Mexican director Gaz Alazraki in his first venture in Hollywood: El Padre de la Novia talks about patriarchy, machismo, and migration
06 de julio de 2022
With a properly recognized and appreciated by the audience, such as El Padre de la Novia —which premiered in mid-June on HBO Max— and his first venture into Hollywood as a director, Gaz Alazraki faced great challenges in the realization of this film, whose production company is Brad Pitt's Plan B.
“It was to have something to say because nobody wants to simply watch just a Latin version of such a beloved property. It has to have its own merit: its own voice and heart" he said, after stating that it is a film for everyone because it is not made just for Hispanics or Latin America.
Hence the main topic: is “to talk about modern patriarchy that is going to marry off a daughter at a time when new generations ask not to be treated as children" which in turn justifies the Latino ingredient since this idea can be further amplified and polarized with a traditional family of Cuban origin. "We are actually talking about the legacy of this Spanish Catholic patriarchy that reached Latin America in times of colonization when this machismo was even more marked," said Alazraki.
Another main topic is that of migrant Latinos. “The importance of this film is for us to be able to tell the US market what this experience is for us" he commented, after stating that this project has the resources that are not typically found in a Hollywood film that represents a minority like Latinos.
He added that it was interesting to have the support of the producer, Jeremy Kleiner when he argued that a Cuban has to be played by a Cuban and a Mexican by a Mexican and that way change the licenses Hollywood takes when representing Latinos. Alazraki highlighted the importance of clearly defining the differences between a Latino born in the US, one who migrated, and the broad concept of Latino that covers so many different nationalities.
Alazraki recalled that they spoke in depth of the origins of Cubans and Mexicans (with talents both in front of and behind cameras) and they all contributed their feelings, experiences, and points of view, enriching the project.
Another challenge was earning the respect and trust of the team, being this was his first experience as a director in Hollywood. “I must confess that at some point I felt the impostor syndrome,” he said, after commenting that he decided to go back to basics: the role of investigator or detective every director has, as well as asking the necessary questions.
He also highlighted the differences in resources, professionalization, and seriousness at work, in what he rated as "the big leagues", which is a Hollywood project. "When you are on the set, it is equivalent to being in an NFL game in which no one wants to see you distracted, wasting resources. There are no acceptable inefficiencies" he said.
To the question "Do you want to continue in the big leagues?" he answered: “Of course I do”. But he also wants to bring this experience and learning to the work processes in the industry in Mexico.