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Graphic courtesy of Sueño en otro idioma Facebook page

Screening of Award Winning Mexican Film

Students, staff and faculty alike were invited to explore Latino-America’s rich cinematographic culture through a screening and discussion with producers of Sueño en Otro Idioma.

On Nov. 23, the Tower of Babel Student Interest Group hosted a movie screening of the critically acclaimed Latin American film Sueño en Otro Idioma, I Dream in Another Language. A room at NYU Abu Dhabi’s Campus Center was converted into a movie theater, serving authentic Mexican food. Attendees were invited to make themselves comfortable, eat tlacoyos, oval corn shaped buns, and sopes while drinking a glass of horchata.
The movie was first released on Jan. 23, 2017 at the Sundance Film Festival. The movie was directed by Mexican film director Ernesto Contreras. The script is based on a story of two elderly men in Greece who were the last speakers of the Zikril language, but who for 50 years have quarrelled and refuse to speak to each other.
The movie follows the story of the two men living in the jungles of Veracruz. A linguist comes to the jungle in an attempt to record a conversation between the two and discovers the intricacies of indigenous life after the colonization and evangelization by the Catholic Spanish.
Carlos Contreras, who is also a writer for the series El Chapo, wrote the script and collaborated with linguist Javier Félix Valdez to create the Zikril language.
I Dream in Another Language has received many positive reviews around the world. It won six awards at the Ariel Awards, a prestigious Mexican honor, and despite touching upon controversial topics, was very well received.
Students, staff and faculty alike attended the screening and got to meet with one of the producers, Luis Albores, and the film’s linguist through video chat. Attendees got to ask the producer and linguist questions about the themes of the movie and the process of making up a language. Javier Felix Valdez walked the audience members through the linguistic process and Albores explained that the lack of subtitles when Zikril was spoken was completely intentional. Both the producer and linguist wanted to maintain a sort of mystery surrounding the language. According to the linguist, the only people who understand what was said apart from him are the directors, writers and actors.
Enrique Wing, Class of 2019, organized the event and was excited to share the experience with his fellow community members. He pointed out that the movie is important because it touches upon many taboo topics in Latin America, such as religion, colonization and LGBTQ themes.
“The film is so special to me that I just couldn't not share it with the NYUAD community. It captures Tower of Babel's mission and vision so well: sharing our love for linguistics with everyone, and highlighting the role of languages as quasi-magical entities full of beauty and history,” said Wing.
“I attended the National Fair of Indigenous Languages when I was home in Mexico City over the summer … I was able to talk to one of the producers and tell her about my idea. She put me in touch with other staff members, we stayed in touch over the past few months, and we mercifully came together for this amazing event.”
Mari Velasquez-Soler is Deputy News Editor. Email her at
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