The Mexican cinema was introduced to Europe in 1946 at Cannes with Maria Candelaria, which has since come to be considered “the classic and most memorable of all Mexican films” (B. Rayes Nevares, The Mexican Cinema). Director Emilio Fernandez (“El Indio”) contributed much to the creative period Mexico saw in the forties with films like Flor Sylvestre, Perla and Enamorada—“a series of major national portraits,” writes historian Georges Sadoul, “like the murals of Diego Rivera and Siqueiros, reflecting both the Spanish and Indian traditions and a certain popular taste for melodrama.” Dolores del Rio began a renewed career with Maria Candelaria, the poignant story of a young girl who is mercilessly persecuted by her townspeople, first for the misconduct of her mother, and then for that which the villagers attribute to her. Pedro Armendariz stars as the peasant boy who tries to save her. The film is set against the backdrop of Xochimilco, near Mexico City, with its floating gardens and indiginous music. —BAM/PFA
If he did not already exist, it would be necessary to invent Emilio “El Indio” Fernández. His manneristic visual style, his folkloric themes and characters, and his distinctively Indian physiognomy made him an integral element of Mexico’s culture of nationalism, as well as the nation’s best-known director. Fleeing Mexico after the defeat of his faction in the rebellion of 1923, Fernández ended up digging ditches in Hollywood. As has been the case with so many Latin American artists and intellectuals, Fernández discovered his fatherland by leaving it: “I understood that it was possible to create a Mexican cinema, with our own actors and our own stories. . . . From then on the cinema became a passion with me, and I began to dream of Mexican films.” Making Mexican cinema became Fernández’s obsession and, as is so often true of cultural nationalism, a short-term gain was to turn into a long-term dead end.
Perhaps that which most distinguishes Fernández’s films is their strikingly… read more
Para bien o para mal, este recuento de los tragicos amores entre la sufrida pareja de Maria Candelaria y Lorenzo Rafael, es quizá la pelicula mexicana más conocida en el extranjero. Nadie puede negarle su estatus como un clasico de la cinematografia nacional, su gran belleza visual (gracias al extraordinario trabajo de Gabriel Figueroa) ni el estupendo desempeño del reparto. Ahora que, mirandole desde un agudo punto de vista critico e ideologico, ya es otro boleto: como en la practica totalidad del cine de Emilio Fernandez, a algunos espectadores pueden incomodarles el hieratismo caracteristico del director, la misoginia exacerbada y las lacrimogenas salidas faciles del guión. Por otra parte, seria interesante conocer la opinión de algun habitante actual de la delegación Milpa Alta, acerca de la visión que mostró de ellos el realizador en 1944, como unos pinches indios cerrados, montoneros y asesinos.