Thursday, February 26, 2009

RESPONSE TO LAUREN MUELLER

I actually felt that the scene of the women combing their hair wasn't eroticized. I felt that the camera wanted to depict a closeness to nature and basic man. If you see Concepcion and her betrothed, he is looking at her face, not her breasts or what would be expceted for it to be erotic. I was quite hit by that scene, actually, because they looked so wholesome and innocent. It was quite edenic to me, them topless in nature.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Que Viva Mexico

I really enjoyed this movie. Specifically though, I was really intrigued by the deep connections the filmmakers make between the Mexico they film and nature and the past. The first part, in which they observe the ruins, and the people are integrated into the ruins really affected me. In doing this, they showed how the identity of true Mexico is kept intact even after the assimilation forced upon them by the Spaniards. The long shots of peoples faces as they mirror the statues of the temples spoke voliumes to me. This creates a kind of exaltation of Mexican identity we haven't seen before; it makes me think of the grandeur of the Aztecs and how it has not gone away. A part of the narration I could not forget is when the narrator says "It is a kingdom of death, where the past rules the future." This stabalizes a connection with the true base of Mexican Identity which hasn't been changed by the present state of Mexico.
I think this film is able to create a Mexico in an honest way. This is aided by the discourses the narrator presents. He tells of Concepcion and the bull fighter, both representing common Mexicans in a positive light who become representations of the country's people.
The connection to nature, as seen in the constant shots of animals frolicking and what not, and the people relaxing in nature without the aid of material goods shows a kind of value to Mexican identity. A connection to nature to me signifies a connection to virtue and exsistelntial truthfulness.
For these reasons, the constant images of nature and the past, this film is a far greater representation of Mexican identity than others we have seen. Though the film somewhat generalizes, it steers away from making stock characters and critiquing them. The film brings to light the values of Mexico rather than condemming it for the faults so many other representations dwell on .

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Batalla en el cielo

Like I said in our discussion yesterday, what most affected me was the persisten sound of a clock ticking. I've learned in literature, for example in Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, that this is a reassuring sign of temporality and the coming promise of mortality. While this mortality is a repeated gloomy occurence in the film, it is hard to deny its peacefulness when it over takes the protagonist. Marcos to me represents a kind of tragic hero, but does not wholly fulfill the requirements to be one as he is not mentally well. His saving grace though is seen in this instability which eventually leads to his quasi suicidal death.
The ticking of the clock is thus seen to symbolise the deterioration of his character. As the events propel, and even though they are presented in backflash and in an entangled nature, the persistent sound of time does not allow for the derailment of mortality.
What I find interesting and think it speaks to the film's thematic intentions, is that it is not clear to me if this promise of death is a salvation for Marcos or a punishment. To support the former option, I think that his dying in the church after the pilgrimage is meaningful and shows a peace attained in death for this troubled character. But I also think that it could be seen as a punishment of divine quality because his wife does not show any emotion in seeing him die, the bells atop the church do not make a sound, and the closing seen of the flag coming down without him shows that his death is not very important.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Callejon de Llos milagros.

First and foremost, I want to say that I really enjoyed this movie. I really liked the multiple narrative layers which tells the same story through different perspectives which in the end intertwine and be come one story. Like the callejon in which they live and live different lives, the narrative funnels into a shared space. One thread which I think strongly connects the different narratives is the aspect of victimization. Even though athey work for respect and to be different from those who allowed themselves to fall by the wayside, they all end up becoming victims.

In the first narrative, Rutilio's son allows his father's indecency to push him to violence which later condemns everyone around him. He leaves without dealing with the consequences and overestimates these consequences so that his leaving only harms. It's intereseting to me to see how quick he is to act as if his violent act on the young man was actually an attack on himself. It's somewhat representative of his state of mind which allows him to perpetually believe that he is a victim.

This same victim mentality is seen in the next narrative of Alma. Even though she presents characteristics of an independent young woman, her mentatlity of being a helpless victim leads to her domination by others. First, she feels she is somewhat less of a person for being a virgin, and so she decides to date the young man who is really quite in love with her. She acts clueless to what she is doing as if she weren't victimizing herself. I think she represents a kind of girl who thinks everyone is out to harm her, and so harms herself before they can. She represents a learned helplessness which she uses to never have to work hard to break the bindings which hold her back. Though she speaks of passion, she likes the comfort of the box she is put into as a lower class Mexican girl. It is with this belief that she agrees to marry the older man she doesn't know and later agrees to become a prostitute. I think her role in the movie is to demise our belief of such personalities as being of social causation because in her we see a desire to be pitied unlike that of her boyfriend that went to Houston or even her girlfriend Maru.

EVentually, the boy that went to Houston allowed this victim allure to grab a hold of him too. He goes to the brothel with no real plan of murdering Jose Luis, but really only cuts his face and is thus killed himself. Though we don't know if he meant to cut his throat, I think what's important is that he knew he would be wounded for his actions. Again, I feel as if they see a certain safety in being deceived, murdered or abandoned.