Movie Diary 6/22/2015

Macario (Robert Gavaldón, 1960). A starving peasant is given the power to cure the sick – a set-up with the weight of an age-old folk tale but with a wry humor as well. It’s actually based on a story by mystery man B. Traven, of Treasure of the Sierra Madre fame. The leading lady is Pina Pellicer, who starred opposite Brando in One Eyed Jacks. The Day of the Dead imagery is zestfully photographed by Gabriel Figueroa, who is more in his moody-interior mode here than the sunlight-through-backlit-clouds mode. It was nominated for the Foreign Language Oscar, but didn’t win – understandable against The Virgin Spring, but this is a marvelous film in its own right.. Showed as part of a Mexican cinema emphasis at the Edinburgh Film Festival.

Güeros (Alonso Ruizpalacios, 2014). Two Mexican films in the same day – both in black and white, and both shot in Academy ratio. The similarities leave off there. This one is about slackerish Mexico City youths who try to avoid getting involved in a student strike in 1999. The film’s full of jokes and intentional dead ends and a few fourth-wall-breaking gimmicks, but somehow it works. (full review 6/26)

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