2012, Movies

El Alcalde [The Mayor] (2012, Emiliano Altuna, Diego Enrique Osorno, Carlos Rossini)

This a challenging but confused film that begs the question, ‘what is more important to you, peace and security or freedom, transparency and accountability?’ This is an especially poignant question in Mexico, which experiences its share of violence.

On the one hand, we have an intimate and honest and candid as possible – as possible – interview with the Mayor of San Pedro Garza Garcia, supposedly the richest community in Latin America and a complete haven from the drug war. The mayor employs a police force that is practically a small army – officially 500 officers for 100,000 people, but probably many more – and virtually admits that he has people killed. He is also filthy rich. Fortunately, the filmmakers just let him talk and he impeaches himself even as he spins his tenure – though not so much legally.

On the other hand, we have a film that was clearly the vision of multiple people – the three credited directors seem to have wanted to achieve different things – that jumps from relying almost completely on found footage, to a incredibly compelling musical motif that suggests a deep mystery over top of images of the mayor’s very comfortable life, to the interview, and to the mayor’s public appearances, and back again. There does not appear to be any rhyme or reason to the structure of the film.

The score, in particular, suggests that they will eventually reveal a big secret – for example, that they have definitive proof that he is being paid by his richest citizens and perhaps even certain drug lords to keep the peace no matter what the cost – but that never happens. Instead, we see that he is clearly up to extralegal things, that he believes these actions are justified in order to keep San Pedro free of organized crime, and that he pretty comfortable with all of this – both mentally and financially. I’m not sure anything coherent – on the part of the filmmakers – ever emerges.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.