Four years ago the director Horace Alcala discovered at muxes. Convinced that there is a lack of knowledge regarding this Oaxacan community, the director decided to make a fiction, his first fiction in fact, his previous works had been documentaries.
That’s how he started filming. Finlanda story starring Noah Hernandez and where he investigates the internal conflicts of this population. After circulating in 25 international festivals and Horacio Alcalá himself obtaining recognition for Best Director at the Seattle Festival, the director premieres the production at UNAM.
How did your relationship with the mux community begin?
Until four years ago I had no knowledge of them. I was embarrassed not knowing about them and for the same reason I think they need more publicity. My first step was to go to your community. During the investigation I reviewed documentaries and most of them seemed very romanticized to me. Yes, it is true that they are loved, but they also live a reality of violence and rejection, hence the idea of making the film with realistic documentary elements, but also magical realism.
The birds and the earthquake are resources of magical realism, how to work this tone that in the cinema does not always bring good results?
As Latin Americans we live magical realism every day. The idea that Delirio discovered his mother’s death through a bird comes from a family story. True or not? It depends on each person. Regarding the earthquake, the public can decide if it is a coincidence or if it is really their pain that has made the earth tremble. I’m not an expert in magical realism, I just wanted to experience it.
The film also focuses on their internal ghosts…
We have seen the muxes all the time from the outside. We know their interaction with society, but we have not seen how they feel inside, what their pains are and how they want to express themselves. That’s why in the film I wanted to show them through their communication with mother earth.
In fact, the environment is almost another character…
I chose the locations myself and I did it based on the energy they project. Amaranta’s house has nothing but adobe, that’s how she lives. I visited the places together with the actors and they helped me decide. Each actor chose the color of the dress for him. The clothing and hairdressing is done by the muxes.
Was it easy to get them involved?
Yes, we did not know how to contact them. We got in touch with the cultural house of the City Council, so that when we arrived they already knew about the film and were very kind. We met for two weeks and it was easy because they had a lot to say and contribute.
Your film draws attention from the title.
Yes, we have been criticized for calling her Finland, but it’s my film and I can give it whatever name I want. Actually, it could be called anything. Imagine the title of the site where you are when you feel bad and you already have it. We are not talking about Helsinki of course. Finland in the film is not a nation but Nirvana.
You come from the documentary, since this is your first fiction, how did you design the characters?
It was easy. For example, we gave the script to Noé Hernández and we left him absolute freedom, if he recommended silence we paid attention to him and that is why during the first ten minutes there is no dialogue. The actors were free to change the text.
Giving weight to silence is also an almost political position.
Noise says a lot, yes, but silence can be more powerful than words. I come from a family of farmers and I know that in rural areas only what is necessary is spoken. I wasn’t interested in making a film about the muxes, but rather in giving my point of view about them and their emotions. We have been criticized for not making the film with only muxes, but I think the actors are necessary.