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Perpetual Motion: The Cinema of Nicolás Pereda

Screening of Nicolás Pereda's recent film Verano de Goliat (Summer of Goliath) with a special appearance by the young Mexican filmmaker.

Friday, August 12, 2011
7:30 PM
Billy Wilder Theater
Hammer Museum
10899 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, 90025

Perpetuum mobile is Latin for “perpetual motion” and in musical terms, it can be a composition in which large sections are repeated, often at a different pitch, for effect. It’s also the title of Nicolás Pereda’s third feature. But perpetuum mobile, in both senses of the phrase, could also describe Pereda’s body of work as a whole. Since his first feature in 2007, Where are Their Stories?, earned him international acclaim and comparisons to filmmakers such as Pedro Costa and Lisandro Alonso, Pereda has worked seemingly non-stop, producing four more features and a short, each of which speaks to the others through repeated themes, characters, actors and forms. It’s a remarkably unified career that critic Robert Koehler has described as, “one grand, unfolding cinema exploration, revealed in succinct sections all under 90 minutes.”

Born in Mexico City and residing in Toronto, Pereda has shot all of his films in his native Mexico where divisions of class and geography—rich and poor, rural and urban—fuel his fascination with crossing boundaries and blurring categories, especially fiction and non-fiction. Earthy and deeply rooted in the local, a groundedness derived in no small part from Pereda’s outstanding regular company of performers, including Gabino Rodríguez and Teresa Sánchez, Pereda’s films are often also punctuated by heady cinematic play. Different takes or rehearsals of a scene may be presented in succession (Perpetuum Mobile, Summer of Goliath) or what appears to be a documentary interview could be an audition (Interview with the Earth), each note of ambiguity a nod to the constructed nature of the image that, rather than break the illusion, deepen its mystery.

About the Films:


In his most recent film, director Nicolás Pereda layers incidents and interviews, fiction and non-fiction into a spellbinding portrait of a rural Mexican town. Teresa grapples with depression after her husband leaves her; her son, just returned from the army, succumbs to boredom and violence; and a local girl’s death is blamed on a boy, nicknamed “Goliath.” Throughout, tensions personal and political roil the heavy summer air.

76 Minutes | In Spanish with English Subtitles


A young boy’s accidental death leads his grief stricken mother to seek solace in an indigenous ritual while an off camera interviewer questions the boy’s two friends, witnesses to the fall that killed him. Caught in this short’s quiet, compelling rhythm and the earnest performances of director Nicolás Pereda’s non-professional cast, one easily loses track of how to read the images on screen as either fact or fiction before the usual categories give way to different ways of knowing.

18 Minutes | In Spanish with English Subtitles


To purchase tickets, please visit the link below. Parking Information: Parking is available in the lot under the theater. Enter from Westwood Blvd., just north of Wilshire. Parking for people with disabilities is provided on levels P1 and P3. After 6pm: $3.00 flat rate. Before 6pm: $3.00 for first 3 hours with Museum validation and $1.50 per 20 minutes thereafter, maximum $12 per day. To obtain validation stamp show your ticket stub at the security desk in the Wilshire Lobby.

Cost : Free to UCLA students with valid ID; $10 Online; $9 At the Door; $8 non-ucla students & seniors

Download file: Nicolas_Pereda_Series-px-fqa.pdf

Sponsor(s): Latin American Institute, Center for Mexican Studies, Film and Television Archive, Spanish and Portuguese

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