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The content of oral history interviews is personal, experiential and interpretive and by its nature, relies on the memories, perceptions and opinions of individuals. Interviews should not be understood as statements of fact. The views expressed in this filmed oral history interview are solely those of the individual providing them and do not reflect the opinions of the Academy Foundation, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, its members, directors or employees, or any of its affiliated entities.

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0:20 - Childhood -- Introduction

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Partial Transcript: BN: Well, I was born in Mexico City in 1943, many years ago now and in a very beautiful family environment. My mother was a teacher and my father was in the banking system, a little in two different axes.

Segment Synopsis: Navarro remembers her early childhood growing up in Mexico City, and the opportunities her parents gave her to grow culturally and intellectually.

Keywords: American School; Childhood--Influences; Childhood--Middle Class; Family; Mexico; Mexico City

Subjects: Birthplace/Place of origin Childhood Family School

GPS: Mexico City, Federal District, Mexico
Map Coordinates: 19.432608, -99.133209

3:45 - Childhood -- Early cinema influence and living in San Francisco

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Partial Transcript: INT: And your relationship with your brother? Because your brother is almost in the same line of work as you. How does this play out?

BN: Well, my brother Guillermo, who is a photographer, Guillermo Navarro, the one that won an Oscar as well, he is the youngest of us, I'm 11 years older, so for...

Segment Synopsis: Navarro describes her relationship with her brother and her influence on his early development in cinema, her family's frequent attendance at the movies, and her years living in San Francisco and going to middle school there.

Keywords: American School; Bambi; Childhood--Influences; Childhood--Movie going; Family; Gone With the Wind; Grandparents; Joaquín Pardavé; Movie theaters; Photographer

Subjects: Childhood Family Movies School Upbringing

GPS: San Francisco, California, USA
Map Coordinates: 37.773972, -122.431297

8:51 - Influences -- Moving to France and coming of age in Paris and in the Mexican intellectual world

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Partial Transcript: INT: And afterwards you went to Paris too, right? As a student.

BN: Afterwards, afterwards I went to Paris. I was 15 already. I had just finished high school actually, and we went to Paris.

Segment Synopsis: Navarro discusses coming of age and living in Paris for two years after high school, and the Mexican Intellectual World that she would return to and enter.

Keywords: Carlos Fuentes; Childhood--Influences; García Márquez, Gabriel; Juan Ibáñez; Juan José Gurrola; Study abroad

Subjects: French Culture Intellectuals Latin Quarter Live Theater Paris Utopia

GPS: Latin Quarter, Paris, France
Map Coordinates: 48.8500, 2.3396

Hyperlink: Assitant Director in Juan José Gurrola's Tajimara (1965)

14:29 - Influences -- Education, idealism and social movements in the 60s and 70s

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Partial Transcript: BN: Well, we came back to Mexico and then I got into studying anthropology, and I was there, I didn't finish because actually I got into theatre, university theatre, and then that started to become a strong passion.

Segment Synopsis: Navarro remembers the utopian impulses of her young adulthood in the 1960's while studying anthropology, archeology, and Pre-Columbian culture at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and the social and artistic movements that sprang throughout that decade and the 1970's despite the violent and repressive events that occurred at the same time.

Keywords: Anthropology; Archaeology; Art movements; Education; Marxism; Spanish Civil War (1936-39); Theater; UNAM

Subjects: Education Indigenous culture Social Movements Theater

GPS: National Autonomous University of Mexico, Federal District, Mexico City, Mexico
Map Coordinates: 19.3239, -99.1856

19:05 - The beginning of the professional career -- Transitioning to the cinema and the documentation of a turbulent era

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Partial Transcript: BN: Well, by that time I'd already worked in films with Julio Pliego, a great documentalist, and afterwards I met Paul Leduc and Rafael Castañedo. We created a small business and worked together, did things together.

