MoMA presents a sampling of one of Mexico’s richest genres, the ciné negro or film noir. Of all the great national, popular cinemas that prospered in the 20th century, the one that remains least well known to American audiences is, paradoxically, the one that originated closest to Hollywood. The Mexican cinema’s época de oro extended from the mid-1930s to the early 1960s, when Mexican films dominated Latin America and made significant inroads into Spanish-speaking communities in the U.S.
A couple highlights:
La Noche avanza (Night Falls), 1952
his Gavaldón classic suggests that what the boxing world is to the American film noir, the high-speed game of pelota (jai alai to American tourists) is to its Mexican cousin. Pedro Armendáriz, Mexico’s great romantic lead, plays against type as an arrogant pelotari who seduces and discards women at will, until he becomes the target of a cunning revenge plot. He meets his fate in a final image that is as quintessentially noir as it is inconceivable in an American film.
Que Dios me perdone (May God Forgive Me), 1948
María Félix stars as a dark lady with a dark past who appears in neon-lit, spy-infested Mexico City at the height of World War II; betrayal and death are not far behind. The film’s most memorable sequence is a languid double murder, accompanied by Félix’s performance of a swooning love song.
New York: July 23 - 29 at MoMA - click here for their full lineup and screening details.