Cinema Tropical presents the U.S. Theatrical premiere of ‘The Last Christeros’ (Los últimos cristeros) by Matías Meyer, a highly unusual historical film that takes a meditative, nearly non-narrative approach to portraying the experiences of those who continued to resist the Mexican government’s anti-Christian (especially anti-Roman Catholic) persecution, even following the official end of the Cristero War in 1929. The film opens on Friday, August 30 for a one-week exclusive engagement at Anthology Film Archives in New York City.
Devoted to the cause, despite their increasing desperation and fatigue, and their yearning to rejoin their families, this band of rebels – whose genuine religious faith and spiritual innocence is apparent despite their paradoxical embrace of armed struggle – trudges exhaustedly through the hills and mountains of rural Mexico, experiencing moments of grace and beauty amid the violence and suffering. Eschewing a narrative chronicle of the War’s events, Meyer instead puts us in his weary fighters’ shoes, and emphasizes the quiet, strangely tranquil moments between battles.
Winner of the Cinema Tropical Award for Best Director, this third feature by Meyer (following Wadley and The Cramp) decisively establishes him as one of the most gifted of young Mexican filmmakers, and represents a striking combination of minimalist cinema and historical depiction. Based on Antonio Estrada’s acclaimed novel Rescoldo, the film was nominated for eight Ariel Awards, Mexico’s national film prize, including Best Film, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay.
The film is presented in anticipated of GENMEX PART II, a series featuring some of the most inventive and cutting-edge filmmakers working in Mexico today, running September 6-12 and presented by Anthology Film Archives, Cinema Tropical, and the Mexican Cultural Institute of New York.
“The final days of a band of 1930s Christian rebels in the central Mexican wilderness are depicted with majestic stoicism in Meyer’s elegant ode to independence (…) the film is free of factoidal narrative, and has been de-dramatized to convey the experience of being a guerrilla fighter.”
–Robert Koehler, Variety
About the filmmaker: Matías Meyer was born in Perpignan, France. A graduate of the Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica in Mexico City, he is one of the founders of the independent production company Axolote Cine, created in 2006. His first feature filmWadley, premiered in the Rotterdam International Film Festival in 2008. El Calambre / The Cramp, his sophomore production based on a short story by Gao Xingjian, premiered in the same festival in 2010. His work has been screened in numerous film festivals including Locarno, Morelia, FICCO, Buenos Aired Independent (BAFICI), Cinéma du réel y Clermont Ferrand, among others. He’s currently developing his new project untitled Yo, for which he received support from the Hubert Bals Fund.