Segment Synopsis: Navarro recounts her initial involvement and learning experiences making documentaries about the historical events that took place in Chiapas, and the turmoil and student movements leading to the massacre in Tlatelolco, as well as the 1968 Olympics in Mexico - and the other three filmmakers that along with her organized the making of these documentaries.

Keywords: Documentary; Historical events; International media; Learning; Olympics in Mexico; Producing; Student movements

Subjects: Mexican Culture Producing Social unrest

GPS: Tlatelolco Massacre, Federal District, Mexico City, Mexico
Map Coordinates: 19.45111, -99.13722

23:53 - Reed: Insurgent Mexico -- Origin and creation through independent means

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Partial Transcript: BN: And from there the idea to do the first long film was born, work on the script is begun, etc, and it was REED, INSURGENT MEXICO, that would be Paul Leduc's first movie, my first movie, Alexis' first long film, that is, it was like a project for these people's group.

Segment Synopsis: Navarro remembers how "Reed: Insurgent Mexico" was developed by the small group of filmmakers that worked together with her in the documentaries, and how they all engaged passionately in their first try at making a narrative feature-length film about the Mexican revolution.

Keywords: Feature Film; Hand-held camera; Independent film; Mexican cinema; Mexican film industry; Reed: Insurgent Mexico; Script

Subjects: First Feature Film First Film Independent Film Mexican Film Industry

27:15 - Reed: Insurgent Mexico -- Creating the Mexican revolution on film

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Partial Transcript: BN: I was very involved, so involved that I got married with Paul Leduc and well, it was our project, like the life project that was moving us, right? And after that it was also a goal because we made the film with very little money, we were filming for a lot of months, went to many, many places, we indulged in like a very big luxury of independence, and also we had a lot of collaboration from people, right?

Segment Synopsis: Navarro remembers how gigantic the task was for making a film that displays the Mexican Revolution without the help of major film studios.

Keywords: Actor; Extras; Leduc, Paul; Mexican Revolution (1910-1920)]; Reed: Insurgent Mexico

Subjects: Editing Independent Film Mexican Film Industry Producing

GPS: Querétaro, México
Map Coordinates: 20.835996656, -99.85082993

Hyperlink: Reed: Insurgent Mexico (1973)

32:55 - Reed: Insurgent Mexico -- The films reception and repression

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Partial Transcript: BN: The film was received very well. At the international level it won many awards. And we went to Cannes for the first time, and France exhibited the film and it received the Georges Sadoul award. And in the end it had a large repercussion.

Segment Synopsis: Navarro remembers that the film had won many prizes abroad, in Mexico the film industry did not know - or did not want to - honor the film, nor support them to make more productions because it was done outside the scheme and the official Mexican cinematography.

Keywords: Cannes Film Festival; Critical Reception; Film exhibition; Reed: Insurgent Mexico

Subjects: Cannes Film Festival Critical Reception Film Exibition

GPS: Cannes, France
Map Coordinates: 43.5505144646, 7.0170165986

38:38 - Producing -- Working with exiles from South America and creating documentaries

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Partial Transcript: BN: For both things, I mean, they punished us and we were very, very rebellious. The next step was making projects to survive, making documentary, right? And well, it was... Paul tried to stay in Europe, to go to Europe and see if he could get support there, right?

Segment Synopsis: Navarro remembers her career obstacles trying to make films after having won various awards for "Reed: Insurgent Mexico", and her years working with South American exiles and making documentaries in the turmoil of Central America.

Keywords: Dictatorship; Film financing; Leduc, Paul; Migration; New Latin American Cinema; Nicaragua; Producing

Subjects: Independent film New Latin American Cinema Producing

GPS: Nicaragua
Map Coordinates: 12.136389, -86.251389

Hyperlink: Nicaragua, los que harán la libertad (1978)

44:03 - Producing -- El Norte and the difficult decade of the 1980's

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Partial Transcript: BN: In that sense there is a... like a much more personal journey. I continue to work as a documentalist for a few years, and the ‘80s were very grey years for Mexican cinematography.

Segment Synopsis: Navarro recounts the difficult time the 1980's were for Mexican Cinema, and her lasting impressions of one of the only feature length narrative films she assisted producing in that decade, "El Norte".

Keywords: El Norte; Nava, Gregory; Personal style; Producer

Subjects: 1980's Collaborator Mexican cinema Producer

GPS: Chiapas, Mexico
Map Coordinates: 16.140095, -92.777981

Hyperlink: El Norte (1983)

50:18 - New Latin American cinema -- Co-productions and origins

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Partial Transcript: BN: Well, we will eventually talk about those I've collaborated with that have indeed gone to Hollywood and done great things, right?

INT: You were very involved with Gabriel García Márquez and the foundation for New Latin-American Cinema. What were your objectives as his production director?

Segment Synopsis: Navarro remembers the very utopian efforts she and others had in the 1980's when establishing the International Film and Television School in Cuba; however she recalls that it isn't until after moving on from this effort that she begins her first formal co-production between Spain and Mexico, for the film "Cabeza de Vaca".

Keywords: Echevarría,Nicolás; Escuela Internacional de Cine y Televisión; García Márquez, Gabriel; New Latin American Cinema

Subjects: Co-Productions New Latin American Cinema Utopia

GPS: International Film and Television School
Map Coordinates: 22.917626, -82.540905

Hyperlink: Cabeza de Vaca (1991)

57:55 - Cronos -- Origins, production, and meeting Guillermo del Toro

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Partial Transcript: INT: And how is it that you met Guillermo del Toro?

BN: In CABEZA DE VACA actually. Guillermo del Toro made all the, all, all the make-up. He invented make-up for the tribes, of the different peoples.

Segment Synopsis: Navarro recalls the dynamic talent Guillermo del Toro is, from the moment when she first him as the make-up artist in "Cabeza de Vaca", to the time shortly he handed her a script of "Cronos", to then the very memorable experience of producing and making "Cronos" with him.

Keywords: Cabeza de Vaca; Cronos; del Toro, Guillermo; Makeup artist; Mimic; Producing; Talent

Subjects: Collaborator Producing Talent

Hyperlink: Cronos (1993)

65:09 - Cronos -- Reception and creative process

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Partial Transcript: BN: I get involved with scripts by reading and I am indeed capable of seeing when there is a problem, right? But CRONOS didn't have that. CRONOS really was very well put together.

INT: The movie was filmed in Mexico, how did you work with del Toro to choose the locations?

Segment Synopsis: Navarro remembers the two main places in which "Cronos" was filmed, the positive reception in Cannes, the international fame of Guillermo del Toro, and the youthful perspective that tells the world of the imagination in each film made between Navarro and del Toro.

Keywords: Cannes Film Festival; Cronos; Film financing; Filming location

Subjects: collaborating perspective Producing story

GPS: San Angel, Federal District, Mexico City, Mexico
Map Coordinates: 19.346940,-99.191270

69:50 - Dollar Mambo and Men with Guns -- Production and collaboration

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Partial Transcript: INT: At the same time you are producing the movie with del Toro you are producing DOLLAR MAMBO. How did you do it? It was a challenge, right? Trying to do both things.

BN: I had to do it twice. The same with that Leduc-del Toro duo, because afterwards with PAN'S LABYRINTH I had to practically simultaneously produce COBADOR: IN GOD WE TRUST Well, it's one of those things, I was going to do, I had already finished CRONOS, immediately DOLLAR MAMBO was being filmed.

Segment Synopsis: Navarro recounts the challenge of producing in the same year "Cronos" and "Dollar Mambo" - a Paul Leduc film - followed by the John Sayles film "Men With Guns", all films she collaborated with Alejandro Springall.

Keywords: Collaboration; Dollar Mambo; Leduc, Paul; Men With Guns; Sayles, John

Subjects: Co-Producing collaborating US-Mexico Production

Hyperlink: Dollar Mambo (1993)

73:16 - Tequila Gang -- Origins and productions

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Partial Transcript: INT: How did you begin the production company called Tequila Gang in 1998 with Guillermo del Toro? What type of films did you want to do?

