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June 1994


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
"Ana M. Lopez" <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 17 Jun 1994 15:46:22 CST
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Gene Stavis,
Actually I didn't cite *one* documentary but an entire film-making
*movement* that emerged in Mexico as a result of the cataclysmic social and
political changes engendered by the Revolution of 1910 .  Yes, at the time these
films were not called "documentaries," but the work of Mexican
film-makers (such as the Alva brothers, Enrique Rosas, Jesus Abitia, and
Salvador Toscano) was also far more extensive and complex than the Lumiere
"actualities" or the Edison "views."  Aurelio de los Reyes has published
two books on the Mexican silent cinema (in Mexico) and has an essay dealing
extensively with these films in Pablo Antonio Paranagua, ed., *Cinema
Mexicain*  (Paris: Centre Georges Pompidou, 1993) which will be published
in English by the British Film Institute in 1995.  Yes, the Lumiere
cameramen produced the "first" images of Mexico precisely for the reasons
you cite, but that was back in August 1896.  By 1910-11, the Mexican silent
cinema already had a long and complex history of national
production.  The films of the Revolution are significant not only because of
their socio-political connections, but also because these filmmakers develop
a unique form (before the institutionalization of newsreels and well before
their arrival in Mexico) and expository style to chronicle the complicated
events of the Mexican revolution and its many "characters." These were *not*
random views, but full fledged "films."
Ana Lopez
Tulane University