Sunday, May 10, 2009

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia - 1974

Plot Summary: A family scandal causes a wealthy and powerful Mexican rancher to make the pronouncement--'Bring me the head of Alfredo Garcia!' Two of the bounty-hunters thus dispatched encounter a local piano-player in their hunt for information. The piano-player does a little investigating on his own and finds out that his girlfriend knows of Garcia's death and last resting place. Thinking that he can make some easy money and gain financial security for he and his (now) fiancée, they set off on this goal. Of course, this quest only brings him untold misery, in the form of trademark Peckinpah violence.

User Comments: There was probably no greater director in the U.S. from 1969-1974 than Sam Peckinpah. He made seven films, ranging from classics (The Wild Bunch) to superior genre pics (The Getaway). And before his career began sliding, he had one more masterpiece in him: Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia. This is the story of one man's alcohol-fueled journey into dissolution and redemption and a really strange film. Warren Oates plays Benny, a piano player cajoled by a pair of men into finding Alfredo's head. See, Alfredo impregnated the daughter of a vicious landowner, and now he wants him dead. But this isn't really what the film is about. It's more about Benny, and how his journey costs him everything. Warren Oates is wonderful as Benny, and there are some great darkly comic moments between him and the head. And this is one of Michael Medved's 50 worst movies of all time - what more of a recommendation do you require? Seriously, this is a great film.

Mexico headless adventure
IMDb review

Pelicula Completa

The Appaloosa - 1966

Plot Outline: Matt Fletcher, a Mexican-American buffalo hunter is constantly harassed and humiliated by bandit general Chuy Medina. When the bandit steals his horse - the appaloosa of the title - he sets out to even scores; at the climax, single-handedly, he takes on the whole gang.

User Comments: "The Appaloosa" is a superior low-key western with a great performance by Marlon Brando and very good ones by John Saxon and Anjanette Comer. Brando plays a white man raised by Mexicans who returns from the Civil War tired of killing and ready to build a ranch around one Appaloosa stallion. Brando has the misfortune of becoming a tool for Comer to escape the clutches of Saxon. Saxon retaliates by stealing Brando's stallion, and Brando follows Saxon into Mexico to reclaim it. Director Sidney J. Furie ("The Ipcress File," "Iron Eagle") extensively uses extreme close-ups of faces, in the same manner as Sergio Leone, but not for the same purpose. Furie uses these close-ups to establish intimacy between the characters and the audience. This works beautifully in "The Appaloosa," particularly so since the story is so unremarkable and low-key and Brando's character is by no means a superman. Most of the violence is of the "G" rated variety, with the notable exception of a hand-wrestling contest played with the addition of scorpions.

IMDb review

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre - 1948

Plot Summary: Dobbs and Curtin meet up in Mexico, and go to work for a contractor, Pat McCormick, who takes them away to remote site and tells them they will be paid when the job is finished. When they are finished, they return to town to find McCormick to get their wages. McCormick gives them a few dollars, and says he'll just go to the bank and pick up the payroll for them. Dobbs and Curtin then meet up with an old prospector, who claims the hills are still full of gold, and if they can get the cash, he'll go with them. They eventually get the cash from McCormick after a little "persuasion", and all three set off for the hills as good friends, but will they return that way ?

User Comments: John Huston's genius as a director is undeniable. From his beginning he showed an uncanny knack for getting not only excellent acting from his actors, but his movies always had a social conscience as well.

Mr. Huston loved Mexico and it shows in this film. It must have been a difficult task for him directing his own father in the movie. After all, Walter Huston was a major star on his own right. Both father and son made a great contribution, John behind the camera, Walter in front of it.

Basically the story is about men that have drifted into Mexico to escape jail, or in search of riches, as it was the case of the men that fate brings together in a Tampico shelter. Dobbs, Howard and Curtin start out as partners searching for gold in the Sierra Madre. They find it, but as luck will have it, none of them will live to be rich from what they find in that remote place.

