Mexican Cinema Classics

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Mexican Cinema Classics

Postby arsaib4 » Mon Jan 14, 2008 9:05 am

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arsaib4
 


Re: Mexican Cinema Classics

Postby arsaib4 » Thu Jan 24, 2008 5:59 am



EL COMPADRE MENDOZA (Mexico / 1934)



Even though the violent and perfidious Mexican Revolution of the early twentieth century had often been depicted in films that constituted the rise of Mexico's national cinema, "the revolution trilogy" by Fernando de Fuentes (1894-1958), arguably the best and most important filmmaker the country had during the 1930s, delved deeper and unveiled more aspects of the upheaval than any previous works. El compadre Mendoza, the second and, arguably, the best film of the three -- the others being Prisoner 13 (1933) and Let's Go With Pancho Villa (1936) -- perceptively explored the encompassing tragedy from an individualized perspective.

Well played by Chilean-born character actor Alfredo del Diestro, Rosalío Mendoza is the wealthy middle-aged owner of a hacienda. The revolution is at its peak and for a variety of reasons, primarily financial, his loyalties reside with both the governmental forces of General Victoriano Huerta (and later Venustiano Carranza) and the revolutionary, agrarian army of Emiliano Zapata. But in time Mendoza develops a special bond with a young Zapatista, General Felipe Nieto (Antonio R. Frausto), who also considers him a good friend and especially becomes close to his family after Mendoza opportunistically marries a much younger woman (Carmen Guerrero, Drácula [1931]) and has a son named after him. Mendoza's comradeship is eventually tested however due to the tumultuous times and the growing suspicion within the warring factions.

Based on a story by the talented Mauricio Magdaleno, this gracefully shot and edited effort (featuring seamless dissolves and montages) is technically on par with Hollywood films of the time-period (de Fuentes was partly educated in the U.S.). The credit also certainly goes to his colleague, Juan Bustillo Oro, a fine filmmaker in his own right, who not only collaborated with de Fuentes on the screenplay, which generally avoids melodramatic moments, but also assisted him in direction. While El compadre Mendoza could be seen through the allegorical lens of the Mexican Revolution and Zapata's eventual murder, its depiction of the resulting dissolution at the fundamental level is universal and timeless.

____________________________________________

*Now available on DVD in the U.S. from Cinemateca/Facets. The transfer is adequate given the available resources (the print itself needs to be restored). Lamentably, there are no extra features of any value.

*Related: Somos' 100 Best Mexican Films.
_____________________________________________
[note]added DVD info/new link/fixed yuku errors
arsaib4
 

Re: Mexican Cinema Classics

Postby arsaib4 » Thu Jan 24, 2008 5:59 am



EL COMPADRE MENDOZA (Mexico / 1934)



Even though the violent and perfidious Mexican Revolution of the early twentieth century had often been depicted in films that constituted the rise of Mexico's national cinema, "the revolution trilogy" by Fernando de Fuentes (1894-1958), arguably the best and most important filmmaker the country had during the 1930s, delved deeper and unveiled more aspects of the upheaval than any previous works. El compadre Mendoza, the second and, arguably, the best film of the three -- the others being Prisoner 13 (1933) and Let's Go With Pancho Villa (1936) -- perceptively explored the encompassing tragedy from an individualized perspective.

Well played by Chilean-born character actor Alfredo del Diestro, Rosalío Mendoza is the wealthy middle-aged owner of a hacienda. The revolution is at its peak and for a variety of reasons, primarily financial, his loyalties reside with both the governmental forces of General Victoriano Huerta (and later Venustiano Carranza) and the revolutionary, agrarian army of Emiliano Zapata. But in time Mendoza develops a special bond with a young Zapatista, General Felipe Nieto (Antonio R. Frausto), who also considers him a good friend and especially becomes close to his family after Mendoza opportunistically marries a much younger woman (Carmen Guerrero, Drácula [1931]) and has a son named after him. Mendoza's comradeship is eventually tested however due to the tumultuous times and the growing suspicion within the warring factions.

