The world fell in love with Yalitza Aparicio in 2018’s Roma, director Alfonso Cuarón’s semi-autobiographical film at about a Mexican family and Cleo, a live-in domestic worker in their employ. For her remarkable debut performance, Aparicio was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress — a first for an Indigenous Mexican woman. Now, she’s starring in her second film after taking a couple of years off.
Aparicio has been cast in Presences, which will be directed by Luis Mandoki (Angel Eyes, Innocent Voices), reported El Universal. The film is described as a horror story about a man (played by Damián Alcázar) who becomes a forest hermit after his wife dies. It is being filmed in Tlalpujahua, Michoacán, and the town’s history is significant to the movie’s setting. Tlalpujahua had a thriving gold mining industry until a landslide decimated the mines in 1937. As El Universal explains, according to local lore, the souls of the deceased miners can be felt in the forest.
It’s exciting to see Aparicio back on the big screen. Before Roma, she was a pre-school education graduate student with had no formal acting training. And although she hasn’t appeared in a movie since Roma was released in 2018, Aparicio has still spent the past couple years working in cinema. As IndieWire reported, she has become an activist for Indigenous filmmaking organization Cine Too, helping to establish movie theaters in rural and underserved areas throughout Mexico. “I come from a community where there’s no movie theater,” she said in 2020, “and as a consequence the population, especially the children that grow up in those communities, has less of an interest in the cinematic arts. [Cine Too] has the possibility to reach these children and provide an opportunity to instill in them the passion for cinema and teach them about this art form.”