If there is a filmmaker who has been characterized for being the spokesman of what afflicts Mexico, it is the film director Luis Estrada ("La Ley de Herodes," "El Infierno") His new controversial film "La Dictadura Perfecta" (The Perfect Dictatorship) is a satire that criticizes the current political system of Mexico and its relationship with the media and their astuteness to manipulate the reality through TV corporations. "La Dictadura Perfecta" recently was placed on the list one of the 10 most seen Mexican movies of all the time and will compete for the 2015 Goya Awards where it will represent Mexico in the category of Best Ibero-American Film.
We had the opportunity to sit down with actor Alfonso Herrera about his role in the film opposite Damián Alcázar’s Gobernador Carmelo Vargas as Carlos Rojo, an ambitious television producer plotting to get the corrupt governor elected as President. "La Dictadura Perfecta" was the second best opening in the history of Mexican Cinema, and has maintained a steady audience in subsequent weeks.
LatinoBuzz: Your acting roots are in television, and ironically life has put you in a film that strongly attacks Mexican television. As an actor did you ever have any doubts or concerning about accepingt the role?
Alfonso: When I read the script for the first time I knew that the topic was a little complicated and it was a topic that probably was going to hurt sensibilities. Nevertheless, it's something that is happening in our country and once I made the decision there was no going back. I simply continued going forward with this project.
LatinoBuzz: Did you ever think about the backlash, retaliation, or about the possibility of being vetoed from television because of this role?
Alfonso: No, It did not cross my mind. It simply seemed to me that it was an interesting project, and that it was a movie with an interesting director. Obviously, reiterating my initial point, it's a very complex topic. It's a very difficult topic, but I believe that beyond the political angle, I was also thinking about a very high quality film with a director of very high standards and with a spectacular script.
LatinoBuzz: What makes this character special to you? What new challenges did it bring to you as an actor?
Alfonso: It is a very interesting character that fortunately I could build him with Luis Estrada. Obviously, Luis is a tremendously precise film director, he is very surgical but it was a pleasure to work on this character with him.
LatinoBuzz: Very often the reality overcomes fiction that nobody would imagine, Not even in an horror movie, But the case of Ayotzinapa: What opinion do you have of what’s happening? Do you believe that films can help to change the reality?
Alfonso: I believe that you described it in a perfect way, that reality overcomes the fiction, undoubtedly. And it seems to me that the current conjuncture is impeccable for everything that is happening. Especially when the moment in which the movie came out, the conjuncture was brutal. What helps this movie is that people go and see it, that they question themselves, to later be able to question others, I believe that this is what we have to do. I believe that we have to lift the voice without fear and simply go forward, because in a lot of other occasions, we got tired, we have lowered the arms and simply let everything happen. I believe that in this situation it can't be like that and I believe it will not be like that anymore.
LatinoBuzz: One of the positive things, was the success of it in Mexican movie theaters. What do you think of this? Do you think it gave value to other national films?
Alfonso: The positive thing is that today we can realize that a Mexican film it is positioned in the top 5 of the box office during more than one month and that Mexicans are taking into consideration that Mexican films can be enjoyed with the family, instead of going to see Transformers and that our films looks like something that are necessary to support.
LatinoBuzz: Tell me about your next projects...
Alfonso: I have just finished working on a series for Netfllix. It's called Sense8 directed by the Wachowski Brothers. Also, now I am filming a series for Sony, which will be released next year.
LatinoBuzz: What movies have inspired you in your career?
Alfonso: There are many movies that I like, but I'm not sure if they have inspired me. I like "Training Day" very much. Denzel Washington's performance was spectacular. I also like "The Godfather"and "Kill Bill." I love Tarantino's mind and I believe that "Kill Bill" describes very well his mind and thoughts.
LatinoBuzz: Who is one director you would like to work in a future?
Alfonso: I am open to keep on discovering new interesting projects, and little by little I have been coming across very beautiful projects with very affectionate directors. I did not imagine myself working with Campanella or with Luis Estrada or with the Wachowski Brothers and these are things that have happened to me and I am very satisfied. I hope to keep on finding interesting projects and interesting stories.
LatinoBuzz: How would you like your fans to remember you?
Alfonso: The only thing that I am trying to do is to find stories that I like, stories that are meaningful and that can connect and question, since I am not 18 years old anymore. I am 31 and the way in which I am choosing my projects is very different that from when i was 18 years old. I believe that from this position, each of us can do something to be able to change a bit what it is happening in Mexico. .
LatinoBuzz: What has ''La Dictadura Perfecta'' given you as a professional and as a Mexican?
Alfonso: I can tell you, not only as a Mexican but I can say it to you also as a professional, that the project gave me the opportunity of working with a group of splendid actors and a wonderful director. I hope that this movie serves to encourage many Mexicans to question, just question, we are not trying to instruct. I simply for people to question a little of what's happening around them.
Renee Ylizaliturri is an independent film and television producer from Mexico and is member of the Asociacion Mexicana de Cineastas Independientes. Part of her work is producing political campaigns as a media strategist and consultant. @Renylizaliturri
LatinoBuzz is a weekly feature on SydneysBuzz that highlights Latino indie talent and upcoming trends in Latino film with the specific objective of presenting a broad range of Latino voices. Follow[At]LatinoBuzz on Twitter and Facebook