Based on a story by the talented Mauricio Magdaleno, this gracefully shot and edited effort (featuring seamless dissolves and montages) is technically on par with Hollywood films of the time-period (de Fuentes was partly educated in the U.S.). The credit also certainly goes to his colleague, Juan Bustillo Oro, a fine filmmaker in his own right, who not only collaborated with de Fuentes on the screenplay, which generally avoids melodramatic moments, but also assisted him in direction. While El compadre Mendoza could be seen through the allegorical lens of the Mexican Revolution and Zapata's eventual murder, its depiction of the resulting dissolution at the fundamental level is universal and timeless.

____________________________________________

*Now available on DVD in the U.S. from Cinemateca/Facets. The transfer is adequate given the available resources (the print itself needs to be restored). Lamentably, there are no extra features of any value.

*Related: Somos' 100 Best Mexican Films.
_____________________________________________
[note]added DVD info/new link/fixed yuku errors
arsaib4
 

Re: Mexican Cinema Classics

Postby arsaib4 » Sun Feb 24, 2008 10:55 pm



AVENTURERA (Mexico / 1950)



The ranchera and the cabaretera were two of the most popular Mexican film genres that thrived under the emblem of the "Golden Age," which the country's cinema experienced from roughly about the early 1940s through mid 1950s. The former often combined a pastoral setting with fashionable songs, romance and comedy; the latter, largely unfolding in seedy urban musical venues, readily employed doses of extravagant melodrama and film noir, and when at its best, depicted the changing mores and values of the era.

While Alberto Gout's Aventurera ("adventuress") came out when the cabaretera was on its last legs, it became immensely popular with both the audiences and the critics, partly due to Gout's penchant for employing genre conventions in order to subvert them. The fact that the film also featured the sexy and spirited Cuban-born rumbera, Ninón Sevilla, who was once referred to by Jacques Rivette as "an oblique challenge to bourgeois, Catholic, and all other moralities," certainly didn't hurt. She plays Elena Tejero, who after experiencing a whirlwind of events leaves her hometown and ends up in Ciudad Juárez, where she reacquaints herself with a suave admirer (the ubiquitous Tito Junco, who many may recall from Buñuel's A Woman Without Love [1952]) only to be betrayed by him in the worst of fashions. But instead of accepting her fate like a Mizoguchi heroine, Elena starts bustin' skulls on a nightly basis, eventually winning the freedom to live and love anew. However, the past and the hypocrisies of society do catch up with her, forcing her once again to fight back with a vengeance.

The first of a trilogy of cabaretera films Gout made with Sevilla, this effort not only turns the tables on the conventionally esteemed figure of "the mother" in Mexican cinema, it also goes against the grain of the genre's traditions to seek some sort of a future for its embattled protagonist. Speaking of whom, Sevilla is as comfortable exchanging sarcastic barbs and more with her high-society mother-in-law (the great Andrea Palma), her one-time pimp (yep, it's that kind of a film), as she is shakin' her stuff on the dance floor. Exquisitely shot in black-and-white by master DP Alex Phillips, once a mentor to Gabriel Figueroa, and sporting musical numbers from some of the best Latino musicians of the time-period, Aventurera was selected by The Village Voice's Jim Hoberman as one of the top ten films of 1996.
arsaib4
 

Re: Mexican Cinema Classics

Postby arsaib4 » Sun Feb 24, 2008 10:55 pm



AVENTURERA (Mexico / 1950)



The ranchera and the cabaretera were two of the most popular Mexican film genres that thrived under the emblem of the "Golden Age," which the country's cinema experienced from roughly about the early 1940s through mid 1950s. The former often combined a pastoral setting with fashionable songs, romance and comedy; the latter, largely unfolding in seedy urban musical venues, readily employed doses of extravagant melodrama and film noir, and when at its best, depicted the changing mores and values of the era.

