Original version with subtitles
After making two of the most important films noir in Mexican cinema history (En la palma de tu mano in 1951 and The Night Falls in 1952) Roberto Gavaldón, who earned his stripes working as an extra and assistant director in Hollywood, changed course slightly to make the exceptional rural drama El rebozo de Soledad. The film tells the story of honest Doctor Alberto Robles, who must choose between a life of luxury in the rapidly-modernizing Mexico City, or the continuation of his work treating the poor inhabitants of a rural village. Directors like Gavaldón – who was nicknamed ‘the ogre’ for his domineering personality – and Julio Bracho, made films that, unlike the work of Emilio Fernández, were critical of the Revolution. El rebozo de Soledad, for example, is at once a celebration of traditional Mexican values – of the intrinsic value of the indigenous – an exploration of the growing gap between city and country spaces (the modern/urban vs. the traditional/rural) and a critique of the violence and corruption that still abounded in poor, rural areas that were supposed to have benefitted from the Revolution, but whose inhabitants were still subject to the cruelty of local landowners and ‘caciques’ (bosses).
With stellar performances from some of the most important stars of the Golden Age – Arturo de Córdova, Pedro Armendáriz, Domingo Soler and the largely forgotten actress Stella Inda (who also starred in Buñuel’s Los olvidados) – as well as photography from Gabriel Figueroa and a script co-written by leftist writer José Revueltas (writer of some of the country’s best films noirs and a crime reporter for Mexican newspapers), the film is a vigorous and moving drama, featuring special effects so advanced that some of the medical scenes are still shocking to this day.
Daniela Michel e Chlöe Roddick
Cast and Credits
Sog.: dal romanzo omonimo di Javier López Ferrer. Scen.: Roberto Gavaldón, José Revueltas. F.: Gabriel Figueroa. M.: Charles L. Kimball. Scgf.: Salvador Lozano Mena. Mus.: Francisco Domínguez, Evaristo Tafoya. Int.: Arturo de Córdova (Dr. Alberto Robles), Pedro Armendáriz (Roque Suazo), Stella Inda (Soledad Anaya), Domingo Soler (padre Juan), Carlos López Moctezuma (David Acosta), Jaime Fernández (Mauro), Gilberto González (Delfino Ruiz), Rogelio Fernández (lo sposo). Prod.: Cinematográfica Televoz, Miguel Alemán Velasco, Sindicato de Trabajadores de la Producción Cinematográfica de la República Mexicana. DCP. D.: 114’. Bn.
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EL COMPADRE MENDOZA
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la curatrice della rassegna Daniela Michel e Olivia Harrison (The Material World Foundation)