A stylish film noir with allegorical intent, A New Dawn encapsulates the tensions of its time between conservatism and a renewal of revolutionary ideals. “It was the first Mexican motion picture to focus upon life as a phenomenon in which two forces come together: love and solidarity” (Salvador Elizondo). Andrea Palma’s Julieta is a cabaret singer who re-connects with an old lover and fellow activist from their university days, Octavio (Pedro Armendáriz), now a labor organizer. Octavio enlists Julia’s help in finding stolen documents which will indict a corrupt governor in the murder of a union leader. After a night of intrigue, in reverse-Casablanca mode she must choose between activist Octavio and her disenchanted husband. One of the most distinguished films of a great year for Mexican cinema, 1943, A New Dawn couches its polemics in the policier style, a look at the urban side of cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa. —BAM/PFA
Made during the beginning of the Mexican Golden Age, it's one of the first great Mexican films; a combination of genres, some distinctly Mexican like the Cabaretera, but also film noir and social drama that gives of vibes of Casablanca. Figueroa's on-location shooting in Mexico City is incredible. The story itself is good. It could have been a bit more concise, but as it nears the end, everything wraps up nicely.
I had the good fortune of seeing this film last year. What a pleasant surprise it was too. Don't let the above synopsis fool you, Figueroa's cinematography combined with the film's trajectory has this playing like a well-crafted film noir. Now if I could just get hold of it on DVD.