In the most ironic of film endings, this one will be a classic. After the trio finds gold, greed sets in. Friendship turns sour and the three friends become enemies. When the bandits finally catch up with an exhausted Dobbs, trying to go north, they beat him up and discover some sacks full of sand....

Humphrey Bogart as Dobbs is excellent. Of course, Walter Huston made the best out of Howard, the clever old man who has seen a lot in his life. He is the only one that discovers a happiness living the simple life among the friendly Mexicans that welcome him into their community. Finally, Tim Holt, as Curtin is perfectly cast as an honest man who has gone into the adventure without any expectations.

The final sequence of Howard and the peasants riding their horses into the 'yellow dust' is amazing, as it it incredible. In retrospect, it seems to be telling us that sometimes dreams of becoming rich the easy way will not be sustained, but honest work will be more rewarding.

Hold Back the Dawn - 1941

Plot Outline: Stopped in Mexico by U.S. Immigration, Georges Iscovescu hopes to get into the country by marrying a citizen. A Romanian gigolo marries a naive American schoolteacher in Mexico so he can legally enter the United States. Complications arise as he discovers he is falling in love with her.

Told in flashback from a preface in which the main character visits Paramount to sell his story! Romanian-French gigolo Georges Iscovescu wishes to enter the USA. Stopped in Mexico by the quota system, he decides to marry an American, then desert her and join his old partner Anita, who's done likewise. But after sweeping teacher Emmy Brown off her feet, he finds her so sweet that love and jealousy endanger his plans.

User Comments: They Don't Make 'em like this any more! It is a sad reflection that many of the movies made so long ago still compare brilliantly with the best of today. "Hold Back the Dawn" is one of those - superbly put together by Billy Wilder & Charles Brackett, and with some of the finest acting of 1941. Outstanding are Charles Boyer, in what I feel is his best acting, and Olivia de Havilland who apparently had to go to Paramount to be appreciated (her two Oscar films were made there, and she was nominated also for this one!) is a standout. Paulette Goddard in a role almost written for her was very good, and the supporting cast was excellent. Migrants trying to get into the United States has always been a hot topic, but here it is treated sympathetically in a very informative way. I have to say the ending was not well done, and one gets the feeling all was not well somewhere

Friday, March 13, 2009

Subida al Cielo - 1952 AKA - Mexican Bus Ride

Subida al Cielo (1952) AKA- Mexican Bus Ride

Produced by Luis Bunuel (Luis Buñuel)

Plot Summary: A young man and woman's honeymoon is cut short when the man learns that his mother has fallen ill back at home. The newlywed couple rush there to discover the other sons neglecting their mom in order to plot their squandering of the inheritance. The newlywed son takes quite an adventurous bus-ride to a distant city to get his mother's will notarized to the contrary, and is faced with multiple temptations along the way.

User Comments: left me thinking about the righteous path

Subida al cielo is a messy little story probably about the distractions and small miracles happening on everybody's way to heaven. It is short and seems simple, but there are sometimes strange things happening: has anybody the strength to go straight? If one does really go straight, one probably do not even have dreams. Dreams, wishful thinking and miracles like the improbable solution (by a little girl) for getting the bus out of the river with an ox instead of a tractor and the small miracle of the two vehicles that for no apparent reason suddenly CAN pass each other on the narrow path after a short meeting. Furthermore, Buñuel incorporates a few modest but funny dream sequences to emphasize that people (secretly) can think of other things, while they are on their certain way to heaven (the righteous path?). The English title 'Mexican Bus Ride' applies very well I guess: the whole is kind of low profile (probably also low budget :)

The acting is ok, but I never really got into the story, because the editing isn't good and there is no convincing mood to get into, although Buñuel uses some music in this movie. Miniature cars and sets make it fun to watch, but also do not convince. The movie feels more like an exercise than as a message from the heart, but I would like to see it again some time.

