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Los Angeles (AFP) – Called the “Three Amigos”, in reference to an American film featuring three vigilantes in Mexico, directors Guillermo del Toro, Alejandro Inarritu and Alfonso Cuaron have accumulated numerous Oscars together and contributed to a golden age of Mexican cinema.
At an event on Friday in Los Angeles honoring their films, the three acolytes told AFP that their longtime friendship has been an essential ingredient in their respective success.
“Amigo (number) one is calling amigo (number) two!” Guillermo del Toro says to encourage Alfonso Cuaron.
“I could have been a good director without them intervening. But they intervened and I survived!” jokes Alejandro Inarritu.
The bond that unites the directors – born a few years apart – goes back several decades. Before embarking on cinema, all three shone in other fields: Alfonso Cuaron and Guillermo del Toro enjoyed success together on television, and Alejandro Inarritu on radio.
After successful films like “Amours Chiennes” directed by Alejandro Inarritu in 2000, the three artists often exchanged ideas on new projects, and even participated in the complete re-edition of their respective works.
“I sincerely think that it was crucial… For us, not being alone in your work is a very nice gift, reacts Alejandro Inarritu.
“Whether we talk to each other or not, I know that the other two are there no matter what,” adds Alfonso Cuaron.
“Sometimes you even avoid asking them their opinion! You tell yourself ‘I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing because I know what they’re going to say to me!'”, laughs del Toro.
Collaboration with Netflix
In 2018, Alfonso Cuaron — the eldest of the trio — caused a stir in Hollywood after working with Netflix to create “Roma,” an intimate black-and-white drama that won him his second Best Director Oscar (after “Gravity”).
Alejandro Inarritu and Guillermo del Toro recently followed suit by agreeing to partner with the streaming giant.
According to Alejandro Inarritu, who won back-to-back Oscars with ‘Birdman or (The Surprising Virtue of Ignorance)’ and ‘The Revenant’, Netflix gave him the opportunity to make his most personal film to date.
The sprawling and dreamlike “BARDO, false chronicle of a handful of truths” follows a famous Mexican journalist as he explores the blurred boundaries between reality and memory, life and death, the United States and Mexico.
The main character of the film is even awarded a prestigious world prize by an American institution, not without evoking a parallel with the career of the “three amigos”.
“I don’t think it has changed us as filmmakers… But certainly recognition like the Oscars or prizes sometimes makes the journey a little easier,” notes Alfonso Cuaron.
For Guillermo del Toro, the Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director for “The Shape of Water” in 2018 “changed his life”: “It was beautiful. And it was very, very, very moving”.
His latest film, a dark take on the famous tale “Pinocchio,” is tipped to win Best Animation at the Golden Globes and Critics Choice Awards next week. He could also be an Oscar favorite in March.
The secret to their success? “Our desire for tacos perhaps, that’s what we have in common…”, replies, in a pirouette, Alejandro Inarritu.
“I think it’s humor”, retorts in turn Guillermo del Toro, before adding: “And a good breath!”.
© 2023 AFP
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Friendship, the key to the success of the “Three Amigos” of Mexican cinema