Mexican filmmaker Michel Franco has won the Leoncino d’Oro Award at the Venice Film Festival for Nuevo Orden, a film depicting a dystopian version of Mexico in the not-so-distant future.
The honor is one of several collateral awards at the festival and was presented by the Youth Jury, composed of 28 film-lovers between 18 and 25 from each of the countries in the European Union. The film is also in contention for the prestigious Golden Lion grand prize, which will be awarded Saturday evening.
Franco is no stranger to the awards stage. New Order, as the film is called in English, is his sixth feature film as director. Previous efforts have also won him prizes on the international film festival circuit, including a best screenplay award at the Cannes Film Festival for the 2015 film Chronic starring Tim Roth, and a Cannes Jury Prize for April’s Daughter in 2017.
New Order, which stars Diego Boneta, Naian González Norvind, Mónica del Carmen and Dario Yazbek Bernal, tells a tale of inequalities and political and social conflicts as the upper class in Mexico is replaced by a militaristic regime. It delves into racism, classism, poverty and wealth in ways that are uncomfortably reflective of the current unrest in several parts of the world, critics say.
The film opens with an opulent party for the wedding of an upper-class couple from Mexico City, which is interrupted when a legion of desperate people massacre the guests, marking the beginning of an insurrection in the streets that ends in a violent military coup that plunges the country into fascism.
Unflinching cinematography depicts shocking and brutal scenes of assaults, rapes, executions, torture, blackmail and corruption.
“It’s a dystopian movie to say, ‘Let’s not get there,'” Franco, 41, explained.
Reviews have been universally positive so far.
“Audiences might conceivably be divided on the vicious gut-punch of Franco’s approach, but as a call for more equitable distribution of wealth and power, it’s terrifyingly riveting,” the Hollywood Reporter writes.
“At its heart, it argues that social inequality is presently so great that violence is inevitable. It’s set in Mexico, but it could be anywhere,” says Cineuropa.
The film was screened Thursday night and drew a standing ovation from the audience and critics. The following morning Franco learned he had received the Youth Jury prize, and by this afternoon, Mexico time, he will know if New Order will be awarded the Golden Lion.
“You never should think about awards because you will be disappointed if they don’t happen,” Franco says. “I’m already happy seeing how things went and I hear that the film is considered daring and strong; they say that it is my most commercial film with a universal theme.”
After Venice, Franco goes to the San Sebastián Festival in Spain September 18.
Source: Milenio (sp)