Director's Portrait: Michel Franco

Discover one of Mexico’s most distinctive filmmakers at this year’s festival.

Director, producer and screenwriter. The Mexican filmmaker Michel Franco keeps himself busy, and likes to be involved in multiple aspects of a film production. This leads to greater control, and marks his projects with a more distinct artistic signature than the film industry usually allows. This makes it exciting to observe what moves within Franco’s works, because they presumably reveal something about him as a person. And watching the films he has directed thus far, it becomes apparent that this is an artist that is primarily preoccupied with the darker realities of human existence.

After making several shorts, he made his feature film debut with Daniel & Ana, which was nominated for the Camera D`or at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. A pair of siblings are kidnapped and forced to have sex on camera, and are left with a ransom demand and unimaginable trauma. Here, Franco pulls us into his universe, where dramatic circumstances leave the human beast gnawing away at spirit and dignity. This may also describe many of his later films, not least After Lucia, which revolves around the brutal teen culture of circulating sexual videos.

In several of his later films, both as producer and director, Franco exhibits a marked political awareness. However, his newest film New Order is, in his own words, the first of his films to explicitly comment on the political situation in Mexico. And after seeing the film, there is reason to be worried about the direction in which the country is heading.

Films included in the portrait section: