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Mexican Revolution Films of the 70s at Cine Las Americas

Cine Las Americas and the Harry Ransom Center Present:
Mexican Revolution Films of the 70s, May 6 - May 27, 2010

Cine Las Americas is pleased to announce the series "Mexican Revolution Films of 70s," co-presented with the Harry Ransom Center. This series will run from May 6 to May 27, as part of the year-round celebrations of the Bicentennial of the Mexican Independence and the Centennial of the Mexican Revolution.

"Mexican Revolution Films of 70s" includes four feature films directed by some of the most talented filmmakers who worked in Mexico during the first half of the 1970's, when film production flourished under the auspices of then president Luis Echeverría, who installed his own brother Rodolfo Echeverría as president of the Film Production Bank, and helped capitalize the production of relevant films and allowed a critical view of the Mexican Revolution and other national realities.

The directors included in this series are some of the most accomplished of their time, and their views on the Mexican Revolution helped create a fresh look at Mexico's recent history, going beyond the romanticism and glorification of popular heroes and characters of the revolution that was typical in the classic "Cine de Oro" films from the 1940's and 50's. The directors portray particular chapters and issues that were part of the complex reality of Mexico in the early twentieth century, which led to an armed conflict that changed the lives of the Mexican people, and sent ripples across Latin America and the rest of the world.

The screenings will take place every Thursday during the month of May at 7 PM. All films are in Spanish with English Subtitles.

Admission is Free.

May 6: El prinicipio (The Beginning, 1972) - Directed by Gonzalo Martínez Ortega

May 13: Cananea (1976) - Directed by Marcela Fernández Violante

May 20: La casta divina (The Divine Caste, 1976) - Directed by Julián Pastor

May 27: Cuartelazo (Mutiny, 1976) - Directed by Alberto Isaac

Download Pictures of the films here:

El prinicipio
The Beginning
Directed by Gonzalo Martínez Ortega
Mexico, Drama, 1972
148 min, Color

Cast: Fernando Balzareti, Narciso Busquets, Sergio Bustamante, Andrés García, Patricia Aspíllaga, Aurora Clavel

Mexico is in the midst of Revolution when the protagonist returns after studying in Paris to find his native town in Chihuahua occupied by Francisco Villa's revolutionary forces. He visits his deserted home and remembers people and events from his adolescence that provide glimpses of pre-Revolutionary society under dictatorship: his uncle, the chief of police; his sister's involvement with a liberal political association; bathing with the girls from a local brothel; a labor strike that ended in a massacre. Returning to the present he discovers that his father has been assassinated and, in the company of his father's former servant, joins the revolutionary movement.

Gonzalo Martínez Ortega was born in Ciudad Camargo, Chihuahua in 1934. Martínez Ortega studied theater with Seki Sano and acting with Carlos Ancira, before embarking to the ex-USSR in 1969 to study film at VGIK in Moscow. Upon his return to Mexico, he worked as screenwriter and assistant director in various productions, and began producing historical TV series.
His first work as director was in the segment Tú (You), which was part of the 1970 trilogy of short films Tú, Yo, Nosotros (You, Me, Them), in collaboration with directors Juan Manuel Martínez and Jorge Fons. His first feature film, El principio (The Beginning, 1972), won the Mexican Academy Award for Best Film, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay. After directing the film El hombre de mandolina (1982), he moved on to a prolific career as a television producer, writer and director. Gonzalo Martínez Ortega died in June of 1998 in Mexico City.


Directed by Marcela Fernández Violante
Mexico, Drama, 1976
120 min, Color

Cast: Yolanda Cianii, Carlos Bracho, Milton Rodrígues, José Carlos Ruiz, Steve Wilensky, Victor Alcocer, Felipe Casanova, Beatriz Sheridan

Colonel William Greene, in an expedition across the Sonoran desert, stumbles upon large copper reserves. Almost immediately he decides to set up mines and he quickly becomes one of the wealthiest men in the region. His ambition however, leads him to mistreat and exploit the men working in the mines. Their reaction and decision to strike eventually sets off one of the bloodiest chapters in Mexican history and triggers the Mexican Revolution.

