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The Chambermaid (La Camarista), a behind-the-scenes look at the struggles of a young maid working at a luxury hotel in Mexico City, on Friday earned best picture honors at the 16th edition of Mexico’s Morelia International Film Festival.
Lila Avile’s feature-film debut bowed at the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this year to generally favorable reviews. Similar in some ways to Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma, which screened out of competition in Morelia, both pictures focus on the challenges and hardships of working-class women eking out a living in Mexico City.
The Chambermaid also landed a best picture prize from the Mexican Press Association.
Best director honors went to Alonso Ruizpalacios for his latest, Museum (Museo), an offbeat caper film that made a strong bow in competition at Berlin. The pic, which opens in Mexican theaters this weekend, also won Morelia’s audience award.
The weeklong event offered plenty of star power. Mexican director Cuaron, who resides in London, returned to his native country to present his semi-autobiographical black-and-white memoir film, Roma, which is seen as a frontrunner to win the foreign-language film Oscar. Cuaron held a master class moderated by Pawel Pawlikowski, whose love story Cold War is expected to give Roma a run for its money in the best foreign-language Oscar category. Both filmmakers received achievement awards from the Morelia fest.
Roma will bow later this year on the streaming platform Netflix and is expected to have a limited release in the U.S. and various international markets.
Also on hand at Morelia was Academy Award winner Damien Chazelle (La La Land), whose Neil Armstrong biopic First Man opened the festival. Other familiar faces included Diego Luna, who stars in the upcoming season four of Netflix’s Narcos: Mexico, and Luna’s producing partner Gael Garcia Bernal (Coco).
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