BN: Well, we began to have that company then. He gave it the name Tequila Gang as an equivalent to Mexican gang and it was the structure with which we made co-productions in Spain, both THE DEVIL'S BACKBONE and PAN'S LABYRINTH.

Segment Synopsis: Navarro recalls starting "Tequila Gang" with Guillermo del Toro, as well as her initial involvement in the Sundance Lab where she would work with many directors from around the world and Latin-America in developing their scripts and films throughout the years.

Keywords: Cuaron, Carlos; Devil's Backbone; Martel, Lucrecia; Pan's Labyrinth; Production company; Script development; Sundance Institute; Tequila Gang

Subjects: Production company Script development Sundance Institute

Hyperlink: The Devil's Backbone (2001)

79:05 - Co-productions and developing new directors -- The merging of experience with talent

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Partial Transcript: INT: And your second film with del Toro, THE DEVIL'S BACKBONE in 2001. What was your experience of producing with Pedro Almodovar like?

BN: Well, it was really an experience that was very very enriching. It was also about respecting the way production is done in Spain, adapting too, and it was very interesting to work with Esther García, who was Almodovar's producer, and with Agustín Almodovar.

Segment Synopsis: Navarro remembers working in Spain during "The Devil's Backbone", and helping develop new directors and filmmakers from Mexico and Latin-America like Sebastián Cordero from Ecuador.

Keywords: Almodóvar, Pedro; Caballero, Eugenio; Collaboration; Cordero,Sebastián; Cronicas; del Toro, Guillermo; Film exhibition; Navarro,Guillermo; Producer; Talent

Subjects: Co-Production Exhibition Producer

Hyperlink: Cronicas (2004)

83:21 - Tequila Gang -- Bringing together Mexican talent for Pan's Labyrinth

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Partial Transcript: INT: What was the experience of collaborating with Eugenio Caballero, who won an Oscar for his work, like?

BN: Oh, fantastic. Eugenio Caballero… With Eugenio I had made several movies before. I made, he made with me CHRONICLES in Ecuador, that visually is also a very potent work by Eugenio. Fantastic.

Segment Synopsis: Navarro recalls working with his brother, director of photography, Guillermo Navarro. Introducing Eugenio Caballero with Guillermo del Toro; and working with the three in "Pan's Labyrinth".

Keywords: Caballero, Eugenio; Navarro,Guillermo; Pan's Labyrinth; Spain; Tequila Gang

Subjects: Co-Production Collaborating Producing

GPS: Spain
Map Coordinates: 40.4165, -3.70256

Hyperlink: Pan's Labyrinth (2006)

91:00 - El Cobrador: In God We Trust -- Connecting to new generations and current filmmakers

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Partial Transcript: INT: Tell me about your participation with COBRADOR: IN GOD WE TRUST, Paul Leduc's films, only this film, the last one right?

BN: Yep. Well yes, actually we start to film COBRADOR: IN GOD WE TRUST while I am working in PAN'S LABYRINTH, and it is a very complex film because it goes to several countries. It is based on the book by Rubem Fonseca, the Brazilian writer, and well, it was filmed in Mexico, in Argentina, in Brazil and the result was very good.

Segment Synopsis: Navarro recalls producing "El Cobrador: In God We Trust" by long distance, continuing her interest in the utopian impulse to collaborate across Latin-America. She also shares about keeping in tune with younger generations, new technology, and the narratives coming from writers and directors in our current day.

Keywords: El Cobrador: In God We Trust; Latin American Cinema; Mexican cinema; Narrative; New Latin American Cinema

Subjects: Latin-American Identity New Latin American Cinema Producing

Hyperlink: El Cobrador: In God We Trust (2006)

94:54 - Reflections -- Production with different collaborators

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Partial Transcript: INT: What qualities do you value in your group of collaborators? Do you prefer to work with the same people in all your projects? Well, it's never possible to always work together but...

