NewsLatin AmericaDamian Alcazar: "In Mexico it is punishable for an actor to talk about politics"

Damian Alcazar: “In Mexico it is punishable for an actor to talk about politics”

Damian Alcazar.Courtesy

Damian Alcazar (Jiquilpan, 69 years old) is in full promotion of his latest film Mighty Victory, the first film by Guadalajara filmmaker Raul Ramon, and he only has 15 minutes to speak. Having in front of a monster of interpretation like him, one of the most emblematic faces of Mexican cinema, and only having 15 minutes is almost sacrilege.

The questions are piling up and a stopwatch through Zoom is scratching minutes and seconds like something out of a TV contest. It is striking that Alcazar has dyed blonde hair. Just as he is not afraid of getting into the skin of any character, he is not afraid of getting into any puddle either, and that there have been big ones in recent years. Especially when he has decided to clearly show his political ideas in favor of President Lopez Obrador, a man he admires, defends and respects. That has earned him many followers and many detractors in equal parts. “The other day a lady yelled at me in the street: There is the lambiscon [lameculos] of the president. I just laughed, but boy, how terrible that they tell you that because you think differently, ”she says.

The actor, very selective when it comes to choosing his roles, surfs the controversy with good humor, education and a lot of patience. He does not have social networks, although on Facebook and Twitter several usurpers have stolen his name and tweet nonsense in his name. Actually the controversy does not worry him too much. His friends and those who know him all repeat the same thing: “Damian Alcazar does not have social networks.” That’s not to say he doesn’t make his political views clear, even though he knows it can lead to trouble. “In Mexico it is punishable for an actor to talk about politics. It is an old position that the artist only makes poetry. I believe completely the opposite. The artist has to reflect his situation, his times, his society, ”he replies.

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mighty victory tells the story in 1936 of the town of La Esperanza, affected by the closure of its mine and its main railway route. A young mechanic (played by Gerardo Onate) will have to choose between migrating to the United States to fulfill his dreams or staying and helping his neighbors resist and build their own steam train. “Everyone in a group works as a team for a goal. That is what Mexico needs, that we work as a team, not that each one defend his privileges without thinking about the others. Over the course of a few years we are going to see that the country is much better ”, he affirms and adds:“ The opposition should thank Lopez Obrador for leaving the country in good condition again ”.

A curious fact is that Raul Ramon’s film was rejected by the IMCINE. In the absence of federal funds, it ended up being done due to the efforts of its creators with private financing. Alcazar says that when they told him about the project he was enthusiastic about it. “I have interpreted more than 20 first works in my career”. He acknowledges that more aid is needed for the cinema, but assures that it exists, even if it is “minimal”. “There will always be a need for a lot more help to make movies. It is a very expensive, necessary aesthetic language that will never die because it will be done in spite of everyone and everything. But yes, we need much more support in all countries, ”he denounces.

The public will also be able to see Alcazar in the next film by Luis Estrada, titled Hurray Mexico!, where he plays three magnificent roles that embody family, the State and religion. To the surprise of many, accustomed to the director criticizing the PRI and the PAN, the film is overwhelming with the Government of Lopez Obrador and the fourth transformation, the president’s political project. Without having been released yet, it has already raised the first blisters among supporters and detractors of the president. “The movies that Luis and I make are waiting for Luis’s enemies, Luis’s friends and those who have nothing to do with it,” says Alcazar, amused.

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Although the premiere was scheduled for November 3, the director decided to buy the rights to the film from the giant Netflix and take care of the distribution on his own. The film cannot yet be seen in theaters or on the platform, but Alcazar predicts a good reception for it and applauds the step taken by his friend. “For me, Luis is the best Mexican filmmaker and the film is very good. Without a doubt, he had to put his hand in for it to be released with all the promotion that has to be done and a good premiere, but I think they did well, ”he says.

“I am old and the cinema is better seen in the cinema. I recognize that it has enormous advantages to be on the platforms and I am glad that Netflix is ​​betting on Mexican cinema, but we need more screens, ”she insists. “We lost the screens when neoliberalism came, before going to the movies was cheap and belonged to the basic basket. This is how I saw Kurosawa, Bergman, the Italians, John Ford, everyone. Now it’s impossible.”

– And aren’t you afraid that Lopez Obrador’s followers will attack you after seeing Hurray Mexico!?

“No, I think that people who are obsessed, I don’t know, I don’t want to say stupid, who have a rigid posture, can feel that there is an aggression. But not. This is an aesthetic act in which Luis shows us all in a huge mirror. There we are all, absolutely all. It’s just a matter of opening up and recognizing that the criticism goes above all against Mexican society, which continues to be very intolerant, classist, and racist,” he explains.

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The actor defends that the current problems that the current government has have to do with its attempt to “clean house”. That is why he criticizes the last march in favor of the National Electoral Institute (INE) and against the reform of the president. “It was very strange that those who demonstrated are people who have always been involved in the government cheating on elections. The INE wants to change and wants to clean up like the rest of the country. You have to do it. The councilors are a bit tainted because they were elected by the previous parties and they have played unfairly in the elections in many ways, ”he remarks.

– But, among the demonstrators there were also non-privileged people who have legitimate reasons to march, right?

“There it does seem to me that they are not aware, that there is a lot of manipulation of information, because the INE is not being attacked. Nobody wants to remain in power forever, they are simply changing things at the root and it is going to cost ”, he replies.

The interview countdown is almost over. Before finishing, the actor, encouraged by the talk, wants to make something clear: “I have been waiting all my life for honest men who would try to do something for this country and who would return it to being a free and sovereign nation,” he says. He closes with that optimism that he never leaves him. “The foundations are shaking and changes are taking place, even if they are denied and hidden, they are taking place.”

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