La Rosa Blanca - 1961

La Rosa Blanca (1961)

Plot Summary: An illiterate Indian (Ignacio Lopez Tarso) lives an idyllic existence as a landowner on Mexico's Gulf Coast until the greed of a US oil company gets in the way. He is murdered and the lives of all those around him are irrevocably destroyed as the company takes over the land by crooked means. Based on the novel by B.Traven.

User Comments: Powerful Film about Social Consequences of Oil

Many countries face the challenges of oil reserves; they benefit from the money they gain, but pay a severe social cost for having oil. Mexico is not an exception to this rule, and the struggle of one family's fight against an oil company is masterfully depicted in La Rosa Blanca.

The acting, while a bit stylized, is quite good. (The film employed the services of some of Mexico's best actors of the time). Additionally, Roberto Gavaldon employs the use of two languages in the dialogue to create the disconnect necessary to understand the difficulties faced by Jacinto Yañez and his family.

La Rosa Blanca, directed by Roberto Gavaldon, is an exquisite work featuring cinematography by the illustrious Gabriel Figueroa. Originally completed in 1961, it was canned for eleven years because of its highly political nature. Mexico was suffering from the effects of a boom and bust oil economy during the early 1960s, therefore making its subject matter sensitive. It has often been mischaracterized as being anti-American: it is not. The film is, however, against the exploitative nature of oil corporations, a poignant fact that has significant value today.

My distaste for the final ten minutes of this film, where the film becomes a propaganda piece for the Mexican government, is the only reason this film does not get a ten.

Complete movie in 13 parts on Youtube

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Los Olvidados - 1950 - Luis Buñuel


Los Olvidados, translated as The Young and the Damned (the Forgotten), is a treatise on the street-life of kids in Mexico City. There are at least three characters who are of focus here, and three others on the sidelines with equal importance: El Jaibo, a rough young man who's grown up on the street his whole life, and who's picked up more than his share of wicked, ego-driven habits; "Big Eyes" as he's called by a Blind Man (he's credited as Lost Boy on this site) is a kid whose lost his father, and is taken in by the old-fashioned, hardened old man, who lives next to the girl Meche; and Pedro, the hero, is deep down a good soul, but with a side that just wants to roam the streets, at the carelessness of his estranged mother, who like her son is poverty stricken. Pedro, one day, witnesses Jaibo commit a killing of a squealer, and this puts him in a bad position, as his relationship with his mother unfolds, and so on.

All through Los Olvidados, based on real events and real people from the streets, I kept on feeling for these people in the same way I did for the characters I saw in the neo-realism movies like La Terra Trema and Shoeshine. Here are people who are so starkly depicted who can practically smell the streets coming off of them. That they are non-professionals in real settings, like in those movies, and the stories are such simple yet heart-felt, goes to show the mastery of Luis Bunuel. While he became infamous for such films in the thirties like Un Chien Andalou and L'Age D'Or, and later for such originals like Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie and the obscure Phantom of Liberty (the climax in that is something that could've inspired most gross-out comedies of late), this film displays his worth as a writer/director outside of the reputation he garnered in that he tells us the story, with the little details and complex emotions that the Italian directors were able to bring forth, while every once in a while reminding us that it is his brand of movie-making at work.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Short documentary on Arturo Ripstein

Documental Arturo Ripstein

Documental realizado para la Conferencia que impartieron el Director de Cine Mexicano Arturo Ripstein y su esposa la guionista Paz Alicia Garcia-Diego en la U de CI. En Mayo de 2003.

Mexico Cinema

Raíces - 1955

Plot Summary: Mexican and Latin-American classic. Four independent stories based on writer Francisco Rojas Gonzáles's work, depicting the reality of Mexican indian people: Las Vacas, Nuestra Señora, El Tuerto and La Potranca. In El Tuerto, crosseyed boy is made fun of by his mates. His religious mother asks God to make the boy's eyes equal. The outcome is tragic.

