Mexican Cinema Restored by The Film Foundation
The Film Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded in 1990 by the American director Martin Scorsese, dedicated to protect and preserve film history. In association with film archives and studies from different countries, through its initiative World Cinema Project, The Film Foundation has restored 32 films from 21 countries, including three Mexican films.
Thanks to the invaluable support of institutions such as the UNAM’s Film Library, Fundación Televisa and the UCLA Film & Television Archive, The Film Foundation restored the classics of Mexican cinema: Enamorada, by Emilio Fernández, Dos monjes, by Juan Bustillo Oro and Redes, by Fred Zinnemann and Emilio Gómez Muriel.
Redes (1936, dir. Fred Zinnemann and Emilio Gómez Muriel)
Redes is a documentary-like dramatization of the daily grind of men struggling to make a living by fishing on the Gulf of Mexico, mostly played by real-life fishermen from the community of Alvarado. The death of a fisherman’s son, the result of him not being able to afford medical care, instigates a political awakening among the fishermen.
Restored in 2009 by Cineteca di Bologna/L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory, in association with The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project and UNAM’s Film Library. Restoration was funded by Armani, Cartier, Qatar Airways and Qatar Museum Authority.
Dos Monjes (1934, dir. Juan Bustillo Oro)
Dos Monjes (1934) by the Mexican filmmaker Juan Bustillo Oro, tells the story of a couple of monks engaged in a fight for the woman they both were in love with.
During the 31st edition of Il Cinema Ritrovato, Daniela Michel, founder and general director of the Morelia International Film Festival (FICM), presented in the company of the writer and producer Olivia Harrison this film that was rescued and restored by The Film Foundation and UNAM’s Film Library.
Dos Monjes is an important film for the development of the so-called Mexican Gothic cinema.
Enamorada (1946, dir. Emilio Fernández)
Enamorada tells the story of General José Juan Reyes, who is captivated by Beatriz, the haughty daughter of one of the richest men in town. During the occupation, the general will try to overcome the obstacles that separate him from his beloved, before the imminent arrival of the federal troops.
The film was digitally restored with the support of Fundación Televisa, the UNAM’s Film Library, The Film Foundation and the UCLA Film & Television Archive. In addition, the restoration was funded by The Material World Foundation, a charitable organization founded in 1973 by George Harrison to encourage the exploration of alternative and diverse forms of artistic expression.
In 2018, this restoration was presented by Martin Scorsese at the Cannes International Film Festival in its Cannes Classics section and later arrived in Bologna, Italy, as part of the programming of the 32nd edition of II Cinema Ritrovato.
Olivia Harrison and Mexican Cinema
The organization created by George Harrison has collaborated with The Film Foundation in the restoration of several films, including some short films by Charlie Chaplin and the two Mexican films discussed above.
After collaborating with Martin Scorsese on the production of the documentary George Harrison: Living in the Material World (2011, dir. Martin Scorsese) -presented at the 14th edition of the FICM- Olivia Harrison decided that it was time for The Material World Foundation to do something for the cinema that fascinated her since childhood, the Mexican cinema.
In an interview for the FICM in 2016, Harrison declared that she was working on the restoration of some classics of Mexican cinema: “We are starting a project to restore some Mexican films. I love Mexican cinema, I love Macario (1959, dir. Roberto Gavaldón) and María Candelaria (1943, dir. Emilio Fernández), I love the films of the Golden Age. Jorge Negrete is my hero. I grew up listening to Trío Calaveras and Trío Los Machos, that’s why I really wanted to have the pleasure of restoring Mexican cinema. ”
Although Olivia Harrison was born in Los Angeles, United States, her grandparents are Mexican and she shared with her husband, George Harrison, a strong connection with Mexican culture. “When my husband married me, he married a Mexican family. George loved Mexican music, he saw some of the movies with me, he even had Jorge Negrete in the jukebox. My father used to sing with his brothers, around 1938, and like any musician, he used to walk with his guitar. So one day George put my dad in the studio and recorded him playing Mexican music, ” she said.