Prize for Leiden film on Mexican Indian conflict
The film ‘El último consejo’ (The last council) of the Leiden PhD student Itandehui Jansen won the Jury Prize at the international film festival of Viña del Mar in Chile. The jury praised the appealing way in which she brought together fiction and non-fiction.
The short twelve-minute film takes place in an indigenous Mixtec village community in Mexico. A fight breaks out when a new council takes office and money suddenly disappears from the village cash fund. The conflict illustrates the struggle between tradition and modernity in this group of Mixtec Indians. Jansen based the film on the script of scenario-writer Armando Bautista Garcia who lived through these events in his youth. She did not use experienced actors but chose instead to cast local inhabitants of the region. The PhD candidate is very involved with her topic. Jansens’ mother is also a Mexican Indian and she lived for the first five years of her life in Mexico.
The Jury Prize consists of a statuette and an honourable mention; there is no prize money involved. ‘This recognition is a great incentive for my research,’ says Jansen in a reaction. The film forms part of her PhD research at the Academy of Arts of Leiden University. ‘I am doing research on Indian film culture. In order to understand the films better, studying them is not enough. I also make films myself. There is no long film tradition among Mexican Indians. Just as in other indigenous cultures, the film-makers are rebelling against Hollywood traditions such as the often fixed genre structures of a story. But they are still very much looking for their own form in telling a story.’
Jansen filmed her own film in two days in bad weather. ‘We had to deal with continuous rain and had to film quickly in between the rain showers.’ The project was financed with her Mozaïek grant and some contributions from the Leiden Faculty of Archaeology and the Film Fund in Mexico. This is her second short film; she previously made a couple of documentaries. ‘El último consejo' has not yet been shown in the Netherlands. Jansen: ‘I hope that the film will be shown at one of the Dutch film festivals in 2013.’
(18 December 2012)
Film and Literature Studies
Film and Photographic Studies