Francisco is rich, rather strict on principles, and still a bachelor. After meeting Gloria by accident, he is suddenly intent on her becoming his wife and courts her until she agrees to marry him. Francisco is a dedicated husband, but little by little his passion starts to exhibit disturbing traits. Nevertheless, Gloria meets with scepticism as she expresses her worries to their acquaintances. Continue reading
Synopsis (University of California, Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive)
Within the framework of a thriller, Hermosillo presents in Matinee a film that is rich in the dreams and ambiguities of childhood. Two precocious provincial boys, enamored of the movies, head out for Mexico City in search of some real-life adventure. They are kidnapped by a gang of gunmen who adopt them as mascots, but also involve them in their cutthroat activities. The criminal escapades are a dream-come-true for the boys, until the police come into the picture and they are forced to betray their kidnappers. The boys are returned to the provinces as hometown heroes–returned to the quiet streets and the dubious thrill of the Saturday matinee. Hermosillo recalls the black humor of Buñuel and the boyhood adventures of Robert Louis Stevenson and Mark Twain; and like them, he rejects the innocence of childhood for something more complex, which, though it is never defined, is the subject of Matinee. Continue reading
Pereda’s films pass through a transitional period; Los mejores temas was probably a conscious farewell to a filmic representation system while Matar extraños turned out to be an enigmatic first test; El palacio is a new attempt at renovation, an experiment. These last two films show a novel element —the shifting of the family and domestic spheres to a public and political space. Whereas Matar extraños used revolution as its focal concept, in this enigmatic film the microphysics of power is the permeating idea.
The opening wide shot is brilliant; the 17 women who appear in this film are washing their teeth at the same time. Among this group there are little girls, young and old women, and they are not at a bathroom but at a patio filled with large sinks. Their activity unites them, though their experiences and, eventually, their functions differ. Where are they? For several minutes the only thing we will see are the diverse cleaning-related actions performed by these women. Everything happens in an old house, without any indication of its location. Abstraction and routine. Pereda is capable of filming someone hanging clothes to dry or making a bed as if those were aesthetic events.
A donkey wonders around and imposes a comical tone for a moment; but a donkey is an animal used for servitude. And the title of the film mentions a palace.
Luis Bunuel classic from 1950. It is a tale of savage acts committed by impoverished youths in Mexico City. It is a film that has been kept fresh by its spirit and its style. Far from being puppets in a sermon on poverty, the characters are vivid creatures whose fierce desires are the focus of Bunuel’s attention.
In his unique storytelling, he not only finds forceful images in the dramas reality, but adds a masterful dream sequence.
Genius. Continue reading
Noted Mexican filmmaker Arturo Ripstein (Deep Crimson) presents a highly stylized, almost stagebound, erotic melodrama about life in the 1940s in Mexico (filmed in the lush style of 1940s melodramas). It’s based on the story by Max Aub and penned by Alicia Paz Garciadiego. The narrative is in the form of a repetitious parable that is overlong, hitting many dull spots and at times insufferable to watch. It stays on message to show a series of themes (colonialism, class warfare, racial and idealogical divisions and revolutionary fervor in both Franco’s Spain and Mexico) based on real historical events and combines it with the fictional story of the willing enslavement to the upper-class of the peasant Indian Mexican named Nacho (Luis Felipe Tovar).
Banned until very recently, Arteche’s clandestine documentary chronicles a group of students’ movements in Mexico in 1968.
On July 22, 1968, two rival groups of male adolescent students fought each other in the Ciudadela neighbourhood of Mexico City; the next day the city government responded by sending policemen to stop the accompanying vandalism and to arrest the perpetrators. These riot police (granaderos) attacked the students so ferociously that protests were lodged. No one could have foreseen that both of these testosterone-driven events were the opening scene of the drama of the 1968 University-State conflict which climaxed in the Tlatelolco massacre.
A mysterious man is sent deep into the forest to investigate the bizarre behavior of the notorious Dr. Tarr. What he stumbles upon is the doctor’s torture dungeon, a hellish asylum completely cut off from civilization and presided over by the ultimate madman. Innocent people have been savagely chained, tortured and stuck in glass cages, then forced to take part in gruesome games of ritual slaughter. Continue reading