User Comments: Clash between 2 Cultures

Long before the Europeans set foot on America, several Indian cultures flourished, specially in the center of Mexico and down to South America. These groups had astounding knowledges that up till today it is still a mystery as to how they acquired them. This very interesting and very well produced film that used no professional actors, is a very good portrait of what happens when we try to view things prejudiced by our own point of view. This is typically a clash of 2 cultures, the European modernity trying to judge what The "Chamula" Indians in the Southeast part of Mexico had been doing for centuries. It is a clash between pagan and religious beliefs, between desire and pride, between poverty and riches, between faith and reality, between tradition and modernity. It is very interesting to follow the plot of the 4 different stories being narrated. This is a movie that should not be missed by Latin Americans or any one else that wants to understand how the natives lived on this part of the world long before we were "discovered" by the Europeans.

Raices - directed by Benito Alazraki

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Cronos - 1993

Plot Summary: in 1535, an alchemist builds an extraordinary mechanism encapsulated into a small golden device. The invention, designed to convey eternal life to its owner, survives its maker until 1997 when it shows up to an antiquarian. Fascinated with the strange device, Gris (Luppi) doesn't note that there's more than one person looking for it. The promise of eternal life has become an obsession to old and sick Mr. De la Guardia (Brook). He and his nephew (Perlman) will do anything to get the "Chronos Invention".

When antiques dealer Jesús finds the legendary Cronos device within a statue he accidentally uses it. It feeds on his life force in exchange for eternal life. However wealthy Dieter and his nephew Angel also want the device and are willing to do anything to get it.

This is certainly a different vision of the vampire story, it dispels with a lot of the gore, the castles, Igor etc, but keeps the sunlight, the through the heart death etc. The story moves very slowly and is focused on Jesús and the devices' effect on him. His accidental transformation causes concern within his granddaughter and he finds that eternity has a price. The scenes between Jesús and Aurora are touching and make a nice change from the blood letting scenes.

The action is never really forthcoming and it is a little stilted in a way. Pearlman's character is a good addition to the story, but it does move so slowly that it may be a disappointment to those expecting a horror film. Luppi is good as Jesús, haunted by a gift he never wanted, Tamara is also strong as his granddaughter.

Overall it's an interesting retelling of a famous story. The direction is faultless although the story occasionally feels aimless and drifting.

Directed by Guillermo del Toro. With Federico Luppi, Ron Perlman, Claudio Brook

Cronos Trailer on YouTube

Abre los Ojos - 1997

Plot Outline: An imprisoned man hides his face behind a mask is telling his story, as a flashback, to a psychiatrist: his name is César, he is an orphan but he had inherited a fortune from his parents, and he used to live in a luxurious house of his his own. He was also very handsome and a renowned womanizer. His best friend, Pelayo, was jealous of César because he was not very successful with women. But one night, Pelayo showed up in one of César's parties with a beautiful woman named Sofía. When César met her and talked to her for a while, he began to feel something he had never felt before: love. And, although she was supposed to be Pelayo's girlfriend, he tried to woo her, spending that night at her home. But Nuria, with whom César had his last affair, was very jealous; she went to pick him up in her car the next morning, and committed suicide by ramming it into a tree. César survived the crash, but his face was hideously disfigured, his handsome looks gone. Doctors said they couldn't help him. He was very depressed and still in love with Sofía. One night he went out with her and Pelayo, and he felt that they were very uncomfortable with his presence. But the morning after, his luck seemed to change completely: Sofía came to him, saying that it was he whom she really loved, and the doctors called him and told him that, with a revolutionary new technique, they could rebuild his face, which they did. César was happier than ever, but that's when the really strange and scary things started to happen...and César found out that the real nightmare had only just began for him....

"Abre Los Ojos" is one of the most astonishing movies I have ever seen. It's so full of astounding twists that it constantly makes you sit up and wonder what the next shot will bring you. At the same time, you keep wondering if a movie with so many twists will be able to tie everything up at the end, but Amenabar and his co-writer manage to do just that, in a reasonably (if not perfectly) satisfying manner. Eduardo Noriega's acting is so good it's beyond belief, and so is the "disfiguring" makeup. Pair this off with "The Game" for a truly mind-bending double feature and see what cinema should be like more often.

