Programmed by Peter Goldberg
This series presents some of the most significant films of Mexican cinema's "Golden Age," offering a glimpse of Mexican society and culture in the artistically and politically active decades from the early 1930s through the 1950s. Through screening these films, the series brings to light the rapid and conflicted changes in post-revolutionary Mexican society as the nation entered a new period of growth and transition. Highlights include Vámonos con Pancho Villa, Maria Candelaria, and Los Olvidados.
(Arcady Boytler, 1934) · With nothing left for her in Córdoba, Rosario (Andrea Palma) flees to a bustling port city. There, alone and unmarried, tragedy awaits her. Infamous for its surprising twist, Boytler's shocking tale directly confonts the difficulties faced by women in the newly forged and rapidly industrializing republic. This early film from the Golden Age is a testament to both the artistic hybridity in post-revolutionary Mexico and a record of its growing pains.
runtime: 76 min format: DVD
(Fernando de Fuentes, 1936) · The final film of de Fuente's Revolution Trilogy, a band of peasants join Pancho Villa's army to fight for a better life. Rather than glory and freedom, however, they are forced to face the chaotic brutality of war. Due in part to its stark, unmythological view of Villa and his men, and its cynicism about the worth of the revolution, Vámonos was a commercial and critical failure upon release that has since become a classic of Mexican cinema.
runtime: 92 min format: 35mm
(Julio Bracho, 1943) · Descend into the nocturnal belly of the beast with Golden Age legends of the silver screen Pedro Armendáriz and Andrea Palma. Shooting at a time when city growth was exploding, cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa's camera deftly brings to life the claustrophobic and mysterious world of the urban underground. Chases, shootouts, romance, and thrills abound when the sun sets on the metropolis, where you never know who will live to see another dawn...
runtime: 108 min format: 35mm
(Emilio Fernandez, 1944) · Dolores del Rio and Pedro Armendáriz star as two virtuous, but unlucky lovers in this tragedy set in the not-so-idyllic village of Xochimilco. Del Rio plays the titular heroine whose only sin was to be born of a prostitute, a heritage she can never escape. Embodying an imaginary ideal of indigenous purity and pinned between her neighbors' hatred and a repressive economic system, Maria struggles for a better life in a world hellbent on denying it to her.
runtime: 76 min format: 35mm
(Alejandro Galindo, 1946) · Follow the career of a young vendor from Mexico City with passion in his heart and fury in his fists. Starting from humble beginnings, Roberto "El Kid" Terranova quickly rises to become a victorious boxer. Despite this, life still isn't easy as El Kid fights to maintain his success. Despite the now hackneyed set-up, it maintains a sober realism, refusing to offer an easy resolution in this rollercoaster of a story of overcoming one's self and conditions.
runtime: 111 min format: 35mm
(Ismael Rodriguez, 1948) · This panorama of a working class neighborhood in Mexico City centers on a man and his daughter's lives as their attempts to scrape by draw them into trouble with the law. Featuring megastar Pedro Infante in one of his finest roles, this sympathetic, if overtly sentimental, portrayal of urban poverty was a box office hit upon release, and has since solidified itself as a classic of Mexican cinema and arguably Ismael Rodriguez's best film.
runtime: 128 min format: DVD
(Luis Bunuel, 1950) · Plunging the viewer directly into the violent and chaotic world of several youths' (the titular "forgotten ones") lives in urban slums, this brutal narrative displays a startling level of illusionless realism without sacrificing Bunuel's characteristic surrealist touch. Racking up a Director's prize at Cannes and controversial in Mexico, Los Olvidados never hides from what Octavio Paz called "the irrational images that sprout from the dark side of man"
runtime: 80 min format: 35mm
(Roberto Gavaldón, 1960) · Macario, an impoverished peasant in colonial New Spain, resents his lot in life and, wanting just a taste of luxury, refuses to eat until he can have a whole roast turkey to himself. His antics attract the attention of Death himself, leading him down a path that veers in and out of this world. If you dare to walk with Death, we invite you to tread cautiously through this atmospheric final work and fitting end to Mexico's cinematic Golden Age.
runtime: 90 min format: 35mm