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Quebranto (Disrupted), a film about mother–child relationships and sexual diversity

By Jesús Ibarra

Quebranto (Disrupted), documental/documentary
Español/Spanish with English subtitles
Talk with director Roberto Fiesco/Plática con el director Roberto Fiesco
Fri, Apr 4/Vie, Abr 4
Teatro Santa Ana
Reloj 50-A
Donation/Cooperación: 30 pesos

As part of the celebrations for its 60th anniversary, La Biblioteca presents the documentary Quebranto by Mexican director Roberto Fiesco, which has won awards at several film festivals. Quebranto tells the story of Doña Lilia Ortega and her son, Fernando García Ortega “Pinolito,” a child actor in the Mexican cinema of the 1970s. As an adult, Fernando revealed his sexuality and became Coral Bonelli. The director, Roberto Fiesco, who will be at the Teatro Santa Ana today presenting his film, talked to Atención about Quebranto.

Jesus Ibarra: How did you first contact Fernando García Ortega “Pinolito,” now Coral Bonelli?

Roberto Fiesco: In 2003, I was producing a film called El Mago (The Wizard) and Doña Lilia Ortega was in the film. She said she wanted to appear in the credits as Lilia Ortega “Doña Pinoles.” When I heard her nickname, I remembered that in the 1970s there was a child actor who appeared in movies and was nicknamed “Pinolito.” I asked if he had anything to do with her, and she told me he was her son. Two weeks later, she came back for a dress rehearsal and when she came to my office she told me, “I brought Pinolito.” Pinolito was now a tall, blonde woman and was wearing a dress and heels and carrying a purse. He impressed me a lot, both as a former child actor and as the woman he now was, and by the contrast between him and his mother. Coral is very tall, and Doña Lilia is a very short woman. I thought I had many questions I wanted to ask them, but I did not do it until six years later, when I decided to make this documentary.

JI: Did you ever see his movies as a child?

RF: Caridad, directed by Jorge Fons, a segment of the movie Fe, Esperanza y Caridad (Faith, Hope and Charity), was essential to my own developing love of cinema. I remember the impression that Katy Jurado’s face made on me, and the presence of this boy. That was the film with Pinolito I knew best. Then, while researching his life, I realized that there were others like La casa del sur or Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia by Sam Peckinpah.

JI: Why did you decide to make a documentary about this story?

RF: I was intrigued with these two people, now almost anonymous, who did not appear in any official history of cinema, and I thought there was a lot to say. At first I thought about doing a video interview just to have a testimony from them. I went to their house one day and I started to ask questions. Gradually I began to realize the richness they both had, both professionally and emotionally, and I decided I had to get closer and that we could make a feature film.

JI: What was the reaction of Coral and her mother when they learned you’d do a film about and with them?

RF: They took it in a very natural way. They have the great advantage that they’ve been in front of cameras for many years, so it did not seem strange for them. I think they were not very aware of what we were doing, until they saw the movie. They never said anything in favor or against it.

JI: The movie, although a documentary, seems like a fictional film. How did you achieve this fluidity in the film?

RF: I think  by using many narrative devices, designing each of the sequences in a different way. There are sequences that are based on musical films or on photographs by photographers such as Bert Stern, which for me were very important elements, and on Mexican cinema, to which Coral and her mother belonged, which was also a big influence for me. I mixed a bit of cinephilia, some photographic elements. The fact that they were actresses helped me because they were not static, as people usually are in documentaries.

JI: How many awards has Quebranto won?

RF: About 10, at the festivals of Guadalajara, Morelia, Durango, Zacatecas and some international ones such as San Sebastián and Lisbon, among others.

JI: What does Quebranto mean in your life?

RF: I filmed Quebranto because I really wanted to tell a story that had to do with the cinema, with family, with the mother–child relationship, and with sexual diversity. Doing so was comforting. I opened for myself a new field of personal expression. I have much interest in continuing directing and as a producer I think I have become much more demanding; it does not interest me to bond with a project that is not in accord with my ideological, political or emotional ideas.

JI: How do you conceive the way a certain idea should be filmed?

RF: It’s an intuition, ideas that come to me. I’ve never gone looking for ideas. The stories come to me or I have the intuition to identify certain types of stories that come to me in my life.


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