Directed by Alejandro Amenábar. With Eduardo Noriega, Penélope Cruz
Mexico Cinema

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Santitos - 1999

Santitos (Little Saints) - 1999

This film received many international awards, including the Latin American Cinema Award at the Sundance Film Festival, where it had its premiere in 1999. It is the directorial debut of Alejandro Springall, and the screenplay is by Maria Amparo Escandon, based on her novel.

It is about a bizarre journey from Vera Cruz to Los Angeles and back again, as the naïve, childlike, widow Esperanza seeks to find out what happened to her daughter, and relies on supernatural visions to guide her, which eventually prove that God works in mysterious ways when it comes to matters of the heart, for both maternal and romantic love. Her circuitous pilgrimage takes her through Tijuana, the world of prostitution (which at times unfortunately is somewhat idealized in this film), to the professional wrestling arena.

Dolores Heredia is exquisite as Esperanza, the mother who never gives up hope, and others in the cast include Demian Bechir as Cocomixtle the pimp, Alberto Estrella as Angel the wrestler, and Fernando Torre Lapham as Father Salvador. With rich, colorful cinematography by Xavier Perez Grobert, and a good soundtrack (Carlo Nicolau and Rosino Serrano), this film is filled with wonderful imagery and excellent acting.

Cabeza de Vaca - 1991

Plot Summary: An international award winning saga of old Mexico. In 1528, a Spanish expedition founders off the coast of Florida with 600 lives lost. One survivor, Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca, roams across the American continent searching for his Spanish comrades. Instead, he discovers the Iguase, an ancient Indian tribe. Over the next eight years, Cabeza de Vaca learns their mystical and mysterious culture, becoming a healer and a leader. But soon this New World collides with the Old World as Spanish conquistadors seek to enslave the Indians, and Cabeza de Vaca must confront his own people and his past.

"Cabeza de Vaca" may be viewed as a surrealistic rumination on the nature of early contact between Europeans and North American Indians, but it has very little to do with the actual narrative of events as presented to Charles V by Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca in his 1542 report.
Viewers who may wonder about the rapid transition from Florida to the Southwest in the movie should realize that the opening scene depicting the separation of the rafts of Captain Narvaez and Cabeza de Vaca took place off the coast of Louisiana WEST of the Mississippi more than a year after their first landfall in Florida, despite the meager information provided in the opening credits. Cabeza de Vaca is also presented as Treasurer to the King of Spain, when in fact he was merely treasurer of that particular expedition.

And although the long sequence early in the movie showing Cabeza de Vaca's period of slavery to the Indian sorcerer and the armless dwarf is quite interesting to see, there is no corresponding incident in the explorer's writings. C de V did report on a brief period of enslavement, but that is all. No sorcerer, no dwarf. Similarly, the bond created between C de V and the young Indian who he cures by removing an arrowhead is not in the original narrative, but rather a conflation of several different episodes from the journey. The key scenes of capture and near-murder by the blue-painted Indians are wholly the creation of the screenwriter.

The movie has an inconsistent approach to nudity. Most of the Indian tribes encountered by C de V went entirely naked during the warm season, but are almost always shown with at least some kind of loincloth. However, during the "blue Indian" sequence and later, when the survivors are taken in by friendly Indians for a while, full nudity is present among the females, and even full-frontal on the part of an Indian girl who offers herself to one of C de V's men. Meant to be tittilating? I don't know. It wasn't. In C de V's report, he notes a number of times that he and his Spanish companions were, for a long period, "naked as the day we were born," but there is no male nudity whatsoever in the film.

