Profile: Gerard Naranjo - director of I'm Gonna Explode
1971, Salamanca, Mexico.
Having grown up in the small town of Salamanca, Naranjo studied filmmaking at the National University Film School in Mexico City and the American Film Institute in Los Angeles. In 2004 he made his Scorsese-influenced, micro-budgeted debut feature Militance about young drug dealers in New Orleans, whilst his second film Drama/Mex, which crosscut between three separate stories unfolding over one night in Acapulco, premiered at Cannes, before screening at more than 50 festivals around the world.
What’s he up to now?
Naranjo’s third feature I’m Gonna Explode, an intense story of teenage lovers on the run which stars newcomers Juan Pablo de Santiago and Maria Deschamps is coming out in the UK. He is also currently producing a documentary about Mexico’s most corrupt policeman.
On the inspiration for I’m Gonna Explode
‘There was a feeling I wanted to capture. It had to with the perception of loneliness that you can feel when you are a teenager and there’s no way to communicate with others. I wanted to speak about being lost in yourself without the concept of what’s right and wrong.’
On casting teenage newcomers
‘It was a long process, taking about eight months, to find the right actors to play Roman and Maru. I wanted to find kids who had a similar sensibility to the characters. It was not about escaping into decadence, it was about saying ‘No’ to the life they were experiencing before they flee. Roman had to be a bit of an egomaniac, Maru had to be like a tough believer.’
On contemporary Mexican cinema
‘The best films from Mexico are being despised by the mass audience as ‘art films’. Soap operas rule, ignorance and stupidity are all over the media and there’s not much room to make personal films. At the same time there are a handful of directors who are taking risks and finding their own paths. So I guess it’s a good time to fight against the machine.’
The first film that Naranjo ever saw was The Thief of Baghdad.
I’m Gonna Explode, GFT, Glasgow and Cameo, Edinburgh from Fri 1 Jan.