In this film festival favourite, every day is magical in the tiny logging town of San Miguel de Cruces, Mexico, thanks to director Juan Antonio de la Riva, who captures the rhythms of small-town life through the stories of its inhabitants. From a young couple facing separation as the husband prepares to seek work in the United States to a pair of teens on the cusp of adulthood to the local movie theatre operator struggling to stay open after the introduction of satellite dishes, Pueblo de madera portrays a town—and a people—in transition.
Retrospective - Juan Antonio de la Riva
Drawing on personal experiences, de la Riva follows an itinerant movie projectionist who travels along the mountain back-roads in a battered truck, showing classic movies to lumberjacks off the tailgate. Camping, sleeping on old film posters in cheap hotels, Francisco’s life is rootless. A younger vagabond becomes his helper, then a pretty young woman becomes their companion. Along with a backwoods carpenter, the two young people help Francisco attempt to realize an elusive dream—to settle in his hometown, build his own theatre and show his cherished movies. Michael Donnelly