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Film director visits Rice

By Jessica Wilder     9/14/11 7:00pm

Mexican film director Arturo Ripstein came to speak for a film series based on his movies, last Friday and Saturday at the Rice Media Center.

Ripstein was invited to do a screening of his films at Rice University by Hispanic Studies Department Professor Luis Duno-Gottberg, who teaches SPAN 406: Introduction to Latin American Cinema and is currently collaborating on a volume about Ripstein's work. Duno- Gottberg said he worked closely with Ripstein and his wife and screenwriter Paz Alicia Garciadiego throughout the entire process of planning the film retrospective.

"At one point, we were tempted to screen only Ripstein's rarest and earliest work including a number of shorts and documentaries, but we then decided that the public needed to see some of his most celebrated works," Duno- Gottberg said.

"I take enormous joy in my work," Ripstein said, specifically of his film Principio y Fin.

Ripstein started his 46-year-long career in the film industry when he worked as the assistant to Mexican Director Luis Brunul. He said he soon developed his own style of making film adaptations of novels and believes directors are allowed and obliged to make any changes they want when adapting a novel.

Ripstein enjoyed working with his father several times throughout his career, though it posed challenges, he said.

"Working with my father was a relationship that was condescending on both sides," Ripstein noted.

On Saturday night, Ripstein was joined by Garciadiego. The couple said their professional relationship is successful because they share passion for the films they make.

"It's living together that's complicated," Garciadiego said.

When asked to describe some of the challenges of movie-making, Ripstein said that censorship is a constant struggle.

Audience members at the movie said they enjoyed watching the film and hearing about Ripstein's background.

"It was really interesting to hear about how the director followed his dreams from when he was young," Lovett College freshman Andrea Paramo said.

The Arturo Ripstein Retrospective Film Series was only part of the Mexican Film Series that Rice is holding throughout the month of September. The larger series is an annual public event in its second year that is the joint effort of Rice University and the Mexican Consulate. Last year the Film Series included a retrospective of the works of Juan Antonio de la Riva, and plans are already underway for hosting another Mexican director at next year's event.

The Mexican Film Series continues on Sept. 23 at 6:30 p.m. at the Rice Media Center with Jorge Perez Solano's tragi-comedy Spiral.

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