Revisitations in Modern and Contemporary Creative Media
Edited By Erica Segre
Dolores Tierney Residual Presences of the Revolution(ary Melodrama) in Mexico’s Filmmaking
Dolores Tierney Residual Presences of the Revolution(ary Melodrama) in Mexico’s Contemporary Transnational Filmmaking1 If we compare two characters, one from a classical Mexican film – Rogelio (Emilio Fernández) from Flor silvestre (Fernández, 1943) – and the other from a contemporary transnational Mexican film – Santiago (Gael García Bernal) from Babel (Alejandro González Iñárritu, 2006) – what is instantly noticeable are the qualities and visual attributes they share (see Figures 9.1 and 9.2). Rogelio and Santiago are violent and unpredictable characters who in addition are both visually characterized by large moustaches.2 They both conform to the Mexican ‘bandit’ type, established by Hollywood in the silent era, but incorporated into the vernacular of Mexican cinematic language in the 1940s.3 Drawing these two characters from very dif ferent eras in Mexican film production together is a less arbitrary act than it 1 I would like to thank both the editor of this volume and also Miriam Haddu for her insightful comments on this piece. 2 In Flor Silvestre Rogelio is the leader of a group of bandits who pillage the farm and kill the father of the protagonist José Luis (Pedro Armendáriz) while he is away fight- ing in the Revolution. When José Luis returns and hangs Rogelio’s brother Ursulo in retribution, Rogelio holds his wife Esperanza (Dolores del Río) and baby hostage until José Luis surrenders himself. He then executes José Luis in front of Esperanza. In Babel Santiago is the nephew of Amelia (Adriana Barraza), Mexican nanny...
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