The Military Camp
Cuarón wanted the film to be as much a portrait of Mexico as his own family. a sequence depicting a state-sponsored martialarts training camp is a sinister note within the warm reminiscence. “This is very well-documented. The paramilitary group was trained by the army but also there was a US army consultant, a CIA consultant and the real-life Professor Zovek, who was an escape artist on a Sunday variety show.
“The ‘LEA’ on the mountainside are the initials of the president, Luis Echeverría Álvarez. You see male energy at full steam here. It is a completely masculine kind of number.
“The [martial arts] discipline is called kendo. There are not that many people who do kendo, so they had to train for months and months to learn the choreography. They would meet three or four times a week and it was complicated because each time you have a rehearsal you have to pay all of these people. It was expensive.”