Original version with subtitles
In 1933 Fernando de Fuentes began a trilogy of work about the Mexican Revolution that included El prisionero 13 (1933), El compadre Mendoza (1933) and Vámonos con Pancho Villa (1935). If 1933 was a year in which Mexican cinematic production exploded (twenty-one films were produced that year, as opposed to just one in 1931), it was also the year that de Fuentes, one of the most important filmmakers in Mexican cinema history, made his mark with this devastatingly critical take on the Mexican Revolution.
Influenced by Sergej Ejzenštejn – who began work on his fated production Que viva México! in 1931 – and by the aesthetics of German expressionism, El compadre Mendoza tells of the dispute between two Revolutionary factions, by way of the story of a landowner whose allegiance changes depending on who is in control in his village at any one time. The preceding film, El prisionero 13, was heavily censored by the government – who had the ending changed in an attempt to dilute the film’s brutal portrayal of the Revolution – while Vámonos con Pancho Villa was the most expensive film in Mexican history up until that time, with a staggering 1 million peso budget (around four times the average).
De Fuentes believed that Mexican cinema “ought to be a faithful reflection of our way of being, bleak and tragic” and, indeed, his trilogy of films, either taken as stand-alone works or as an homogenous whole, offers one of the most authentic explorations of the Revolution, and of the the social and moral devastation that it left behind; a devastation that deeply implicated the collective consciousness of Mexican society for generations to come.
Daniela Michel e Chlöe Roddick
Cast and Credits
Sog.: Juan Bustillo Oro, Mauricio Magdaleno. Scen.: Juan Bustillo Oro, Fernando de Fuentes. F.: Ross Fisher. M.: Fernando de Fuentes. Scgf.: Beleho. Mus.: Manuel Castro Padilla. Ass. regia: Juan Bustillo Oro. Int.: Alfredo del Diestro (Rosalío Mendoza), Carmen Guerrero (Dolores), Antonio R. Frausto (generale Felipe Nieto), Luis G. Barreiro (Atenógenes), Emma Roldán (María), José del Río (Felipe), Joaquín Busquets (colonnello Bernáldez), Abraham Galán (colonnello Martínez). Prod.: Rafael Ángel Frías, José Castellot Jr., Antonio Prida Santacilia per Interamericana Films. DCP. D.: 81′. Bn.
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