Mexico

Jaime Humberto Hermosillo – Doña Herlinda y su hijo AKA Dona Herlinda and Her Son (1985)

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A sophisticated social comedy directed by Jaime Humberto Hermosillo, one of Mexico’s most daring, original filmmakers.

Dona Herlinda is a wealthy, fantastically manipulative widow living in Guadalajara who quietly accepts her son Rudolfo’s affair with a handsome young music student, Ramon. After she invites Ramon to live with her family (“Rudolfo has such a big bed,” she says) the situation becomes hilariously complicated by Rudolfo’s marriage of convenience to Olga, a feminist and employee of Amnesty International. Read More »

Leobardo López Aretche – El Grito (1968)

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A documentary on the student movement in Mexico, 1968, made by film students

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A documentary of the conflicts that arose in Mexico in 1968, just before the Olympic Games, between students protesting against the corrupt government, and the police and armed forces. This documentary was made by film students, and remains one of the few graphic testimonies of all the events that led to the massacre of students in Tlatelolco. Read More »

Alfredo B. Crevenna – Santo el Enmascarado de Plata vs ‘La invasión de los marcianos’ AKA Santo vs The Martian Invasion (1967)

The Martians are invading… who will save the planet? Why Santo, the masked Mexican wrestler, of course!

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In this Mexican sci-fi fantasy, big beefy Martians invade the earth. Ostensibly they have come to warn people about the dangers of nuclear testing and exploring space, but too soon their real mission becomes manifest when they begin using their special powers and gadgets, including an airborne eyeball that shoots out rays, to exploit weak earthlings. They also begin performing biological experiments on some of the people until a brave hero rushes in to destroy the alien craft. Before he does, he manages to woo two of the female Martians. Read More »

Iván Ávila Dueñas – La sangre iluminada AKA Enlightened Blood (2007)

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In this mind-bending drama, six lives are shared through a rare mathematical phenomenon that situates people at specific coordinates, allowing them to continue life in a new body. When this threshold is crossed, an unusual mutation occurs, and as one of these characters experiences a remarkable transformation, their bizarre out-of-body experience forms an entirely new network of experiences and memories. All the while that these “travelers” must endure their transitions, it is equally difficult for those around them to cope. Asking the question, “what if I could be someone else?” Enlightened Blood is an existential journey into the nature of life and thought that both mystifies and forces you to ponder the “what ifs.” Read More »

Alfonso Cuarón – Cuarteto para el fin del tiempo AKA Quartet for the End of Time (1983)

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A man sits alone in his apartment. Why does he watch as his goldfish washes down the drain? Why does he blow up balloons then release them out the window for no one to see? And for whom does he take out his clarinet to play ‘Quartet for the End of Time’?.

Shot in 16mm, while Alfonso Cuarón was a film student, Cuarteto Para El Fin Del Tiempo is a meditation on isolation and a young man’s withdrawal from the outside world. Using very few words, Cuarón relies on the power of the image to narrate the film, for which there was no written script:

‘It was an emotion rather than an idea that drove the process, it was about improvising and trying different things every day, trying to blend the character and the location with this emotion.’ Read More »

Carlos Enrique Taboada – El libro de piedra AKA The Book of Stone (1969)

Julia is hired to be the governess of a young girl, Sylvia, who has an emotionally distant father, Eugenio, and a new stepmother, Mariana. Sylvia insists that she plays with a little boy named Hugo – whom the adults all see is a stone statue in the courtyard. When strange things begin to happen (such as Mariana, whom Sylvia dislikes, experiencing strange pains) the adults begin to wonder if Hugo may be more than just an imaginary playmate. Read More »

Luis Buñuel – Susana aka The Devil and the Flesh (1951)

Susana (Susana, demonio y carne or The Devil and the Flesh) is a 1951 film directed by Luis Buñuel. It is the story of a girl of questionable mental stability who escapes from incarceration and ends up at a plantation where she disrupts a working family’s daily routines and chemistry. Read More »