Q&A with Nicolás Pereda

Since his 2007 debut, Where Are Their Stories?, Nicolás Pereda has distinguished himself as one of Mexico’s most treasured young writer-directors. Known for his collaborative, hybrid approach to filmmaking, The Absent marks a turn for Pereda to a focus on drawn-out scenes and careful, exquisite compositions. It centers on an old man living in the Oaxacan forest whose solitary daily routines are broken after he attends a hearing to resolve a land dispute. After this rupture, memories from his past begin to intrude, and following the demolition of his house, the man takes to the mountains in the hopes of finding people he once knew. The Absent effortlessly captures the beauty of this magnificent terrain while witnessing the abandonment of subsistence agriculture in southern Mexico.

Screening with:

The Palace / El Palacio
Nicolás Pereda, Mexico, 2013, DCP, 37m

Nicolás Pereda demonstrates his skill for abstracting everyday ritual in this film about 17 women and girls who live together in the same house, beginning with the opening shot in which all of them brush their teeth around a shared sink. Though the reasons why they’re cohabitating remain mysterious, the interjections of off-screen voices giving instructions on how to perform certain tasks suggest a certain degree of co-dependency or training.