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NATIONAL TRIBUTE: Damián Alcázar

To speak of Damián Alcázar is to examine one of the most visible careers in Mexican cinema from the last few decades. His work has allowed him to portray a large variety of roles that encapsulate the tribulations of a country —or even a continent. The Guanajuato International Film Festival pays a warm tribute to the brilliant career of a Mexican that has allowed us to see ourselves on the screen. Originally from Jiquilpan, Michoacán, Damián Alcázar would soon move with his family to Zapo – pan. That is where he first met cinema, which would mark his vital trajectory. In 1976 he entered the Bel – las Artes Institute to study Performing Arts. In 1980 he began studying theater at the University of Vera – cruz. One of his first experiences was to star in Jean Genet’s El balcón, directed by George Labaudan. This Premier actor has mentioned on several ocassions that his journey toward film acting start – ed with Gabriel Retes’ La ciudad al desnudo. There he played La Suavecita, a member of an infernal Street gang that crosses paths with a couple’s failed attempt at running away. He would then star in Ar – turo Ripstein’s La mujer del puerto, where he played “El Marro”, a sailor of delicate health whose lustful love of a prostitute is outlawed on all levels. The part of Marcelino in Lolo (1993) would earn him his first Ariel for Best Supporting Actor. In Ro – berto Sneider’s Dos crímenes (1994), Alcázar played Marco, an architect who is accused of a crime he didn’t commit. He is the actor who has won the largest number of Ariels, 5 for Best Actor and 3 for Best Supporting Actor. His filmography is made up of more than a hundred titles, between movies and television se – ries. Besides the already mentioned, we remember his performances in films such as Algunas nubes (1995), Bajo California: el límite del tiempo (1998), Ave María (1999), El Crimen del Padre Amaro (2002), Las vueltas del citrillo (2005), Fuera del cielo (2006), Sólo Dios sabe (2006) and De la infancia (2010). Besides his extensive filmography in Mexico, he’s very in-demand internationally. In the Colom – bian film Satanás (2007), for example, he plays a veteran driven insane by the Vietnam War who de – cides to take his misanthropy to the extremes. In the United States he participated in the fantasy epic The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (2008), demon – strating that one need not be typecast to get work in that country. For some it may be hard to imagine that until recently it was nearly impossible to make a film in Mexico that criticized its political system. Doing just that, Luis Estrada’s La Ley de Herodes became one of the most well-known comedies in Mexican cin – ema. Its difficult road to release fed the audience’s curiosity. This would be the beginning of a fruitful partnership with this director with whom he made three more films: Un mundo maravilloso (2006), El infierno (2010) and La dictadura perfecta (2014). Each of them satirized problematic aspects of Mex – ican society and its relationship to power. He’s had a constant presence in the médium of televisión. He played Tuco Salamanca in Metástasis, the Colombian adaptation of the hit show Breaking Bad. Other highlights include Don Chalo in Sin senos no hay paraíso and Sr. Hull in 2091. He has recently gained international recognition for his work as Co – lombian drug dealer Gilberto Rodríguez Orejuela in the Netflix series Narcos. He also continues to make independent cinema in our country, such as a drama about a group of highway workers called La delgada línea amarilla (2015), directed by Celso García. His enormous sensibility allows him to perfect – ly embody a wide array of recognizable archetypes: the working man, the upstart, the corrupt politician, the drug dealer, the beggar, the gang member and the Middle-Class worker. His meticulous method in elaborating these characters indicates a passion for his work and, above all, a gift for acute observa – tion that allows him to capture the subtle edges of our reality in every character he plays. Constantly demonstrating his solid preparation as an actor and his strong presence, Damián Alcázar is one of the most endearing faces of Mexican Cinema. He’s al – ways committed to social causes; his career is an example that artistic quality can get along with an awareness of social issues. His stamp is plastered all over our collective memory and his work is the expression of a country that won’t stop embracing its own dark sense of humor.