that identity comes from Colombia, from cumbia to vallenato they have found a captive audience in the people of Monterrey. One of his great idols, accordionist Celso Piña, was inspired by the music of the South American country to create a unique style that catapulted him to fame. The Kolombia subculture is part of this diversity around Colombian music that exists in Monterrey.

Ulises, the protagonist of I'm no longer here, is a character who makes being a Cholombian a way of life. Being in northern Mexico, close to the US border, he also has influences from Chicano culture, which creates an interesting mix to explore and is the perfect setting for the unfolding of the story. When you watch the feature film you will notice the influence of the cholos in their way of dressing, as well as the characteristic sound of the vallenato and the lowered cumbia, that is played at a lower speed and tone. 

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Critical reception

The criticism has been ambiguous with I'm no longer here , on the one hand, there are those who consider that it continues to reproduce the stereotypes of poverty, its relationship with violence and a superficial vision of urban cultures in Mexico, as indicated by the Heraldo de México . For its director, Fernando Frías de la Parra "It is very good to talk and eliminate prejudices; the 'Kolombia' culture has a great degree of spontaneity, in the sense of how it arises and what it responds to. The idea is to open dialogue and learn not to judge ” , according to comments by Infobae .

But it has also had positive reviews, a few days ago directors Alfonso Cuarón ( Gravity, Roma) and Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth, The Shape of water ) met to talk about the film.

They highlighted the value that Fernando Frías de la Parra's work had in choosing to make a debut of these characteristics. Cuarón stated that "It is a very important film for Mexican cinema for different reasons. Because it is keeping Mexican cinema alive. " For his part, del Toro commented: "The film is a singularity in the decade in many ways. It has a measure, a sense of reality, place and time that is meticulously portrayed. "

Netflix's hand

In addition to being a successful debut feature, and being the recipient of being chosen to represent Mexico in two of the most important awards, I'm no longer here has also been a success for Netflix in Mexico. Although the film was released on its platform since May, it actually gained relevance until its numerous nominations for the Ariel award , the most important of Mexican cinematography. Its greatest achievement was given by sweeping this year's awards ceremony and also by the praise of Cuarón and del Toro.

For Netflix it represents a great achievement, as the film's distributor, it has put the movies released via streaming in the foreground. While the Oscars continue the battle between traditional cinema, digital cinema, movie theaters, and streaming, in Mexico it has consolidated the platform as a serious competitor against production companies.