Museo (Museum) press conference with Gael García Bernal and director Alonso Ruizpalacios
Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal first came to international prominence with 2001’s Y Tu Mamá También, and has basically stayed there ever since. He was curiously absent from the list of attendees at the press conference for his new film, after all, he was known to be in Berlin for the festival. Didn’t he feel like talking to the press? Roughly halfway through the press conference for Museo, the film’s star rushed onto the stage apologetically, being described as a welcome interruption. But it’s easy to lose track of time at this film festival. Museo is inspired by a real-life event in 1985, when two students stole a collection of 140 Mayan artefacts from the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City. These “uncommon thieves” find themselves facing an ethical crisis, in addition to the dangerous inconvenience of not being able to find a buyer for the loot. It’s a road movie, a buddy comedy, and it was one of the highlights of the 2018 Berlin International Film Festival.
When asked about what he found so appealing about the real-life events that inspired his film, director Alonso Ruizpalacios said: “The first thing that I became interested in was the journey, the sort of crime and punishment journey of the characters, and when I found out that the main guy who did it – the guy that Gael plays in the movie – his father was a doctor. My father was a doctor as well, and I think that this gave me a connection to the story. That made me more interested in their own personal lives than the heist itself. They are very uncommon thieves, and for me it was always about finding the inner journey of how a little kid, who can do pranks in school, etc, and how someone like that can suddenly become a world class criminal.”
Talking about the relationship that the story depicted on screen has to the real-life events, the director said: “The real events at some point became an obstacle in the telling of a good story, which is kind of what we ended up with – why ruin a good story by telling the truth? When we found that idea ourselves, we discovered that we needed to be more free with the story. The families of the real characters who did this crime didn’t want anything to do with the film. We reached out to them at the beginning and they said, f**k off, please don’t make this film. And I think in the end that was a gift. At first we saw it as an obstacle, but by the end we saw it as a gift. It made us find the story fresh.”
Gael Garcia Bernal was full of praise for his director. “From the moment Alonso approached me to talk about the project, which I’ve got to say, was many, many, many years ago. It was what… three years ago? Four years? Three or four years. It was something that was a must. A must to do. I admire Alonso’s work a lot, and we share a friendship from a long time ago, and it was definitely something that we had to participate in. I wanted to do a film in Mexico as well. And the story, of course. But it was Alonso who brought me into this. It’s through him that I decided what to do.”
Museo (Museum) does not have a UK release date yet. Read our review here.
Read more reviews from our Berlin Film Festival 2018 coverage here.
For further information about the event visit the Berlin Film Festival website here.