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Screening Neoliberalism

Transforming Mexican Cinema, 1988-2012

Ignacio Sanchez Prado

Publication Year: 2014

Cavernous, often cold, always dark, with the lingering smell of popcorn in the air: the experience of movie-going is universal. The cinematic experience in Mexico is no less profound, and has evolved in complex ways in recent years. Films like Y Tu Mama Tambien, El Mariachi, Amores Perros, and the work of icons like Guillermo del Toro and Salma Hayek represent much more than resurgent interest in the cinema of Mexico. In Screening Neoliberalism, Ignacio Sanchez Prado explores precisely what happened to Mexico's film industry in recent decades. Far from just a history of the period, Screening Neoliberalism explores four deep transformations in the Mexican film industry: the decline of nationalism, the new focus on middle-class audiences, the redefinition of political cinema, and the impact of globalization. This analysis considers the directors and films that have found international notoriety as well as those that have been instrumental in building a domestic market. Screening Neoliberalism exposes the consequences of a film industry forced to find new audiences in Mexico's middle-class in order to achieve economic and cultural viability.

Published by: Vanderbilt University Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. vii-viii

Writing a book about Mexican cinema means being in a state of dialogue and exchange with two wonderful scholarly communities: Mexicanists and Latin American film specialists. This book has benefited from constant conversations with members of both groups. At the expense of possibly forgetting someone...

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Introduction: The Reinvention of Mexican Cinema

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pp. 1-14

Going to the movies in Mexico City in the mid-to-late-1980s was a unique— and uniquely surreal—experience. Most film theaters at the time were part of a State-owned conglomerate named Compañía Operadora de Teatros S. A. (COTSA), largely made up of huge single-screen venues scattered all over the...

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1. Nationalism Eroded: Mexican Cinema in Times of Crisis

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pp. 15-61

When one considers both the economic crisis in cinematic production and distribution and the heavy constraints suffered by Mexican film language in the late 1980s, the commercial success of Alfonso Arau’s 1992 film Como agua para chocolate is surprising, even more than twenty years later. Showing for the most...

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2. Publicists in Love: Romantic Comedy, Cinema Privatization, and the Aesthetics of the Middle Class

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pp. 62-104

In Modern Love, David Shumway illustrates the cultural prevalence of the emotion by studying the different ways in which “love stories permeate our lives” (2). Shumway extensively demonstrates how the evolution of these stories in literature and cinema has an important impact on the values and practices...

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3. The Neoliberal Gaze: Reframing Politics in the “Democratic Transition”

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pp. 105-154

One of the most discussed and perhaps most important functions of cinema within a nation and its civil society resides in its role in shaping and reshaping the discursive and visual boundaries of political discourse. In the late 1980s, as Mexico entered the early stages of its “democratic transition,” Jorge Fons’s...

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4. The Three Amigos and the Lone Ranger: Mexican “Global Auteurs” on the National Stage

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pp. 155-208

Of the many iconic moments of Mexican cinema in the past twenty years, the one that best represents the arriving point of all the processes I have been describing took place on the December 20, 2006, broadcast of the Charlie Rose show. During this episode, Rose interviewed Guillermo del Toro, Alejandro...

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Conclusion: Mexican Cinema after Neoliberalism

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pp. 209-226

Going to the movies in Mexico at the beginning of the second decade of the twenty-first century constitutes an experience far different from the one I narrated in the introduction to this book. When I was in Guadalajara in the summer of 2011, I had the opportunity to see the last installment of the...


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pp. 227-248


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pp. 249-280


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pp. 281-291

E-ISBN-13: 9780826519672
E-ISBN-10: 0826519679

Publication Year: 2014