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Interview: Alejandro Landes (Porfirio)

[Editor’s note: This interview was originally conducted by Blake Williams at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival – Magic Lantern released the film at MoMA Feb 8-14, 2013]

Every year, about a week after Cannes’ Competition and Un Certain Regard line-ups are unveiled, the Directors Fortnight throws down a list of another 20 to 25 films, and the world instantly meets and greets some of the biggest names of the next few decades. Alejandro Landes and his debut fiction film Porfirio had been on our radar ever since Sundance announced the film would be a part of their June 2009 Directors Lab slate, but we can’t say we were prepared for the level of mastery and finesse that the Colombian newcomer was going to unleash on the Croisette this past May.

The first film from Colombia ever shot in Cinemascope, Porfirio is a dramatization of an actual event that took place in 2005, in which wheelchair-bound Porfirio – playing himself in the film – hijacked an airplane in protest of the treatment he experienced from the state. The film itself focuses on the lead-up to the incident. After the film’s premiere, we sat down with Landes to discuss the road to getting the film made, touching on the origins of the project, his documentary work, and the influence that Cahiers legend André Bazin has had on his creative sensibility, among other things. The film has yet to be picked up for North American distribution, but given the level of quality, it seems like it should only be a matter of time. He sure to check out the interview below.

Blake Williams is an avant-garde filmmaker born in Houston, currently living and working in Toronto. He recently entered the PhD program at University of Toronto's Cinema Studies Institute, and has screened his video work at TIFF (2011 & '12), Tribeca (2013), Images Festival (2012), Jihlava (2012), and the Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley. Blake has contributed to's coverage for film festivals such as Cannes, TIFF, and Hot Docs. Top Films From Contemporary Film Auteurs: Almodóvar (Talk to Her), Coen Bros. (Fargo), Dardennes (Rosetta), Haneke (Code Unknown), Hsiao-Hsien (Flight of the Red Balloon), Kar-wai (Happy Together), Kiarostami (Where is the Friend's Home?), Lynch (INLAND EMPIRE), Tarantino (Reservoir Dogs), Van Sant (Last Days), Von Trier (The Idiots)

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