Mexico’s Int’l Cervantino Festival celebrates legacy of Spanish author

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The 44th International Cervantino Festival was held last week in the colonial Mexico City of Guanajuato, Mexico. It has now become one of the top cultural festivals in Latin America.

CCTV America’s Martin Markovits was there. Follow Martin Markovits on Twitter @MartinMarkovits

Mexico's Int'l Cervantino Festival celebrates legacy of Spanish author

Mexico's Int'l Cervantino Festival celebrates legacy of Spanish author

The 44th International Cervantino Festival was held last week in the colonial Mexico City of Guanajuato, Mexico. It has now become one of the top cultural festivals in Latin America. CCTV America’s Martin Markovits was there.

Deep inside a Mexican coal mine, the spirit of legendary Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes lives on.

Thirty two year-old director Abril Mayet is staging the Cervantes classic “El Rufian Dichoso.” Mayet was one of dozens of artists recruited by this year’s festival to put a modern spin on the plays and stories of the Spanish writer.

“We felt the coalmine was very interesting. It was something that made us us experiment. We are able to use this new setting in the story and that allowed us to perform the play the way we envisioned it,” Mayet said.

It is these new interpretations of Cervantes that has made the International Cervantino Festival a must see event in Mexico. This year’s theme was the 400th anniversary of the death of the Spanish writer, best known as the author of “Don Quixote” and considered by many to be the most famous Spanish language writer.

The origin of this festival dates back to the 1950’s when short plays by Cervantes were performed in Guanajuato’s plazas. Since 1972, it has received funding from the federal government and has grown to become one of the premiere artistic and cultural event in Mexico and Latin America.

This year’s event drew 380,000 people over a two-week period. Program Director Marcela Diaz believes the key to the festival’s popularity is that Cervantes’s works, specifically Don Quixote which still resonates with audiences.

According to the organizers, this year’s festival was a huge success, with ticket sales were 11 percent higher than in 2015.