“Inflamed gaze, mouth of fire, everything raises in Ninón(…) as with other many shot arrows, she is a slanted defiance to the bourgeois morale, the christian.”
There is not a study that establishes which are the Mexican film genres; wikipedia mentions only two: the wrestlers and the rumberas (dancers of Afro-Caribbean musical rhythms.) A limiting definition that eliminates a group of works whose definition fits that of the Real Academia Española: “in the arts...each one of the different categories or classes in which the works can be organized by their content and common features,” in this way, we would also have the revolution’s cinema, the cinema of Porfirian nostalgia, and the melodrama...
In mexican cinema the most popular genres have several links: 1) a north american genre is its reference, 2) the mexican version is always combined with other genres in such a way that a hybrid occurs, and 3) each genres’ actors are very specific before the nort american star system where the actor could play characters far from their previous trajectory, for instance, Humphrey Bogart in The Barefoot Contessa.
Throughout the 30’s music becomes one of the attractions to capture the public interest. The visionary Juan Orol is the first to think that the presence of a cuban ballerina (Maria Antonieta Pons) and the caribbeean music -in the context of melodrama- would work well in the mexican box office; even though Siboney (1938) only lasted a week at the Politeama, the actress is deserving of these lines by Emilio García Riera: “The first of its caribbeean muses, the shifty and exuberant rumbera”. The genre flourishes with the development of the nocturnal scene of Mexico City and from 1946 with the arrival of Ninón Sevilla whose first work is Carita del cielo; this is how the genre matured. It is an honor to contribute to the restoration of Carita de cielo directed by Pete Conheim.
The rumberas who stand out are Maria Antonieta Pons, Meche Barba, Amalia Aguilar, Ninón Sevilla and Rosa Carmina. In its moment Francois Truffaut writes “inflamed gaze, mouth of fire, everything raises in Ninón (the forehead, the eyelashes, the nose, the upper lip, the throat, the tone)... as with other many shot arrows, she is a slanted defiance to the bourgeois morale, the christian.”
FICG’s Cinematheque of the University of Guadalajara, begins its vocation of film archive with the celebration of this cycle and thanks the support of the National Cinematheque, UNAM’s Film Archive, Permanencia Voluntaria Archivo Cinematográfico, Televisa, Olympusat and AMCO.
Gerardo Salcedo Romero