When Ricardo Giraldo, the director of Cinema 23, proposed a roundtable on Japón, I thought it would be a good idea to invite two people from outside the film world. I wanted to avoid a focus that would be too oriented towards film buffs, as often occurs with these types of talks. And so we invited two very intense, profound people, one an artist and the other a sociologist, who complemented each other in an inverse sense. Abraham Cruzvillegas is an artist with a heavy interest in the place of the individual in Mexico. His work and discourse ceaselessly interrogate our role in the here and now. Diego Osorno is a social thinker of great creativity and artistic sensibility, transcending the discipline’s usual ivory tower reflections to make direct contact with the world around us – much of it, one of indescribable horror. I remember the day we had this conversation, and I then felt obligated to say all I could about Japón; reading it now, I’ve realized how wrong I was: we didn’t hear the voices of Diego and Abraham as much as I would’ve liked. I’m sorry, and I hope the reader can forgive me for not having taken better advantage of the presence of these two generous individuals who have so much to say.
I would like to add that, reading the transcript, I felt the deficiency of oral language versus the written word. To remedy this, I gave myself the liberty of clarifying certain concepts that I had sketched out in a confusing fashion that day. I tried to maintain the same tone and to be true to the content, only touching up the text up to clarify those things that seemed to me unintelligible in writing, or that would make the reading process tiresome or obscure.-Carlos Reygadas CARLOS REYGADAS A Mexican, director, writer and producer, Carlos Reygadas studied law in Mexico City and later specialized in law in armed conflicts and the use of force in London. After quitting his job with the Mexican Foreign Service, he made four short films in Belgium and then filmed Japón, his feature debut, which was first shown at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Camera d’Or-Special Mention. His following films also debuted at Cannes Batalla en el cielo (Battle in Heaven) in 2005; Luz silenciosa (Silent Light), which won the Jury Prize, in 2007; and Post Tenebras Lux, which won the award for Best Director, in 2012. He has co-produced all of Amat Escalante’s films since his debut, Sangre (2004). His most recent film, Nuestro tiempo (Our Time, 2018), debuted at the Venice International Film Festival.
CRUZVILLEGAS (1968) A Mexican conceptual artist, Abraham Cruzvillegas studied pedagogy at the National Autonomous University of Mexico and was part of Gabriel Orozco’s studio from 1987 to 1991. His work has been exhibited at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Redcat Gallery in Los Angeles, the Tate Modern Gallery in London, the Centro Cultural Monte Hermoso in Spain, the New Museum in New York, Modern Art Oxford, Le Carré in Nîmes and Artsonje in Seoul, among others. Since 1990, Cruzvillegas has taught classes and coordinated seminars and workshops at art institutions such as Dia Art Foundation, Malmö Art Academy, Ruskin College-Oxford, Duke University, New York University, the Glasgow School of Art, CalArts, the Guggenheim Museum, the Tate Modern, Museo Tamayo, Centro de la Imagen, Centro Nacional de las Artes, the San Francisco Art Institute, the University of California-Los Angeles, ENAP-UNAM and La Esmeralda. His work has been characterized by its use of found materials and reused objects, in particular in his project known as Autoconstrucción. His work utilizes media such as sculpture, painting, drawing, installation and video, through which he reveals a commitment to the material world around him, as well as his interest in the construction and transformation of both individual and collective identities. In 2012, he was awarded the Yanghyun Prize and he received the Prix Altadis d’Arts Plastiques in 2006.
DIEGO ENRIQUE OSORNO (1980) A Mexican journalist, writer and filmmaker, Diego Enrique Osorno is the author of eight books on 21st Century Mexico, some of which have been adapted for film and theater. As a documentarian and screenwriter, he has won domestic and international awards, such as the UNAM’s José Rovirosa Award and Cartagena de Indias’s India Catalina. He was named to the Oaxaca Truth Commission and has received an award from the World Justice Project for his work fighting impunity. He won Mexico’s National Journalism Award in 2013 and has received grants from the Pulitzer Center and the Rockefeller Foundation. His bibliography includes El cártel de Sinaloa. Una historia del uso político del narco (Grijalbo, 2009), La guerra de los zetas. Viaje por la frontera de la necropolítica (Grijalbo, 2012), Nosotros somos los culpables. La tragedia de la Guardería ABC (Grijalbo, 2010) and Un vaquero cruza la frontera en silencio (Literatura Mondadori, 2011). He lives in northern Mexico, where he continues to work independently.