NYFF 2011: Day 6 ‘Miss Bala’

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Miss Bala

Directed by Gerardo Naranjo

2011, Mexico

Yet another long day at the Lincoln Center,  the wait for  Miss Bala proved to be just as timely. And rightfully so. With an array of festival passes lining the newly established Beale Theater of the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, it was indeed a sure sign that a great film was in our presence. Directed by Gerardo Naranjo and starring Stephanie Sigman, this Mexican dramatic thriller approaches drug violence through the unlikely perspective of a Tijuana beauty pageant contestant with high hopes of becoming a star. With long steadfast camera work and moments of intense first-person action, Miss Bala without a doubt will make an impression on your cinematic experience. What made the screening doubly special, was its Q&A with actress and director following the film (see image below).  Hearing words on creating a film about a topic so close to the director’s heart is one thing, but actually seeing it done in an artistic and reactionary manner that can’t compare to similar genre films, puts Naranjo in a league or two above his peers.Mexico is producing some of the best films and directorial talents out there today. Gerardo Naranjo is one of those directors and he is holding the bar up high with Miss Bala. See below for full synopsis and trailer, or visit the film’s page at filmlinc.com/films/on-sale/miss-bala.

“One of the most exciting young talents around, the Mexican director Gerardo Naranjo (I’m Gonna Explode, NYFF ’08) approaches the hot-button topic of drug violence through the perspective of an unlikely, unwitting heroine: a Tijuana beauty pageant contestant (Stephanie Sigman) who stumbles into the path of ruthless cartel operatives and corrupt officials. Although inspired by a true story, Miss Bala avoids docudrama cliches and tabloid sensationalism, and instead evokes the pervasive climate of fear and confusion that has enveloped daily life in some increasingly lawless pockets of northern Mexico. Using long takes and fluid, precise camera work, Naranjo fashions a highly original thriller: an anguished and harrowing mood piece with an undertow of bleakly absurdist humor and moments of heart-stopping action. A Fox International Productions release.”

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