5 Things I Learned while I was Writing a Filmscript in Mexico

by Hans Bryssinck

1 Juan Gabriel - the Mexican megastar who redefined what it meant to be macho - has died on august 28. The day after I fell in love with him. For those who like showbiz, mariachis, glitter jackets, sentiment and a strong performance check the live recording of this concert with the National Symphonic Orchestra of Mexico at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in 1990. Or read an interesting article about the phenomena of El Divo - the male variation of the word 'diva' - De Juarez.

2 Two years have passed since the disappearance of the 43 students of Ayotzinapa.They are still missing and the case is unsolved. Independent investigators are pursuing their investigation. They claim their work has been obstructed by the same Goverment that has hired them to find out the truth and are calling for a robust follow up. People are still demanding the truth, trying to fight impunity, but general interest is fading. To refresh your memory, this is a news item of the time when it happened.

[ 'I can't give classes, I'm missing 43. I don't want you to be missing tomorrow.' teacher Rafael Reygadas on strike in 2014 ]

3 With the hashtag #NoEsLoMismo Larousse recently launched a publicity campaign.

[ If you're gonna sea a movie, you won't see it well. ]

I felt like the campaign was personally addressed to me, a foreigner who speaks and writes the language but still makes mistakes. But obviously the campaign addresses bad orthography with Mexicans. In a country where 5,4 million people are illiterate the government should probably buy the entire stock of Larousse and immediately arrange for a second and a third edition!

4 You have to sea this scene! It's known as La Maldita Lisiada from the series María la del Barrio and it's the most iconic scene from Mexican telenovelas from the '90. Weirdly enough it's been voted best telenovela scene ever, despite its poor editing, bad illumination, bad make-up, over-acting and situations and dialogues that make no sense. But it reflects a nice caricature of Mexican society at a time when exaggeration was the main tool for showing situations that were hard to believe. And for years that was how stories were being told on Mexican television.

Now, about 20 years later, the actress Itatí Cantoral who interpreted the villain character of Soraya Montenegro made it to the States. In June this year Netflix launched a new season of Orange is the New Black with a promotion video in which she stars. You have to see this video! I wish you could all understand the meaning of her words, but even only for her facial expressions it's worth it.

5 I had a chance to attend a conference with Walter Mignolo at The Centre for Critical Exploration and Thinking of the Universidad Iberoamericana. Mignolo has been an instrumental figure in the development of decolonial studies. At the time of reading fragments of his book The Idea of Latin America it blew my mind when I realized how the Eurocentric perspective is so deeply embedded even on the most common level of language and knowledge production. We commonly refer to 'the discovery of Latin America' and thereby immediately and implicitly impose the Eurocentric perspective on the way history is written. By silencing existing histories Europe deprived those lands and those cultures a history of their own. Europe didn't just colonize the land; they also colonized the writing of history. As if those lands needed to be 'discovered' before they were allowed to enter history, at least the history of Western modernity. I'm stating the obvious but apparently it can't be said clearly enough: those lands had many cultures, histories and civilizations of their own - THEY WERE PERFECTLY FINE! They didn't need to be 'discovered'.