Mexican Films to Reflect on LoveBy: Gabriela Martínez @GabbMartivel
Whether romantic, innocent or tragic, love has always found a place in Mexican cinema. From his unique perspective, each filmmaker manages to tell love stories framed in different social contexts, some of those, more raw and controversial than others, but without losing sight of the main motivation of their characters.
Next, a list of fifteen films about love in its different forms, that have been part of the Morelia International Film Festival (FICM).
La mujer del puerto, by Arcady Boytler (1934)
After losing her father and discovering that her boyfriend has betrayed her with another woman, Rosario is forced to work as a prostitute in the port of Veracruz. Several years go by and Rosario gets used to cabaret life. One day, a handsome sailor rescues her from the dirty hands of a drunken man. The two spend a passionate night together but their love will be threatened by a dark secret.
Dos monjes, by Juan Bustillo Oro (1934)
In a nineteenth-century monastery, two monks get into a fight. When called into confession, they each tell a different version of the same story, and the only overlapping element is Ana: the woman with whom both had fallen in love.
Another Dawn, by Julio Bracho (1943)
A corrupt governor, Vidal, orders for the head of a union to be assassinated. The leader’s friend, Octavio, is looking for documents that will convict the killer. On the run from Vidal’s thugs, Octavio comes across Julieta, a classmate he was in love with in university. While they hunt down the documents together, she deals with her feelings for him and conflicting family obligations.
Las abandonadas, by Emilio Fernández (1944)
The action takes place in Mexico in 1914. After being abandoned and thrown out of her father’s house, Margarita arrives at the capital where she gives birth to a baby boy, Margarito. Years later, while working in a cabaret, she meets Gen. Gómez, who falls in love with her. Gómez, an imposter, dies when he tries to be captured and Margarita is sent to prison as a complice. When she is released, she gives up her son hoping he will have a better future.
Crepúsculo, by Julio Bracho (1945)
The story of a surgeon split into as many parts as the skull has bones. Alejandro falls passionately in love with Lucia, a nude model, just one day before leaving on a long trip around the world. When he returns he is surprised to find that his friend has married her.
Enamorada, by Emilio Fernández (1946)
Revolutionary troops under Gen. José Juan Reyes take the city of Cholula. Reyes falls in love with Beatriz, the haughty daughter of one of the richest men in town. During the time of the occupation, the general tries to sidestep the obstacles that separate him from his beloved before the imminent arrival of the federal troops. Emilio “El Indio” Fernández sets the action of this romantic comedy, full of memorable moments, during the Mexican Revolution.
This Strange Passion, by Luis Buñuel (1953)
Francisco deeply believes in love at first sight when he meets Gloria. But as time goes by, Gloria begins to notice his oddly impulsive and paranoid behavior. Their relationship starts to change, and Francisco’s obsessions become stronger, more primitive, more violent. Can a man keep his composure when the beauty of a woman so fills his soul with passion and obsession.
Sex and Love (Sapho 1963), byLuis Alcoriza (1963)
A young doctor operates on an injured boy but the boy dies. The boy is the son of Diana’s maid. Diana invites the doctor to a party at her house. Flirtation, seduction, deception and betrayal ensue, and the affair threatens to culminate in fights and hospitals.
Fando and Lis, by Alejandro Jodorowsky (1968)
The first feature-length film by Alejandro Jodorowsky is a strange tale of lost innocence, sadomasochistic love and unattainable paradise. Based on a play by the same name by Fernando Arrabal, it tells the story of a young couple (Fando, impotent, and Lis, paraplegic) in search of the mythical city of Tar, where they find spiritual ecstasy.
Y tu mamá también, by Alfonso Cuarón (2001)
Two teenagers from different social classes see their girlfriends off to Italy for the summer and are then bewitched by an alluring Spanish woman whom they meet at a wedding. When she agrees to accompany them on a trip to the beach, the three form an intense and sensual bond that will ultimately strip them bare, both physically and emotionally.
Love, Pain, and Vice Versa, by Alfonso Pineda Ulloa (2008)
Chelo has been obsessed with a prince charming who visits her each night in her dreams. Dr. Márquez has been plagued by nightmares of a woman murdering him?the same woman every night, whom he swears he has never met. Both Chelo and Dr. Márquez resort to the police to find their dream counterparts, accusing them of different crimes and providing perfect descriptions for the composite sketches. But when the police apprehend the suspects, Chelo and Dr. Márquez find themselves face to face, and the truth about their connected past begins to invade their fantasies.
Heli, by Amat Escalante (2013)
Estela is a 12-year-old girl who has just fallen in love with a young police cadet. He wants to run away with her and get married. Trying to achieve this dream, her family will have to experience the violence that is devastating the region
I Promise You Anarchy, by Julio Hernández Cordón (2015)
Best friends and lovers Miguel and Johnny have known each other since childhood. They spend their life skateboarding with their friends in throbbing Mexico City. Selling their own blood and getting donors for the ER black market represent easy money for them. A big transaction of blood ends up bad for everyone involved. Miguel’s mother decides to send him out of the country. Away from Johnny, Miguel will face his own destiny.
The Pleasure is Mine, by Elisa Miller (2015)
Passionately in love and eager to live together as a couple, Rita and Mateo move out of the city and take refuge in the apparent tranquility of Mateo’s deceased father’s country house. Like every new relationship, it is all sex and fun in the beginning until Rita’s desire to become a mother, Mateo’s fear of commitment and an unexpected visit by Alexis, Mateo’s seductive cousin, come between them. Rita and Mateo’s differences surface, testing the shaky foundation their relationship is built on. Soon, a lack of communication and unrequited love unleash the violence that will inevitably spell an end to the couple. An honest portrait of sex as the driving force of our world, it’s a film that accurately reflects the sentiment of our younger generations.
The Untamed, by Amat Escalante (2016)
Alejandra is a working housewife, raising two boys with husband Angel in a small city. Her brother Fabian works as a nurse in a local hospital. Their provincial lives are upset with the arrival of mysterious Veronica. Sex and love can be fragile in certain regions where strong family values, hypocrisy, homophobia, and male chauvinism exist. Veronica convinces them that in the nearby woods, inside an isolated cabin, dwells something not of this world that could be the answer to all of their problems. Something whose force they cannot resist and with whom they must make peace or suffer its wrath.