On May 26, the Mexican film by Ernesto Contreras, “The Last Wagon” starring Adriana Barraza and Guillermo Villegas, among other actors. The film pays tribute to teachers and their enormous vocation for teaching. This project is an adaptation of the book that bears the same name, which was created by the Spanish author, teacher and journalist, Ángeles Donatewith who THE REPORTER talked about the creation of this story and the perception he has about the success of the film.
“I have some books published, but never had a work of mine been brought to the screen. So it’s like asking yourself: ‘Is it happening to me?’… Well, yes, it’s happening to me. So I see this as a constant surprise for everything that is coming and it has been wonderful since May 26 for the teachers and children who write to me, so I live this with great chaotic joy, that when this stops , I will be able to go down (and assimilate it) ”, expresses the writer.
The plot is a universal story seasoned with tenderness and dignity about discovering the world and finding people, in this case a teacher, who guides you and accompanies you to see it more clearly. “I lived for a while in Mexico working as a community teacher and I keep coming back from time to time, I think I was imbued with it and that is why I set the story in Mexico, because it comes from that time of my life. But in reality it touches on such universal themes, which is what makes it seem like it fits there”, but he also remembers that they have told him from other latitudes how the film has touched the hearts of others, such as someone from Peru who showed the film to their children so they could see what their school was like when they were growing up.
“They wrote to me, also from Argentina and Uruguay. So, that is to say that from what it seems it is very Latin American (the context) without a doubt ”. She also highlights that they have contacted her from Colombia, Chile and of course from Mexico. “Deep down, it is universal and belongs very much to our very realities, also to a Spain of my grandparents.” It also highlights that there are other topics with which viewers empathize, such as friendship, hope, vocation and the power of transformative education.
What’s the story about?
The plot tells the story of little “Ikal” and his family, who live on a railway that travels across the country so that “Tomás” –his father– worked in the repair and construction of the train tracks; which prevents the family from staying in one place for a long time. But at this last stop, “Curly” meet “Chico”, a rebellious child whom he admires; to “Valeria”, a very intelligent girl (and for whom she will discover what first love is); to “one-eyed”another child who is part of the railway community already “Quetzal”, a dog without a breed that chooses “Ikal” as its new owner.
The four friends are students of “Georgina”, an unwavering teacher who does everything for her students with the little she has. Together they will make “Ikal” feel for the first time that she belongs to a place. However, a new threat is close to them: “Hugo Valenzuela”an inspector from the Ministry of Education, who has the exhausting (and thankless) task of closing rural schools supposedly for the greater good, which means leaving many children without the possibility of continuing their studies.
And while “Hugo” He travels the State with the files of the schools that he must close, there is one that stands out before his eyes: the Malinalli Tepenepatl Public School… the same one in which “Ikal” has learned the value of friendship, the importance of growing and the impact and the inspiration that teachers can generate in the lives of their students.
building the story
Ángeles confesses that she is interested in telling these stories about human dignity, because “they are the ones that interest me in living, therefore I am interested in telling and sharing them.” Regarding the creation of “The Last Wagon”, she expresses that a story is born from many seeds that are falling. “I perfectly remember a conference with an American teacher saying that the only chance a ‘poor’ child has – let’s put it in quotes because it’s a word I don’t like very much – is a good teacher”. This teacher had done an important study on low-income schools where every year the students were first in mathematics.
“So, there was always behind a teacher with a brutal vocation. So you had to bet on the teacher and his training, because good teachers want to go to the ‘bad’ places even for a while ”. So this context stuck in the author’s mind. “I went to Mexico, to the border, to live between Mexicali and Tijuana and I worked in community reinforcement schools and spaces for coexistence. So, this was a discovery for me, because I found the dignity of teachers, which does not have to do so much with diplomas, but with vocation, love and training, because you have to be better and want to improve”.
Finally, about the changes that were made from the book to the film, such as that in the film The protagonist is a teacher and not a teacher as in the text, Ángeles points out that the essence of the book is respected. “I am clear that my language and my artistic product are one, but that the people of Netflix or any producer or director, have another language and seek to excite as I pursue to convey a message. So, I started from the assumption that they had taken my story, they had read it and they had tried, so the essence is very respected. The change from teacher to teacher, they will know what it responds to, I have to say that when I saw this, it didn’t bother me”, this is because the vocation is portrayed there and it has nothing to do with the genre, “there is the same struggle and the same love, and well, fantastic, has been achieved. The director has taken such a loving look at the dignity of my characters that I’m excited.”
Netflix The Last Wagon Movies
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