Constructing the Image of the Mexican Revolution
Cinema and the Archive
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: University of Texas Press
Research funding and academic leave to prepare the manuscript was made possible by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and the Marston Lafrance Fellowship of Carleton University. SSHRC’s financial support enabled me to disseminate the preliminary results of the work done on this project in Mexico, Canada, and...
Introduction: Visualizing and Romancing the Revolution
This book is an investigation of the ways in which the cinema participated in the visual constructions of the Mexican Revolution and the processes that shaped and contributed to the dissemination of these constructions on film since the 1930s in Mexico and internationally. It highlights the convergence between film and other visual media, including photography, painting, and graphic arts, to explain the significance of ...
Chapter 1. The Revolution as Media Event: Documentary Image and the Archive
Mexican revolutionary leaders granted access and integrated photographers and cameramen into their armies to record the campaigns. This access implied, as the advertisements for The Fall of Ciudad Juárez and Trip of the Revolutionary Hero Francisco I. Madero stated, that the images produced thereby “were the only authentic ones” (Miquel, 1997, 58). Whether or not these claims of authenticity were simply a publicity device, ...
Chapter 2. Historicity and the Archive: Reconstruction and Appropriation
Photographers and cameramen became the earliest historiographers of what Americans called the Mexican war. Alongside diplomats, politicians, and journalists, the art historian and curator James Oles writes, “they would participate in the visual reduction of an amazingly complex historical scenario—marked and obscured by shifting alliances, by trainloads of misinformation created by all sides, and by a wide range ...
Chapter 3. Pancho Villa on Two Sides of the Border
In The Eagle and the Serpent (1928), Martín Luis Guzmán writes, “My interest in Villa and his activities made me ask myself, while I was in Ciudad Juárez, which exploits would best paint the Division of the North: those supposed to be strictly historical or those rated as legendary; those related exactly as they had been seen, or those in which a touch of poetic fancy brought out their essence more clearly. These second always seemed ...
Chapter 4. Avant-Garde Gestures and Nationalist Images of Mexico in Eisenstein’s Unfinished Project
On December 6 or 7, 1930, the Soviet filmmaker Sergei M. Eisenstein crossed the border from California into Mexico by train accompanied by Grigori Alexandrov and Eduard Tiss
Chapter 5. Reconfiguring the Revolution: Celebrity and Melodrama
The golden age of Mexican cinema (1935–1950) coincides with the consolidation of the revolution that began with the election of Lázaro Cárdenas (1934–1940) and extended into the presidencies of Manuel Ávila Camacho (1940–1946) and Miguel Alemán (1946–1952.)1 An important feature of this process was a redefined relationship between state and culture that consisted in the elaboration of policies aimed at...
Chapter 6. The Aesthetics of Spectacle
In the era of economic prosperity and development historians have termed the “Mexican miracle” (1940–1968), the state promoted history as a heritage and marketed culture and identity as a commodity. “The post-1950 period,” Eric Zolov writes, “was the culminating moment in the refashioning of Mexican stereotypes of backwardness and danger” (2001, 235). In the process, cosmopolitan-folkloric discourses regained currency. ...
Chapter 7. Competing Narratives and Converging Visions
In fall 1913, coverage of events in Mexico increased in the United States, with special attention to Pancho Villa and his Chihuahua campaign. As Mark Cronlund Anderson notes, the media’s fascination was due to the leader’s military deeds and the success of his agents in promoting his agenda (2000, 47). Journalists traveled to the border to report on the fighting between revolutionary troops and the Federal army. Among ...
Conclusion: Thoughts on Working with the Archive
Beyond any clichés summoned by films using as a visual and narrative backdrop the events that took place and the actors who participated in Mexico during the period 1910–1917, the revolution was a defining historical moment. It has shaped the modern identity of the country for Mexicans and foreigners alike and has informed to this day the ideology of Mexican nationalism, even as modernist concepts of nationhood are being ...
Page Count: 265
Illustrations: 65 b&w photos
Publication Year: 2010
OCLC Number: 560680598
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