BN: Well, there is a tendency to try to work with groups where members know each other, right? It is the very clear case, the case of Guillermo del Toro, Guillermo Navarro and myself, and others, right? But there was a nucleus there that we repeated in the projects.

Segment Synopsis: Navarro shares some insights in producing with different teams and individuals she's worked with, and also reveals the disproportionate amount of Hollywood films that play in Mexican Cinemas compared to films from Mexico and around the world.

Keywords: Caballero, Eugenio; del Toro, Guillermo; Hollywood; Navarro, Guillermo; Springall, Alejandro

Subjects: Collaborating Hollywood Mexican Cinema Producing

100:08 - Reflections -- Mexicans in Hollywood and the importance of making films about current events

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Partial Transcript: INT: What are the characteristics that Mexican creators and those that have found success in Hollywood like Del Toro, Cuarón, your brother Guillermo, Iñarritu, have in common?

BN: Well, I think the acknowledgement and the opportunity that they have had there to grow and to make films well, at a different scale, let's say, has been fantastic.

Segment Synopsis: Navarro speaks on the acknowledgement Mexican filmmakers have received in the United States, the power that cinema has as a window onto another world, and her fearlessness as an experienced and older filmmaker making films in the current state of Mexico and the world.

Keywords: Cinematography; Director; Documentary; Hollywood; International success; Latin American Culture

Subjects: American film industry Latin-American Identity Producing

107:35 - Reflections -- Ayotzinapa and her work as producer

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Partial Transcript: INT: What is AYOTZINAPA about? Tell me a little so that...

BN: AYOTZINAPA is... Tells the story of the kids that disappeared last year. There are 43 that disappeared, from a normal, which means a school, that is for countryfolk, and these children of countryfolk studied to be teachers, and there was a situation that is still not clear, but what is indeed very clear is that the State took them and disappeared them. It was the Police, the Army, and then the responsibility to give an answer for this continues to be the State's.

Segment Synopsis: Navarro talks about the documentary of Ayotzinapa where 43 students disappeared from a school in Mexico. She mentions what it means for her to be a producer; and concludes by talking about how important the preservation of films are.

Keywords: Ayotzinapa,Mexico; Film exhibition; Film financing; Producer

Subjects: Film Exhibition Mexican Government preservation Producing

GPS: Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, Mexico
Map Coordinates: 17.55, -98.76

BERTHA NAVARRO Oral History Public, Spanish transcript



Opening Credits


BN: Bueno yo nací en esta Ciudad de México en 1943, ya hace muchos años y en un entorno familiar muy bonito, mi madre era maestra y mi padre se dedicó a la banca, un poco en dos ejes diferentes. Y bueno tuve cuatro hermanos, tres hermanos y yo, bueno fuimos cuatro hermanos y crecí básicamente todo el tiempo en la Ciudad de México, estudié aquí. Pero también mi padre 1:00nos dio la oportunidad de ir a Europa, de estudiar en Europa, de estudiar en Estados Unidos, de aprender del mundo, de aprender idiomas. Y bueno, hice la carrera de antropología en México. Con mi padre la relación era de mucha admiración, teníamos por mi padre, él era un hombre muy, muy cariñoso, y nos llevaba a todos lados. Por mi padre conocí el país, siempre nos llevó a conocer diferentes lugares, entonces... al norte, al sur, un poco sí nos dio la idea de cómo era el país y su gente, ¿no? Y mi madre era una mujer muy, muy 2:00amorosa, ella estudió en Estados Unidos y estaba muy preocupada porque habláramos inglés, pensaba que eso nos iba a ayudar mucho en la vida, entonces pues fuimos al Colegio Americano aquí y sí, aprendimos inglés desde pequeños. Entonces bueno, es una familia de clase media, nunca nos faltó nada, pero tampoco crecimos con una ambición por tener, o por el dinero, o sea, fue una vida cómoda pero, pero con más riqueza intelectual y cultural que otros 3:00motivos, ¿no?, mis padres siempre se preocuparon por eso, por darnos una educación más sólida. Cuando yo era niña era muy traviesa era muy traviesa y no me gustaba la escuela porque me tenían sentada todo el día. Yo sí creo que pues, que era de estos niños que se movían mucho, entonces me aburría mucho que me tuvieran sentada. Creo que ese es un rasgo de la educación que ha cambiado y que me parece bueno.

