Mexican Film La dictadura perfecta (The Perfect Dictatorship) Depicts Mexican Reality
By Sandra Ríos
The movie La dictadura perfecta (The Perfect Dictatorship), directed by Mexican filmmaker Luis Estrada and starring actor Damián Alcázar, premiered on October 16 in all of Mexico. Estrada has previously directed La ley de Herodes (Herode’s Law), a satire about the political corruption in Mexico, and El infierno (The Hell), which depicts the drug trafficking war in Mexico. Alcázar, who starred in The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian and is a frequent visitor to San Miguel, stars in both films. Their new movie, La dictadura perfecta, is a controversial film — among other things, it does not have the support of Mexico’s main television companies for broadcast, and because it addresses political, social, and media issues. Atención conducted an interview with Damián Alcázar.
Sandra Ríos: How was the premiere of the movie La dictadura perfecta in Mexico City, how was it received?
Damián Alcázar: It was great … it is the second Mexican film attended by a lot of the public, collecting 1.5 million pesos in the first weekend. People now respect Luis Estrada’s movies and I’m glad to be part of it.
SR: What does it mean to you, as an actor, to have participated in this movie?
DA: This is one more movie I made with Luis Estrada and has to do with the whole sequence of films that we have done together, addressing the situation and circumstances in the country, and analyzing and criticizing openly with a great sense of humor and intelligence, coupled with a wonderful film narrative and aesthetic. For me, this film is a slap to the viewer; it is like saying “wake up, look at what is going on!” to see what’s really going on with television and those who hold political and economic power. Television has become the educator of Mexican people, and it is shameful what they do, because they denigrate people with their stupid programs and their opinion leaders who respond to the interests of the company. For me La dictadura perfecta is this marriage between the media and the government or the people who have the power, they know that together they can achieve it, because what television does is to stupefy people, to manipulate and to give crooked information; they clean dirt that they themselves have created and throw trash on anyone who tries to get out of this. I remember López Obrador and the campaign “This man is a danger to Mexico.” This campaign was promoted in a way that some people still believe he is a danger to Mexico. The real danger for Mexico is what they do to the country. On the other hand, the film is not going to cause any harm; nobody is going to turn off the TV, no one will change channels, no one will say, “I won´t vote for them no,” nobody will do anything.
SR: This movie was presented in the Senate. How was the response from the senators?
DA: It was a very good response from the senators. But the political interests were there, as there were no people from PRI, because they follow the line, “you are not going to see that,” because they don’t want to be questioned, nor want to open a debate. It is better for them to appear as if they were ignorant, the same is for the television company. For the big TV companies, the film does not exist, except for small ones that have nothing to do with the big ones. We have already been in the Senate, so there has been a progress since La ley de Herodes, which was censored. Now in the Senate we were able to project the movie and open a discussion with the senators, who in this case were from PAN and PRD. I wondered that if we had shown El infierno, the ones who would have been there would have been for sure from PRI and PRD, but not from PAN, since it depicts the drug trafficking war during the government of the PAN president Felipe Calderón.
SR: Estrada wrote La dictadura perfecta before Peña Nieto became president, would you tell us a little more about this?
DA: Yes. I told Luis to be careful of what he wrote. In La ley de Herodes, my character, Juan Vargas, amends the constitution by saying, “this does not work,” and these government people did the same; they amended the constitution to open PEMEX to private and foreign enterprises. They were capable of doing it and they are doing it with all. It is very difficult to say what is first and what is after but as the tagline of the film says, “The TV has already appointed a president, will they do it again?” Hopefully not, because as the circumstances of the country are right now, they can do it again, and if anyone does not suit their interests, they will throw all the garbage on him, as they did with López Obrador, who, in my opinion, was the right man for this country. He is direct, clear, and honest.
SR: How was the filming La dictadura perfecta, since there are TV actors from the main TV companies in the country along with movie actors?
DA: Very well, the guys who work for TV and had not collaborated with Luis Estrada before knew they were making a film with a very intelligent creator, and with a very courageous story, so they adapted and tried to be at the height of the others. When you make a team in a production there are no stars, and if any of them are stars on TV, here they are doing teamwork with a different group of creators and therefore they have to adjust to get the best quality. There were never any problems, Luis directed them very well.
SR: Will the film be shown abroad? Is it nominated for any festival?
DA: It is nominated to represent Mexico at the Premios Goya in Spain. I requested of Luis that it is shown also in all Latin America, where I have done a lot of films.
La dictadura perfecta is now showing at La Luciernaga movie theaters.