This article recounts the astonishing success of Mexican Golden Age film in Yugoslavia in the early 1950s through a case study of the reception of Emilio "el Indio" Fernández's Un día de vida, noting that globalization's most unexpected south-to-south flows have been in place since the earliest years of the cultural industries' establishment in the Global South, in many ways laying the groundwork for the greater triumphs of the contemporary telenovela industries throughout the Global South. Yugoslavians' embrace of Mexican melodrama and mariachis goes unnoticed in the world at large because it reflects a kind of cultural impact that bypasses the metropolis. It is neither an act of imperialism nor colonization, nor homogenization, nor cultural submission. It is instead an example of an unexpected south-south affinity, an improvised "politics of interculturality" (García Canclini): the importation in a moment of great political tensions of cultural forms that were utterly unthreatening as they were distantly removed from the reality of cold war Yugoslavia in both space and time. Yugoslavians, living in the shadow of the Soviet Union, enjoyed having a good cry alongside the Mexicans, about whom they knew little except that they had experienced a splendid but painful revolution while themselves living in the shadow of the United States.


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pp. 151-166
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