Directed by: Humberto Flores
Distributed by: TBA
Written by Raúl Mendoza
From 2009 to about 2020, I had not crossed over to the other side of the border. The last time I was in mainland Mexico was for an uncle’s wedding that took place outside of Monterrey, Nuevo León. After that, it took me a whole decade to step back into Mexico. To this day I have yet to travel past Matamoros, Tamaulipas. You probably ask why such a long absence from somewhere I used to travel to practically every other weekend in my childhood. Just like everyone else, there was a grand fear over the Drug War that blew up during Felipe Calderón’s tenure as president. Things are a lot different but stories remain of the fear that many people in Mexico went through during the height of the war. At this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, I had the chance to watch a lot of short films made by some very talented Latine filmmakers. A lot of them did not stand out as much as “Fifth of June” which blurs the lines between narrative and documentary creating a fearful depiction of tyranny.
“Fifth of June” has an interesting approach that blends the lines of documentary and narrative. In Humberto Flores’ film, we follow a group of young protesters who are kidnapped by off-duty police officers disguised as civilians. The group is protesting the recent string of police brutality in their home country. The film is composed of shaky cam, unorthodox shots, and an experimental narrative that jumps between real life and fiction. The film feels really realistic because of its unconventional approach to the composition made of shots that never stand still until the very end. “Fifth of June” is not occupied with a sensational narrative but showcases the raw feeling of living under corruption. While it provides commentary on the current state of Mexico it also juxtaposes it with its past establishing the generational problem corruption has had on the country. Another aspect that helps build the atmosphere of the film is its lighting and color palette. The lighting that Flores and his team chose makes for a natural film that looks like you are right there in the heart of the madness. Its color grading makes it stand out instead of playing into the stereotypical yellow hues used to depict Mexico. Ultimately, “Fifth of June” is far more effective than films like “New Order” and it profoundly expresses its message of resistance and fear living hand in hand with each other. Hopefully, this film finds its way to the public soon. Whenever it does make it a priority to watch it as soon as possible.