10th Annual Cine LatinoIn Focus: José Ramón Chávez
November 6, 2017
By Jan Willms
Subject: José Ramón Chávez, director of Help Me Make it Through the Night
The strongest things have to be told with a little humor.
This is what José Ramón Chávez, director of Help Me Make it Through the Night, believes. “So our film had to be told this way,” he said. It tells the story of a family going through multiple crises: the mother has a gambling addiction, and the father has thrown her out of the house. The fiancee of one of the children wants to call off their wedding. And the youngest child just wants to bring everyone together. A car accident causes everyone to reconsider the situation, as doctors say one of them will not make it through the night.
“It is classified as a dramedy,” Chávez said, “because within the comedy there is much drama.”
When looking for actors, Chávez said he looks for those who like to work and are usually good actors. “I like to find reality, naturalness and commitment. But above all, I need them to understand the film and the characters to bring them to reality.”
He added that one of the great challenges of making Help Me Make it Through the Night was its tone. “It is a choral film, and it is difficult for all the actors to be correct,” he said. “Another big challenge was to direct children, and I really think we did it very well.”
Chávez said he is happy with the film industry in his country. “I believe that in Mexico there are more and more good films, not only in the technical quality, but also in the stories, films that represent us internationally and that also make more and more Mexicans go to theaters to see them.”