While Alberto Gout's Aventurera ("adventuress") came out when the cabaretera was on its last legs, it became immensely popular with both the audiences and the critics, partly due to Gout's penchant for employing genre conventions in order to subvert them. The fact that the film also featured the sexy and spirited Cuban-born rumbera, Ninón Sevilla, who was once referred to by Jacques Rivette as "an oblique challenge to bourgeois, Catholic, and all other moralities," certainly didn't hurt. She plays Elena Tejero, who after experiencing a whirlwind of events leaves her hometown and ends up in Ciudad Juárez, where she reacquaints herself with a suave admirer (the ubiquitous Tito Junco, who many may recall from Buñuel's A Woman Without Love [1952]) only to be betrayed by him in the worst of fashions. But instead of accepting her fate like a Mizoguchi heroine, Elena starts bustin' skulls on a nightly basis, eventually winning the freedom to live and love anew. However, the past and the hypocrisies of society do catch up with her, forcing her once again to fight back with a vengeance.

The first of a trilogy of cabaretera films Gout made with Sevilla, this effort not only turns the tables on the conventionally esteemed figure of "the mother" in Mexican cinema, it also goes against the grain of the genre's traditions to seek some sort of a future for its embattled protagonist. Speaking of whom, Sevilla is as comfortable exchanging sarcastic barbs and more with her high-society mother-in-law (the great Andrea Palma), her one-time pimp (yep, it's that kind of a film), as she is shakin' her stuff on the dance floor. Exquisitely shot in black-and-white by master DP Alex Phillips, once a mentor to Gabriel Figueroa, and sporting musical numbers from some of the best Latino musicians of the time-period, Aventurera was selected by The Village Voice's Jim Hoberman as one of the top ten films of 1996.
arsaib4
 

Re: Mexican Cinema Classics

Postby arsaib4 » Sun Feb 24, 2008 11:02 pm

*Aventurera is available on DVD in the U.S. from Cinemateca/Facets. The lone extra provided is a video introduction. The film had a brief theatrical run at NYC's Film Forum back in '96.
arsaib4
 

Re: Mexican Cinema Classics

Postby arsaib4 » Sun Feb 24, 2008 11:02 pm

*Aventurera is available on DVD in the U.S. from Cinemateca/Facets. The lone extra provided is a video introduction. The film had a brief theatrical run at NYC's Film Forum back in '96.
arsaib4
 

Re: Mexican Cinema Classics

Postby arsaib4 » Sun Apr 06, 2008 1:34 am



THE WOMAN OF THE PORT (MEXICO / 1934)



Hollywood's dominance of international film markets, especially those south of the border, didn't begin with the blockbuster phenomenon of Jaws (1975). As early as 1920s, distributors in Mexico and a few other Latin American countries were being lured in to promote American cinema instead of the largely mediocre products produced by their own flailing movie industries. However, things started to change at the dawn of the new decade when sound films became prominent at the domestic level (partly thinks to the Spanish-language industry of Hollywood -- see, it wasn't all bad). In Mexico, while the emphasis early on was to seduce the audience at large, and understandably so, filmmakers such as Fernando de Fuentes, Juan Bustillo Oro, Gabriel Soria, and Russian-born Arcady Boytler (1893-1965) implemented a more artistic approach for their processes.

A one-time associate of Sergei Eisenstein (¡Que viva Mexico! [1932]), Boytler came to the country after brief stops in Germany, Chile and the U.S., where he directed a few shorts for the Mexican film industry. He achieved his first major success with The Woman of the Port (La mujer del puerto), a tragic melodrama which practically introduced the talents of Andrea Palma to the cinematic world. She plays Rosario, a Córdoba-based young woman who loses her poor and sickly father and her fickle beau within a matter of minutes, and is forced to fend for herself once she refuses the advances of her father's much-older employer. Boytler, to his credit, chooses not to wallow in her misery. Instead, he promptly cuts to a handful of jovial, seasick sailors aboard a ship about to arrive at a port in Veracruz (the montage, which culminates with the ship's arrival at the harbor, is a true highlight), where we eventually rediscover Rosario who'd been working the docks.

