CLFF: The Artist Behind Stoker of Delirium (Fogonero del Delirio)

 | 2011 | 90 min.
Director: Gustavo Domínguez
Genre:  |  with English subtitles
Shown with Acrophobia  

“For Colunga, the artist as enigma who creates chambers of beautiful suffering, life is a game.” – Los Angeles Times

Alejandro Colunga is one of Guadalajara’s most prolific artists. Fellow native, Gustavo Dominguez, is considered the city’s pioneer in digital filmmaking. Stoker of Delirium was born as Dominguez’ interpretation, a fantastical tribute, of the time he spent with the eclectic artist. It’s a magical story, portrayed in as many mediums as possible, and presented as passionately as the artist himself. The film will be shown Saturday, April 5 and Monday, April 7 at AMC River East 21 as part of this year’s Chicago Latino Film Festival.

In an interview for the University of Guadalajara, during that city’s annual film festival, Colunga explained how he initially felt when the cameras appeared. “It was terrifying,” he tells film critic Guillermo Vaidovits. “It was very difficult to have all these cameras before me and added to that to have someone direct you, your life… it was extremely difficult for me.” However he goes on to explain that because of the assurance he received by Dominguez, he was able to become comfortable with the story-telling and at ease with the process.

Colunga also revealed that when the cameras appeared he felt the need to come out of himself in order to play himself, a conundrum of sorts. He explains that he was also surprised, even shocked, at some of the images he came across when he saw the film in its completion. “There were a lot of intense moments and images, things I didn’t know about myself. I just go out and paint and do my thing and he (Dominguez) was able to show that in such a marvelous way. I also realized how much I like to be naked,” he laughs. Colunga had no part in the editing process and even asked to be excluded from any part of the film’s post-production until its debut in Jalisco in 2012.

It took Dominguez over a two and half year period to create Stoker of Delirium and his ambition paid off through a series of dazzling images, colorful and intense recreations, interviews with family and close friends and even animation. A stickler for details, he made sure the soundtrack was also as original as its main character and created by locals. He sought out producer Mario Osuna who put together a delightful sampling of sounds that include artists like Jaramar, Troker, Roberto Santana and Hector Aguilar, among others. The soundtrack samples many genres from traditional to contemporary, to rock and danzon.

Dominguez explained that he titled the film Fogonero del Delirio because Colunga is the master who ignites the quest for explosive creativity, that delirium that defines the passion in many artists.