This engrossing documentary introduces us to Mexican millionaire mayor Mauricio Fernandez, a larger-than-life and frequently controversial politician who lords over Latin America’s wealthiest municipality from his eccentrically decorated palace — and has a predilection for taking justice into his own hands.

TIFF Docs

The Mayor

Emiliano Altuna Fistolera, Carlos Federico Rossini, Diego Osorno

Since 2006, when former president Felipe Calderón declared a war on drug trafficking and organized crime, there have been an estimated 60,000 narco-related fatalities in Mexico. In 2010 alone, fourteen mayors were executed across the country — a message from los narcos about just who calls the shots. Tucked within this culture of violence, in the northern state of Nuevo León, sits San Pedro Garza García, considered the wealthiest municipality in Latin America — and the safest in all of Mexico. Presiding over this affluent enclave, from 2009 to late last year, was outspoken mayor Mauricio Fernández Garza, a millionaire determined to rid his town of drug trafficking and murder-through whatever means necessary.

The Mayor, the debut documentary by Emiliano Altuna Fistolera, Carlos Federico Rossini, and Diego Osorno, offers an intimate understanding of the current situation in Mexico from a side of the spectrum rarely accessed: someone in a position of power. Fernández cuts a controversial figure: when newly elected he publicly announced the death of a crime leader before the body was even found. Fearless, and surprisingly affable, he has no qualms about how he gets his job done, nor do his residents seem to mind. Since his election, crime rates, though still high, are down.

Over the course of The Mayor, we see Fernández play a clarinet solo in his enormous fortress outfitted with tiles from William Randolph Hearst's mansion. We watch home movies of his expeditions to Africa, and listen to his thoughts on governing, which often enter troublingly hazy moral zones. Allowing their subject to reflect on his life's activities in the comfort of his own quarters, Fistolera, Rossini, and Osorno, in accordance with the best films of Errol Morris, craft a richly layered portrait of this contentious leader — by letting him speak for himself.

DIANA SANCHEZ

Screenings

Sat Sep 07

Scotiabank 5

Industry
8:30pm
Tue Sep 10

Scotiabank 14

Regular
7:00pm
Thu Sep 12

Scotiabank 14

Regular
9:15pm
Sat Sep 14

Scotiabank 9

Regular
11:45am