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Latino roots run deep in film industry

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by Bailey Porter
LV Life Editor

Mexican cultural heritage is being explored through a film series at the Mexican Cultural Institute of Los Angeles; the series began Aug. 4 and will run until Oct. 19.

The film series covers cinema from Mexico’s Golden Era, the 1930s through the 1950s.

The films, which are in Spanish and do not have subtitles, focus on an audience of Spanish speakers from all Latin countries, said Susana Bautista, director of the Mexican Cultural Institute of Los Angeles.

“It is important to show [films] to create an awareness throughout the whole community,” she said.

Mexican cinema’s Golden Era is credited as the time when Mexican directors and actors began to be seriously recognized by Hollywood. The products of this span of 30 years can be seen in the series from renowned directors such as Julio Bracho and Ismael Rodriguez.

Since then, Mexico has become a major part in the international arena of film.

So it was appropriate for the institute to resurrect the films that were the basis for the Mexican cinema seen today.

Bautista said the film series offers people a way to remember the films that were so important in Mexico and dealt with many social issues.

The Golden Era films, having picked up after the Mexican Revolution that ended in 1921, dealt with subjects of the relationship between Mexico’s rich and poor and the government and the people.

Bautista said the series also helps people to remember that, “Mexican film does have a long tradition” and is not just a recent boom.

Admission for viewing is free, which is possible because the films are on loan from the Mexican Consulate.

Films are shown throughout the day Tuesday through Friday with an evening showing on Wednesday and an afternoon showing on Sunday. On selected Wednesday evenings, the Mexican Cultural Attaché, Alejandro Pelayo (former director of Mexico’s National Film Institute) leads with a discussion about the history of each film.

“There is always an audience,” Bautista said.

Following the closing of this series will be a new series called Contemporary Mexican Films. These films will have English subtitles.

Nevertheless, Bautista said, watching the Mexican Film Series is a great way to learn Spanish or just experience Mexican cinema because of the imagery and the easily followed dialogue.

For more information on the film series contact the Mexican Cultural Institute of Los Angeles at: (213) 624-3660.

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