Excellent Response to Classic Mexican Cinema in Bologna
The program of classic Mexican cinema curated by the Morelia International Film Festival (FICM) had a magnificent response in the XXXI edition of Il Cinema Ritrovato, a festival specialized in films of great historical value that takes place in Bologna, Italy. This exhibition was made possible thanks to the FICM’s effort, in collaboration with Filmoteca UNAM and Cineteca National.
The program Revolution and Adventure: Mexican Cinema in the Golden Age, consisted of eight films, beginning with the birth of sound cinema in the early 30s and including a variety of styles and genres from the 40s and 50s, until the early 60s. In addition, as part of the section A Hundred Years Ago, Il Cinema Ritrovato presented Tepeyac (1917) by José Manuel Ramos, Carlos E. González and Fernando Sáyago.
Daniela Michel, general director of FICM, presented four of the screenings of Mexican cinema in Bologna. In each of these presentations, she began by stressing how grateful she was for the magnificent opportunity to exhibit these films at Il Cinema Ritrovato and expressing her gratitude to the Cineteca Nacional and the Filmoteca UNAM for their tireless work as two of the most important film archives in the country. In addition, Daniela Michel conveyed her desire for the program to “be a window into the Golden Age of Mexican cinema as well as the social, economic and political changes that took place in Mexico in the 1930s, 40s and 50s”.
On Monday, June 24, in the company of writer and producer Olivia Harrison, Daniela Michel presented Two Monks (1934) by Juan Bustillo Oro, a film rescued and restored by The Film Foundation and Filmoteca UNAM. Margaret Bodde, director of The Film Foundation, also attended the show. Daniela Michel shared that the film had already been part of a special program at FICM 2015 and explained: “Two Monks is one of the earliest examples of Mexican Gothic cinema, and deals with paranoia, madness, horror and fear; in addition to breaking some of the cinematographic norms of the era”.
On Tuesday, June 25, FICM’s director presented Aventurera (1950) by Alberto Gout, courtesy of Olympusat O&O Hispanic Networks. In this screening, Daniela Michel emphasized the importance of Ninón Sevilla as a sexual symbol and gave the audience in Bologna a bit of context about “rumberas” cinema: “a hybrid genre that blossomed in Mexico in the 40s and 50s and found its origins in film noir (particularly in the notion of the femme fatale), big studio-produced Hollywood musicals, melodramas and Cuban music”.
On Wednesday, June 26, Daniela Michel presented Roberto Gavaldón‘s Soledad´s Shawl (1952), courtesy of the Sindicato de Trabajadores de la Producción Cinematográfica (Cinematographic Production Workers’ Union). The screening was attended by Pierre Rissient, one of the most important figures in the film industry and a Special Guest of FICM in 2014, 2015, and 2016. In her presentation speech, Daniela Michel stressed: “This film is a celebration of Mexican values, especially indigenous culture, and a consideration of the widening gap between urban and rural spaces. It is also a harsh criticism of the violence and corruption that the Revolution left behind in poor and rural areas”.
Finally, on Thursday, June 27, FICM’s director presented Julio Bracho‘s Historia de un gran amor (1942) courtesy of Televisa. Daniela Michel started the presentation explaining that Julio Bracho, along with Emilio Fernández and Roberto Gavaldón, is one of the most important directors of Mexican cinema. She added, “this film stands out thanks to the incredible performances of some of the greatest stars of the Golden Age, Gloria Marín and Jorge Negrete. Because of the magnificent photography of Gabriel Figueroa and the work of two great Mexican composers, Manuel Esperón and Miguel Bernal Jiménez.
For more details on the Mexican cinema program that was presented at Il Cinema Ritrovato, click here.
We appreciate the collaboration of the companies and organizations that generously authorized the exhibition of their films.