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Mexican Films Shot in Michoacán

More than 100 years ago —on June 3, 1905 to be exact— Carlos Mongrand made the “sight” that some sources titled Ceremonia al pie del monumento del mártir de la patria Melchor Ocampo en Morelia, which was premiered at the Teatro Melchor Ocampo located in the Center of Morelia, Michoacán. Since then, the state has been the birthplace of great actors, actresses and filmmakers who, inspired by the beauty and diversity of the locations, have immortalized its landscapes and cultural richness in Mexican cinema classics.

For this reason, we present a list of films shot in Michoacán.

Janitzio, by Carlos Navarro (1934)

Janitzio (1934, dir. Carlos Navarro)

It was the first film shot in Michoacán and was starred by Emilio “El Indio” Fernández, outstanding director, actor and producer of the Golden Age of Mexican cinema, with a filmography that adds about 129 films.

¡Qué lindo es Michoacán!, by Ismael Rodríguez (1942)

¡Qué lindo es Michoacán! (1942, dir. Ismael Rodríguez)

Mexican film of the Golden Age that honors the state of Michoacán, starring Tito Guisar and Gloria Marín.

After the success that ¡Ay Jalisco, no te rajes! (1941, dir. Joselito Rodríguez) had throughout the American continent, several productions, such as this, which highlighted provincial themes, were shot honoring various regions of Mexico.

¡Qué bonito es Michoacán! tells the story of Gloria, who after the death of her father, leaves the capital to take over her lands in Michoacán in the company of her cook Gastón. Upon arrival, her car breaks down and the only one who offers help is Ernesto Morales, owner of a sawmill and eternal enemy of the girl.


Maclovia, by Emilio Fernández (1948)

Maclovia (1948), dir. Emilio “El Indio” Fernández

Maclovia (1948, dir. Emilio Fernández)

Known in some countries as Belleza maldita, it was shot in Michoacán. The story takes place in a Tarascan community where the boss’s daughter falls in love and her father strongly opposes to that relationship. Starring María Félix and Pedro Armendáriz.

The film was acclaimed at the Venice Film Festival in 1949. That same year, Columba Domínguez won an Ariel for Best Female Co-Acting and Arturo Soto Rangel another for Best Male Picture Role. In addition, the National Committee of Cinematographic Technicians of Belgium awarded the prize of honor to Mexican technicians for this film.

El brazo fuerte, by Giovanni Korporaal (1958)

El brazo fuerte de Giovanni Korporaal, 1958

El brazo fuerte (1958, dir. Giovanni Korporaal)

Controversial film and banned for talking about abuse of power and corruption. Tells the story of Agileo, a government employee who builds a road in a town. At first the villagers despise him, but a letter from the government makes them believe that he is an influential character and they begin to treat him well. The cacique lets him marry his daughter and when he dies Agileo inherits his position. After years of abusing power, Agileo dies, and among his belongings they find that letter from the government, which was nothing more than an order of dismissal for incompetence.

The excuse to avoid its diffusion was that it was a “pirate” movie, that is, carried out independently and outside the union rules. However, it wasn’t its embodiment that prevented its dissemination. The authorities were the ones who prevented it, because the film touched aspects of Mexican social reality such as abuse of power and the mismanagement of the electoral system.

It was filmed in Erongarícuaro, Michoacán, and is considered a pioneer of independent Mexican cinema.

Nuevo Mundo, by Gabriel Retes (1978)

The film was banned for 20 years because in the film, the myth of Guadalupe Virgin was presented as an invention of the Spaniards to subdue the Indians. Gabriel Retes shows a Jesuit priest who invents the presence of a virgin who asks for reconciliation between conquerors and conquered, thus becoming a symbol of the unity of the people.

Nuevo Mundo was produced by Conacine and the Union of Workers of Cinematographic Production (STPC). It cost more than one million 250 dollars and according to Retes, it was placed as the movie with the most budget in the history of Mexican cinema until that moment.

Gertrudis Bocanegra, by Ernesto Medina Torres (1992)

Gertrudis Bocanegra de Ernesto Medina Torres, 1992

Gertrudis Bocanegra (1992, dir. Ernesto Medina Torres)

In the New Spain of the eighteenth century, born the Creole Gertrudis Bocanegra, who since her childhood was aware of the injustices done to the Indians and was willing to fight to the end. The film was filmed in Pátzcuaro, Michoacán.

Eréndira la indomable, by Juan Mora (2006)


Eréndira la indomable (2006, dir. Juan Mora)

This is the legend of Erendira, a young Indian woman who stole a horse from the Spanish conquistadors and rode it in the war in defense of the rights of the Purépecha Indians. The film was acted by people from the community and spoken in Purepecha.