Marcela Fernández Violante was born in Mexico City in 1941. She studied literature and drama at the National University of Mexico (UNAM), and screenwriting and direction at the Centro Universitario de Estudios Cinematográficos (CUEC). After directing award winning short films, including one of the first attempts at presenting the life of Frida Khalo in film (Frida Kahlo, 1970), Fernández Violante made her first feature film, De todos modos Juan te llamas (1974), a critique of the religious wars in the post-revolutionary Mexico, which won awards for Best First Feature. Her film Cananea (1976), won an Ariel for Best Cinematography, featuring a unique collaboration between the director and the great cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa. Other films directed by her include Misterio (1979), winner of nine Arieles, and Nocturno amor que te vas (1986).
Marcela Fernández Violante is recognized both for her work as a director as well as for her contribution as a researcher. She is currently the Secretary General of the film industry workers union in Mexico (STPC) and a committee member of SOGEM, the Mexican Writers Association.

La casta divina
The Divine Caste
Directed byJulián Pastor
Mexico, Drama, 1976
110 min, Color

Cast: Ignacio López Tarso, Ana Luisa Peluffo, Pedro Armendáriz, Jr., Tina Romero

La casta divina is a chronicle of the "caste wars" that took place in Yucatan during the nineteenth century, where the land and the people were the property of the hacendados (landowners and masters), who considered themselves the "divine race." While General Salvador Alvarado organized the revolution upraise, the hacendados sponsored Colonel Ortiz Argumedo to defend their autonomy, and Don Wilfrido, one of the hacendados, did not hesitate in sending his own son to fight in the struggle to preserve their riches.

Julián Pastor has worked as a film and television director, actor, set designer, writer, and teacher. He was born in 1943 in Mexico City, the son of Spanish immigrants. He studied drawing, painting and set design, and architecture at the National University of Mexico (UNAM), a career path that he eventually abandoned to devote himself to filmmaking and art. He studied film at the University of Southern California and acting with Seki Sano, Hector Mendoza and Juan José Gurrola, which led to a long career with over 60 films as an actor which continues to this day.
His first film as director was La Justicia Tiene Doce Años in 1970. Other significant works include La venida del Rey Olmos (1975), El esperado amor desesperado (1976), La casta divina (1977), Los pequeños privilegios (1978), and Estas ruinas que ves (1979), based on the novel by Jorge Ibargüengoitia.

Directed by Alberto Isaac
Mexico, Drama, 1976
117 min, Black & White

Cast: Héctor Ortega, Bruno Rey, Arturo Beristáin, Alejandro Parodi, Delia Casanova

Cuartelazo recreates one of the most violent episodes of Mexico's history, ignited by General Victoriano Huerta's mandate to assasinate president Francisco Madero. Belisario Domínguez, a doctor and an alternate senator from Chiapas, is elevated to the senate after the death of Madero, and Victoriano Huerta seizes control of the government from Madero, who is arrested and later murdered. Huerta's totalitarian rule leads Domínguez and other representatives to protest against Huerta's dictatorship, setting off another chain of events that test the will and success of the leaders fighting for a more democratic Mexico.

Alberto Isaac was born in 1923 in Mexico City. He studied to be a teacher before becoming a sports journalist and entertainment editor for several national newspapers. He was also a champion swimmer, and participated in the 1952 Olympic games in London. In 1964 he began his career in film directing his first feature En este pueblo no hay ladrones, for which he won the award for Best Foreign Film at the Locarno International Film Festival in 1965.
In the following years, Isaac made documentaries such as La Olimpiada en México (1969) and The World at Their Feet (1970), but his more prolific time as a director was during the presidency of Luis Echeverría. During this period he directed what is considered to be one of his best fims, Los días del amor (1972), as well as Tivoli (1975), Cuartelazo (1977) and Las noches de Paloma (1978).
The last two decades of the century brought national and international recognition for Isaac, with films like Mariana, Mariana (1987) and Mujeres Insumisas (1995). He died in 1998.

This series is co-presented with the Harry Ransom Center, and co-sponsored by the Consulate General of Mexico in Austin, Univision Austin, ¡Ahora Sí!, and the Mexican Film Institute (IMCINE).


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