Based on short stories by Tolstoy and Maupassant (a hint of Shakespeare can also be found when considering Rosario's gossipy neighborhood witches), the film is regarded as one of the first to show traces of the brothel-cabaretera genre. The atmospherically noirish bar-cum-brothel, where the second-half largely unfolds, is strikingly captured by ace Canadian-born DP Alex Phillips, whose expressive work here is clearly indebted to German Expressionism (not to mention French Poetic Realism). Officially remade in Mexico on at least two occasions (in 1949 by Emilio Gómez Muriel and in 1991 by the great Arturo Ripstein), this stylistically and thematically audacious effort, which Boytler directed with technical assistance from American-trained Raphael J. Sevilla, served as a potent early avatar of the "fallen women" films that became the norm during the Golden Age and beyond.
arsaib4
 

Re: Mexican Cinema Classics

Postby arsaib4 » Sun Apr 06, 2008 1:34 am



THE WOMAN OF THE PORT (MEXICO / 1934)



Hollywood's dominance of international film markets, especially those south of the border, didn't begin with the blockbuster phenomenon of Jaws (1975). As early as 1920s, distributors in Mexico and a few other Latin American countries were being lured in to promote American cinema instead of the largely mediocre products produced by their own flailing movie industries. However, things started to change at the dawn of the new decade when sound films became prominent at the domestic level (partly thinks to the Spanish-language industry of Hollywood -- see, it wasn't all bad). In Mexico, while the emphasis early on was to seduce the audience at large, and understandably so, filmmakers such as Fernando de Fuentes, Juan Bustillo Oro, Gabriel Soria, and Russian-born Arcady Boytler (1893-1965) implemented a more artistic approach for their processes.

A one-time associate of Sergei Eisenstein (¡Que viva Mexico! [1932]), Boytler came to the country after brief stops in Germany, Chile and the U.S., where he directed a few shorts for the Mexican film industry. He achieved his first major success with The Woman of the Port (La mujer del puerto), a tragic melodrama which practically introduced the talents of Andrea Palma to the cinematic world. She plays Rosario, a Córdoba-based young woman who loses her poor and sickly father and her fickle beau within a matter of minutes, and is forced to fend for herself once she refuses the advances of her father's much-older employer. Boytler, to his credit, chooses not to wallow in her misery. Instead, he promptly cuts to a handful of jovial, seasick sailors aboard a ship about to arrive at a port in Veracruz (the montage, which culminates with the ship's arrival at the harbor, is a true highlight), where we eventually rediscover Rosario who'd been working the docks.

Based on short stories by Tolstoy and Maupassant (a hint of Shakespeare can also be found when considering Rosario's gossipy neighborhood witches), the film is regarded as one of the first to show traces of the brothel-cabaretera genre. The atmospherically noirish bar-cum-brothel, where the second-half largely unfolds, is strikingly captured by ace Canadian-born DP Alex Phillips, whose expressive work here is clearly indebted to German Expressionism (not to mention French Poetic Realism). Officially remade in Mexico on at least two occasions (in 1949 by Emilio Gómez Muriel and in 1991 by the great Arturo Ripstein), this stylistically and thematically audacious effort, which Boytler directed with technical assistance from American-trained Raphael J. Sevilla, served as a potent early avatar of the "fallen women" films that became the norm during the Golden Age and beyond.
arsaib4
 

Re: Mexican Cinema Classics

Postby arsaib4 » Sun Apr 06, 2008 1:35 am

*Available on U.S. DVD from Cinemateca/Facets. Extras include two trailers and a photo gallery.

*U.S. theatrical release date: August 23, 1936.
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