So what is accurate? The suffering endured, for sure, and the apparent success of the Spaniards in "curing" Indians through the power of God. The arrival in Mexico toward the end, and the capture of the Indians there as slaves. That's about it. Nevertheless, the film holds the attention throughout, and the final scene of Indians bearing the enormous silver cross through the desert is quite arresting.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Forgotten Village - 1941

Burgess Meredith - Narrator
Story by John Steinbeck

This sensitively-done 30s documentary tells the story of Juan Diego, a young man who lives in a tiny Mexican village, where people live a traditional rural lifestyle that has changed little over thousands of years. The only link with the outside world is Juan's school teacher, who gives the village children a bit of knowledge of the modern world. When the children of Juan's village start sickening and dying in droves, Juan goes to his teacher for help. The teacher suspects that the village well is spreading an infectious disease, and he encourages Juan to go to a nearby city and get a public health team to come and help. Unfortunately, the villagers rely on a local medicine woman for healthcare, and they are extremely hostile to new ideas.

When Juan returns with the medical team, most of the families hide their sick children from them, and when they try to disinfect the well, the villagers accuse them of poisoning it. In desperation to cure his seriously ill younger sister (he already lost a brother to the illness), Juan sneaks her to the medical team in the middle of the night to get her an injection of a curative serum, but his father catches him afterwards and orders him to leave the village and never return. The medical team, however, make arrangements for Juan to attend a special school for young people who want to bring modern medicine to their villages. They reassure Juan that change happens slowly, and that it will be young people like him who will finally bring such changes about. This is an intelligent and sensitive film that is not too hard on the villagers who reject the medical team's interventions.

This makes it more enlightened than you'd expect for the time it was made. Of course, by today's standards, it has some problems as it gives no context for the villagers suspiciousness of outsiders coming in and trying to change their ways, which may encourage audience members to think of them as just ignorant and stubborn. And it shows no downside to modernity, whereas from today's perspective we know that modern ways, with their medical miracles and conveniences, have a tendency to destroy traditional ways of life, leaving little for poor rural people to take its place. Still, this film is a wonderful documentation of those ways of life, as well as providing a historically interesting snapshot of public health practices in Mexico during the 30s.

El Imperio de la Fortuna - 1986

El Imperio de la Fortuna (1986) - Directed by Arturo Ripstein

Plot Summary: A very poor and handicapped man, lives in a small town in Mexico with his mother. He works announcing things along the town ("The priest lost his cow, if someone sees it ..."). He is very interested in the cock fighting. One day a man gives him a looser cock, thinking to give him something to eat, but instead he takes care of the animal and it becomes a winner cock. He begins to win some money. La Caponera, a very good looking singer, earlier avoided him but now she uses her coquetry to gain some drinks. He thinks she is his talisman so she marries her when he becomes rich, taking her apart from the show-bizz, so she begins to feel very unhappy.

Based on a short story by Juan Rolfo, EL IMPERIO DE LA FORTUNA tells the story of Dionosio Pinzon, a Mexican peasant living with his mother. Born with a deformed hand, and living a very meager life, Dionosio's luck turns around when he is given a losing gamecock which he nurses back to health. He trains the bird for fighting, begins to make money, and begins a relationship with a gold-digging singer. As he makes money, though, he begins to become more and more corrupt--and it becomes apparent that his winning streak will not last. This story was also filmed by Roberto Gavaldon in 1965 as EL GALLO DE ORO (GOLDEN ROOSTER).

Emilio Fernández

Emilio "El Indio" Fernández Romo, who was born on March 26, 1904 in the state of Coahuila, Mexico, is the most famous person in the history of Mexican movies. For an era, he symbolized Mexico due to his violent machismo, rooted in the Revolution of 1910-17, and because of his staunch commitment to Mexican cultural nationalism. Sired by an ethnic Caucuasian father and born to an Indian mother, Emilio was himself a "mestizaje" (mestizo) that his films would later glorify.

The teenaged Fernández abandoned his studies to serve as an officer in the Huertista rebellion, which broke out on December 4, 1923. On July 20th of that year, Francisco "Pancho" Villa had been ambushed and killed, one theory being that he was assassinated by agents of Mexican President Álvaro Obregón Salido. Obregón, when he served as a general during the revolution, had defeated Villa in four successive battles collectively known as the Battle of Celaya. The Battle of Celaya was the largest military confrontation in Latin American history before the 1982 Falklands War.

