FICG ’19: ‘Memories of My Body’ is a Personal and Harrowing Look at Gender

“My body is like a battlefield where the opponents fight one another,” proclaims acclaimed dancer and choreographer Rianto midway through Garin Nugroho’s newest film. He’s not only the narrator, but the story is also based in his own life. Indeed, the constant struggle that Juno, Rianto’s fictional representation, experiences with gender is the driving force for the aptly titled Memories of My Body.

The film is told in sections, marked by Juno’s age. In its early sections, it becomes evident that Juno is at odds with the world around him. Nugroho cleverly juxtaposes shots of kids playing and having fun with one another as Juno tends to be shown by himself, purposely avoiding people when possible. The children bully him and his teacher doesn’t hesitate to abuse him at the slightest mistake, even going as far as forcing him to write on the blackboard with chalk in his mouth. Juno is only happy when he is alone and spying on dancers as they put on makeup and practice their routines. As he watches them dance throughout the early stages of his life, his features fill with longing for what he can’t be.

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FICG ’19: A promising set-up turns convoluted in Jaime Rosales’ “Petra”

The search for one’s origin can be unyielding. A quest for belonging, for understanding of who we are and why we exist. It could be difficult for people who have never questioned where they came from to grasp how profound doubt is present in the everyday life of someone that’s missing a key piece of their identity. Bloodline is the thematic element that ties multiple parts in Jaime Rosales’ Petra.

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Cuarón’s Problem with Portraying the Working & Middle Class in “Roma”

This piece is not spoiler free.

Going into Roma, the new film by Oscar winner Alfonso Cuarón, my expectations were quite high. It wasn’t only because he happened to be my favorite director growing up (and is still my favorite out of the three amigos), but finding out this was his comeback to México made me ecstatic. Call it Mexican pride, but I’ve always preferred the works he made here over his mainstream American ones. I’m afraid my anticipation might have clouded my judgement when I first watched the film, as coming out of the theater, my first instinct was to praise it for its technical achievements. But, there was this uneasiness that I just couldn’t shake, which only grew stronger as the days passed.

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