Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Today's Mexico City Headlines: Two guys are fighting on a chopper skid above the Zócalo near the cathedral. Discuss.

Only Milenio resists fronting the photo op out of the filming in the Mexico City Zócalo of “Spectre,” the next Bond movie.
    The other four run, prominently, virtually the same photo — doubles for Daniel Craig and Alessandro Cremona (the bad guy) fighting on the skid of a helicopter in flight. It seems like we’ve seen this chopper action in every Bond film since Sean Connery was a handsome young man instead of a handsome old one. But never with the Mexico City cathedral in the background.
    There’s no coverage — just the shot with a small headline and extended caption, a fotonota in Mexican newspaper parlance. All of the heads —  “007’s air battle in front of cathedral” in La Jornada, for example, or Reforma’s “Danger, 007-style” — follow the unwritten rule of naming these stories: Always refer to the proceedings as Bond, James Bond, or 007. Never the film crew, or Sony or the production or anything else that actually exists. This held true even with coverage of the money the Mexican government paid to ensure positive images of Mexico City. It was a bribe, the headlines told us, not to Sony but to James Bond.
    But, what’s this? It looks like El Universal breaks the rule with the headline it superimposes over the helicopter action: “Is fiscal stimulus the cinema’s best friend?” No Bond, no 007, not even a Daniel Craig or Sam Mendes. But there’s a reason for the omission.
    El U is using the picture not as a fotonota but a photo-reefer — a teaser for an inside story. That story points out that Mexico is losing out as a filming location of foreign-made movies to Canada for the simple reason that Canada offers the production companies five times the tax break that Mexico does.
    It seems to me that choosing one of those two countries over the other would have more to do with the nature of the film than tax breaks. Though Canada and Mexico have more in common than most people think, they don't look the same. But that’s probably why I’m hacking out news reviews instead of working as a script doctor in my home town of Hollywood.
        The filming has added some zing to the Historic Center this last month. It’s also delivered an important lesson to the rubberneckers trying to take it in live: The process is boring. Even in an action movies like this one, 90% of it consists of waiting. Perhaps that’s true for life itself.

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