By Susan Dever
Celluloid Nationalism and different Melodramas appears at illustration and uprising in occasions of nationwide uncertainty. relocating from mid-century Mexican cinema to fresh motion pictures staged in l. a. and Mexico urban, Susan Dever analyzes melodrama’s double functionality as a style and as a sensibility, revealing coincidences among motion picture morals and political pieties within the civic-minded movies of Emilio Fernández, Matilde Landeta, Allison Anders, and Marcela Fernández Violante. those filmmakers’ rationally and emotionally engaged cinema—offering representations of indigenous peoples and terrible city girls who alternately recommended "civilizing" initiatives and voiced resistance to such totalization—both interrupts and sustains fictions of nationwide coherence in an more and more transnational international.
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Additional resources for Celluloid Nationalism and Other Melodramas: From Post-Revolutionary Mexico to Fin De Siglo Mexamerica
Her religious parables and moral fables gave him another vision of Mexico. His narration of that vision, as literary critic Sylvia Molloy points out, is at once “the story of the hero’s quest for . . a national revolutionary identity” and “no less the story of another quest, sexual in nature, conducted through an impassioned, at times disturbingly intimate bonding with the mother. . ”37 But if the Creole Ulysses’s Oedipal journey is indeed remarkable (one only has to read his dripping drama of his mother’s last few days—and nights—before she left him to his glory in the capital and returned to Piedras Negras),38 the account of his sexualized political trajectory is all the more so.
Departing from the kind of ethnographic melodrama Landeta employed in Lola Casanova, in Mi vida loca Anders extends the genre’s capacity to witness and fictionalize by inviting—both literally and through her aesthetic choices—the objects of her study to participate as speaking subjects of their own narratives. I see Anders 38 CELLULOID NATIONALISM AND OTHER MELODRAMAS herself as a participant ethnographer, and discuss details of her decade spent living in the community she dramatizes on film. Without coming to the same conclusions as did a few of the film’s contemporary, professional critics, I also ask “what a white girl is doing in a brown girls’ film” and come up with answers that relate Anders’s class affiliations and her communitarian spirit with a film that has refreshingly responded to these questions.
By 1926, about two years after Vasconcelos found himself painted into a corner, a twenty-two-year-old Fernández was being prompted to learn about film so that he could help initiate a national cinema. 58 According to the director, the two compatriots found themselves in Los Angeles where the inspiring conversation took place. S. 59 The tale, as related by Fernández in interviews beginning in 1970,60 bears repetition less for its truth value than for its character as an explanatory fiction. Telling a succession of interviewers of his alleged exploits became simply El Indio’s way of inventing new moral fables.
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