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. The Archive is pleased to present this retrospective of Peredas’ films with the director in person on August 12 and 13.
Special thanks to: David Arriaza, assistant director, Kevin Terraciano, interim director, UCLA Latin American Institute; Maarten Van Delden, director, UCLA Department of Spanish & Portuguese; Rubén Hernández-León, director, UCLA Center for Mexican Studies; Sandro Fiorin, FiGa Films.
All films written and directed by Nicolás Pereda and in Spanish with English subtitles.