IMDb Biography of Emilio Fernández

Friday, January 9, 2009

Roberto Gavaldón

Roberto Gavaldón was a consummate film professional who worked his way into the emerging Mexican film industry beginning in the late ’20s, doing everything from acting to editing to assisting directors Alberto Gout, Alejandro Galindo and Gabriel Soria. His long apprenticeship made him a detailed craftsman behind the camera, known for carefully planning every shot in even his most modest productions.

Like his contemporaries Emilio Fernandez, Ismael Rodrigues and Luis Buñuel, Gavaldón worked on a wide variety of subjects and genres in Mexico’s highly commercial industry: he developed a series of slow boil thrillers from three works written by the enigmatic German émigré writer B. Traven (author of the source novel for John Huston’s The Treasure of the Sierra Madre) and collaborated extensively with writer and activist José Revueltas.

Yet certain recurrences—from a catalogue of slighted heroes seeking revenge to the intricate visuals developed through Gavaldón’s close working relationships with cinematographers Alex Philips and Gabriel Figueroa—dominate the director’s work, establishing his legacy as one of Mexico’s most complex and gifted filmmakers.

La Perla - 1947

La Perla (1947)

Plot Summary: Quino is a Mexican diver that discovers a pearl at the bottom of the sea. He and his wife Juana, and their son have just taken possession of a pearl that is worth thousands. Everyday people try to get in on the cash, even Pearl Dealers try to rip them off. When Quino is attacked one day, he kills his attackers in self defence. His brother suggests their only hope is to leave the village. But on their journey to give their son an education they never had, someone may just do anything to prevent it.

User Comments: A visual feast!!!

I am a Brit happily married to a Mexicana for many years and lived in Mexico for a number of years.

La Perla is a photographic masterpiece of significant beauty and well worth seeing for the magnificence of the incredible use of natural light to highlight the scenery.

In addition to the two main stars the cast contains a number of actors whose work I have enjoyed immensely and the scenes depicting the singing and dancing at the local fiesta bring back to me countless memories of pleasure during my life in that beautiful country.

This film really does reflect the Golden Years of the Mexican Film Industry.

Mexican Cinema - Emilio Fernández

Macario - 1960

Macario (1960)
Plot Summary: Poor, hungry peasant Macario longs for just one good meal on the Day of the Dead. After his wife cooks a turkey for him, he meets three apparitions, the Devil, God, and Death. Each asks him to share his turkey, but he refuses all except Death. In return, Death gives him a bottle of water which will heal any illness. Soon, Macario is more wealthy than the village doctor, which draws the attention of the feared Inquisition

User Comments: Memorable, funny, wise and very entertaining.

Beautifully realized fable that quickly made history as the first Mexican film to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Film. It is based on a story by B. Traven, the man behind the source material for the classic film Treasure of a Sierra Madre (1948). Like most fables, symbolism is plentiful, and the social message is unmistakably strong. The film opts for a combination of naturalism and surrealism, and the result is a visually dense, and dramatically interesting movie. The film's structure is reminiscent of both Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal (1957), and William Dieterle's The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941), so if you like any of those films, you will probably enjoy this movie. Dazzling camera work by the great Grabiel Figueroa is key to the film's success, but one cannot overlook Roberto Gavaldón's excellent direction, and a truly superb script by Emilio Carballido and Galvadon. Ignacio Lopez Tarso is perfectly cast as the peasant that makes a deal with "Mr. Death", and I loved the work of actress Pina Pillecer, who is a clone of actress Marisa Pavan.

Mexican Cinema - Roberto Gavaldón

Macario video on YouTube

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Mexico Cine & Video Clips

These are mostly movies I have collected over the years. Many bought thru Amazon, some copied from television to VHS and lately downloaded with a Torrent client.

Many descriptions are from Amazon and reviews are from IMDb

Peliculas de Mexico
San Diego Latino Film Festival