Mexican Films from 1936 to Today

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  • Topic: Film, Cinema of Mexico, Mexico
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  • Published : November 15, 2010
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What impact did early Mexican film directors have on Mexican society from 1936 to present? Socially, politically, intellectually, economically, to what extent do Mexican film directors create the images that come to be held by the masses? 

About the Mexican Film Industry:
The history of Mexican Films dates back to the ending of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. Most of the films were made to mark the historical news and events, such as the ‘Mexican Revolution’. Mexico has been a Spaniard colony for more than 300 years. In the 1930’s when the Mexican Film industry took a boom, the leading actors were mostly from the Spanish-Hollywood. In 1936, Mexico had its first color film, by the name of ‘Novillero’. However, the Golden Age of the Mexican Film Industry began in the 1940’s. In this era the Mexican Film Industry directed 70 films, out of which some one even received an award in the year’s Cannes Film Festival. During the 1960’s and the 1980’s, the Mexican film Industry broadened its genres. They started making action movies, movies on cult, horror and sexicomedias too were produced. 1990’s is said to be the Era of the Nueva Cinema Mexicano, or New Mexican Cinema. With the success of a number of award winning movies internationally, a ‘new wave’ or ‘renaissance’ is said to buzz in the Mexican Film Industry this era. By the 20th century Mexican directors have made absolutely implausible movies, such that they have actually started getting nominations for their movies in the Oscars (most prominent Award Ceremony of the world). In 2007, films of three Mexican directors received 16 Oscar nominations. The Mexican Industry is getting immense exposure, but the directors and actors are leaving, to represent their talent internationally, such as in the Europe and America.

What Culture do the Mexican movies represent?
Mexico’s current position of leadership can be seen as an achievement due to the Mexican cinema. Mexican cinema has experienced ‘Cultural Imperialism’, which is the practice of promoting a more powerful culture over a least know or desirable culture. In the early 1930’s decades after the ‘Mexican Revolution’, Mexico started emerging as a normal city. With the working class working and bureaucracy giving rise to a new sort of middleclass. This was what the movies in this era were based on. Directors showed the upheavals and the emergence of the Mexican society through their works. A movie is supposed to reflect the culture of a society and serve as a gauge to represent what is the appropriate behavior. But in late 1930’s when the Mexican directors portrayed the behavior of gays and lesbians in their movies, there was a sea change in the attitudes of people. Previously gays and lesbians were taken as objects of scorn and ridicule. Arturo Ripstein was the first director who showed a gay as a sympathetic figure in a drama ‘The Place without Limits’ in 1978. Movies that were directed in the 90’s were mostly adaptations. They focused on the analogies between the American South and Mexico. Firstly there is an assumption that the campesino’s- the farmers in Spanish, share a lot in the post-revolutionary Mexico share historical events with African Americans in the post-abolition South. The Mexican cinema almost died at the time of the revolution. It was so because people started giving more importance to the movement. Many of the revolutionaries have however been preserved, due to the sheer efforts of the photographers. It was because of these photographers only that the film industry took a rebirth. After the 1930’s, the focus of all directors was mainly on the revolution. It was so, so that the people would not forget about the 300 years of Spaniard colonies. After the revolution, the Mexican cinema that was being structured was in search of the nationalist values. The cinema was further promoting native values appeared with strength. The whole purpose of promoting these values was political. It...
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