La Jornada – A taxi ride, documentary that tackles the taboo of male rape

The camera does not only function as an instrument to capture the moving images previously planned by a filmmaker. It is also possible to make it a peephole or a point of view, a present but everyday device and to generate what the filmmaker Mak CK (Singapore, 1978) calls an observation documentary, like a technique and a model in which the protagonists gradually reveal themselves. in front of the lens and the microphone his deepest traumas, his wounds and his fears, which will appear on the screen.

This was the case of Érick Cid from the capital, whom she met during her first visit to Mexico City in 2015, when renting her boyfriend’s apartment on the Airbnb platform. Despite their initial reluctance, the three ended up going out for a few beers and watching a tennis final. They were no longer watching the match because the young man from the capital ended up telling his life to this complete stranger.

“It was a moment of relief because I hadn’t spoken to anyone about the subject before and I opened up with him. It was talking to a stranger about something that was killing me inside and leaving me alone because I thought we would never see each other again,” explains the counselor and activist.

The process, slow and progressive, would lead him not only to denounce the sexual assault he suffered at 17 while getting into a taxi after trying to celebrate his birthday in the Zona Rosa. Not only did he end up threatened if he reported the incident, but also infected with HIV, unable to report or attend therapy, plagued by trauma that took him a decade to share with his core the closest.

The film, a taxi ride (A taxi ride, Mexico-Singapore, 2019), it took more than four years to complete because it was a very delicate process and much less to get the camera there. It was also not in the plans of the director, who the story simply crossed his path and chose him, the protagonist recalls.

“I think the same thing happened to me. I didn’t choose it to be like this, things happened and happened. This aggression had been stored in me for 10 years and it made me was hurting and hurting me. So having met Mak, being able to make this documentary and show it to more people, was my therapy, the catharsis of what I was going through, and for me the moment of healing came.” he explains.

Winner of the eighth Maguey Award for Best Film at the 34th Guadalajara International Film Festival, a taxi ride It has been available for rent on the FilminLatino platform since the end of March.

An impactful campaign

The director’s previous film, Little people Big dreams (Singapore-China, 2014), is also an observational documentary and deals with the complex stories of the employees of a Chinese amusement park, all exploited and abused by dwarfs, which was part of the documentary showcase of the International Film Festival Querétaro documentary, Doqumenta, in 2015, of which Román Rangel Ordóñez is director of programming.

“He first came to the Guanajuato festival and they asked us if we wanted to have this filmmaker from Singapore in Querétaro. We were only a few years old and, of course. any international guest was welcome. We became friends and he told me about the plan to work on Erick’s story, although he wasn’t quite sure if it would be a short film or an interview. But when he met Erick’s family, he realized there was a feature film there,” Rangel recalled.

As a professional programmer, the proposal moved him a lot because it was a story he had never seen discussed or like an observational documentary about a family in Mexico and much less touching on taboo subjects not only in the country but in Singapore where there is no law to protect male victims of sexual abuse.

After the job was done, Mak asked Rangel to join as the film’s producer and organize an impact campaign to direct and record a major exhibition tour throughout the Mexican Republic, but it was a plan so ambitious that they had to reduce it to just three functions in Guadalajara, Mexico City and Querétaro, during which many people were not only displaced but also opened up to report that they had suffered similar attacks.

“When I realized that people were going to be able to see the film, I was very scared because it was going to affect my attackers, my family, my friends, my future jobs and I don’t know how much it could affect me. affect, especially for the worse.. It ceased to be personal to become public and it has a great weight, you have to be careful what you say. I had to be a therapist for a lot of people. After the documentary, I felt that my life was taking the course it was destined to take”, concludes the adviser and activist on Instagram and YouTube with the account @ImErikCid.

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