Yalitza Aparicio next movie

It’s been three years since Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma made Oscar history, with lead actress Yalitza Aparicio becoming the first Mexican woman to be nominated for a Best Actress Oscar in 14 years and the first Indigenous woman in history. But in the years since Roma was released, Aparicio has not taken on a new feature film role since — until now.

Cuarón’s exquisite drama Roma would not have earned nearly the acclaim it did if it weren’t for Aparicio’s wrenching performance as Cleo, a domestic worker for a wealthy family in 1970s Mexico who overcomes a great personal tragedy. So where has Aparicio been since her history-making Oscar nomination? Taking her time finding her next project, which has just begun production.

Mexican publication El Universal reports (via IndieWire) that Aparicio’s next movie is Presences, a horror film from Innocent Voices director Luis Mandoki, which has started shooting this week in Tlalpujahua in central Mexico. Per El Universal, Presences “tells the story of a man who loses his wife and goes to seclude himself in a cabin in the woods, where strange things happen.” Production in Tlalpujahua is expected to last for a month.”

Also starring in Presences is Damián Alcázar, best known for starring in Hell and Herod’s Law. The film is reportedly shooting under strict coronavirus safety guidelines.

Although Presences marks the first film Aparicio has starred in since Roma (and only her second film overall), the actress has kept busy for the past three years, supporting Indigenous film community efforts in Mexico, per IndieWire. The actress has teamed with projects like Cine Too to help extend access to cinema to marginalized communities, and used her platform to “give visibility” to Indigenous actors and film creatives.

“My objective in my career is to give visibility to all of us who have been kept in the dark for so long,” Aparicio told IndieWire in an interview last year following the launch of Cine Too. “The acting projects I’m working on are moving slowly because I’m putting all my efforts in not being pigeonholed because of my appearance. There are many people who have the disposition to help change things. We’ve had enough of people being typecast in certain roles or characters based on the color of their skin. We have a complicated job, because these things can’t be changed overnight but hopefully we can show people that the only limits are within us.”

Aparicio’s activism is commendable, and it’s great that she’s used her profile to boost Indigenous creatives when there has been little support for them in the industry. But it’s also exciting to see Aparicio on the screen again, in a film that will hopefully allow the actress to break the Oscar curse that frequently plagues winners or nominees of color.

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