INT: ¿Y tu relación con tu hermano? Porque tu hermano está casi en el mismo medio que tú, ¿cómo se desarrolla eso?

BN: Bueno, mi hermano Guillermo, que es un gran fotógrafo, Guillermo Navarro, el que ganó también un Oscar, él es el más pequeño de todos, yo le llevo 11 4:00años, entonces para... teníamos una relación muy buena, yo jugaba mucho con él. Y cuando yo crecí y me metí a hacer cine él era muy jovencito, entonces sí hubo como una gran influencia para él, o por lo menos le abrí ese mundo, ¿no?, y bueno, ya se dedicó a hacer cine también. Entonces posteriormente bueno, somos los hermanos que tenemos como más en común, compartimos muchas cosas, pero sí era mi hermano pequeño.


BN: Sí, mi padre, otra vez mi padre, nos llevaba muchísimo al cine, era lo que más nos gustaba hacer, ir al cine con él. Y en aquel entonces veíamos dos, 5:00tres películas al día. Y en esa época el cine era el gran espectáculo. Entonces a mí me tocó la presencia del cine en mi vida desde muy temprana edad, y me gustó mucho. No lo tenía tan consciente de que quería hacer cine, ya fue más en mi edad de joven que entendí que eso me gustaría hacer, ¿no? [INT: ¿Y la primer película que viste, te acuerdas?] Bueno, me acuerdo mucho de películas de pequeña de Walt Disney, me acuerdo cómo lloraba con la del venadito, Bambi, esa me conmovió muchísimo. Y también, bueno, ya mayores pues 6:00ya vimos otras películas de Lo que el viento se llevó, cosas así mucho más... un poco más adultas era. Cine mexicano también mucho, porque en esa época el cine mexicano tenía una fuerza muy grande, se veía en toda América Latina, había salas mexicanas en toda América Latina, y creció muchísimo, nosotros... Había mucha comedia, me acuerdo que con mi abuela materna también íbamos mucho al cine, le encantaba, y veíamos estas comedias de Joaquín Pardavé y de todos estos que... se reía mucho mi abuela, como que tocaba más su época que la nuestra, esas comedias. Y sí, bueno, sí viví muy rodeada de 7:00cinéfilos, digamos, de gente que gustaba ir al cine, ¿no?


BN: Bueno, yo fui de chica, fui al Colegio Americano, luego estudié justamente en San Francisco un tiempo. Ahí vivía el hermano de mi madre y estuvimos en la escuela, yo tenía 12 años, entonces me tocó el middle school, como el

séptimo, octavo, y bueno, me pusieron en una escuela 8:00 9:00 10:00 11:00 12:00 13:00 14:00 15:00 16:00 17:00 18:00 19:00 20:00 21:00 22:00 23:00 24:00 25:00 26:00 27:00 28:00 29:00 30:00 31:00 32:00 33:00 34:00 35:00 36:00 37:00 38:00 39:00 40:00 41:00 42:00 43:00 44:00 45:00 46:00 47:00 48:00 49:00 50:00 51:00 52:00 53:00 54:00 55:00 56:00 57:00 58:00 59:00 60:00 61:00 62:00 63:00 64:00 65:00 66:00 67:00 68:00 69:00 70:00 71:00 72:00 73:00 74:00 75:00 76:00 77:00 78:00 79:00 80:00 81:00 82:00 83:00 84:00 85:00 86:00 87:00 88:00 89:00 90:00 91:00 92:00 93:00