Category Archives: January 2014

Editor’s Letter

“Film as dream, film as music. No art passes our conscience in the way film does, and goes directly to our feelings, deep down into the dark rooms of our souls.”

― Ingmar Bergman

As I have mentioned in previous editorials, before arriving in this magical country my experience with Latin culture had been incredibly limited. My first ‘aha’ moment about Mexico was on a winter evening in 1993 when my friend Anita dragged me to the Loews movie theater in Montreal to see a film I had never heard of. Continue reading Editor’s Letter

From Dolores Hidalgo to Cacaluta: The Ups, Downs, and Ups of Mexico’s Film Industry

By Deborah Van Hoewyk

Some folks come to Huatulco because they’ve seen it, few leave without hearing about it, boatloads of snorkelers explore its cinematic beach without knowing a thing about it. “It” is Y Tu Mamá También, the 2001 Alfonso Cuarón film that made northerners sit up and take real notice of the Mexican film industry. Cuarón went global in short order, making Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), Children of Men (2006), and his latest Gravity (2013). He owns Esperanto Filmoj, a film production and distribution company that put out Guillermo del Toro’s film El Laberinto del Fauno (Pan’s Labyrinth) in 2006, and co-owns another production house, Producciones Anhelo. Continue reading From Dolores Hidalgo to Cacaluta: The Ups, Downs, and Ups of Mexico’s Film Industry


Screen Shot 2016-04-15 at 3.47.19 PMBy Julie Etra

Mario Fortino Alfonso Moreno Reyes aka Cantinflas, was born in Mexico City on August 12, 1911. Although he took on the name Cantinflas early in his career he is best remembered for playing the part of an impoverished peasant or pelado, a derogatory term used to describe a type of city bum in the 1920s. Visually he is remembered by his distinctive mustache, and in character as a campesino with his loose fitting pants held up with a rope. He was the best-known Latin American comedian at the time but earned notoriety north of the border in for his co-staring role in the 1956 film ‘Around the World in 80 days’ and is recognized as a major figure during the mid-century Golden Age of Mexican cinema. Continue reading Cantinflas

The Mexican Academy of Film

By Jan Chaiken

Just as the Oscars are awarded annually in the US by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Mexico has its own Academia Mexicana de Artes y Ciencias Cinematográficas which makes annual awards called the Ariels. The Mexican Academy was established in 1946 at the height of the Golden Age of film in Mexico but did not have annual awards including ceremonies until 1977. Not only is the name very similar to the corresponding academy in the US, but also the categories of Ariel awards closely parallel those for the Oscars – best picture, best director, best actor and actress, best supporting actor and actress, screenplay, editing, music, cinematography, and so on through the various technical awards. Continue reading The Mexican Academy of Film

Extraordinary Innovation from Mexico

By Brooke Gazer

When we were planning our move to Mexico many of our friends and family thought we had lost our minds. We had visions of warm sandy beaches with palm trees swaying gently in the breeze; they had visions of Clint Eastwood in “A Fist Full of Dollars”. (Never mind those “spaghetti westerns” were shot in Italy!) The truth is that Mexico is a multi-faceted nation that cannot be summed up with one stereotype. One aspect that might surprise you is the sophisticated level of scientific research that has come from this country. Mexico has been involved in some the most advanced discoveries of the 20th century. Here are five examples. Continue reading Extraordinary Innovation from Mexico

Reading To Improve Your Spanish

By Carole Reedy

We learn to ask for what we want by speaking.

“But it is in reading that we enter the intimacy and wonder of language.” Bassia Bar-Chai

“If you don’t read and write in the language, your Spanish will never improve.” These sage words come from the Spanish maestra quoted above who speaks seven languages fluently. Continue reading Reading To Improve Your Spanish

Zorba Wasn’t Greek … and Other Mexican Actor Trivia

By Alvin Starkman, M.A., J.D.

Not only was Anthony Quinn (1915 – 2001) not Greek, he was born in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, as Antonio Rodolfo Quinn Oaxaca. His father was Francisco Quinn, a Mexican of Irish descent, and his mother was Manuela Oaxaca, of Aztec ancestry. Francisco rode with revolutionary Pancho Villa; then in 1952, in Viva Zapata! Anthony played revolutionary leader Emiliano Zapata’s brother Eufemio, opposite Marlon Brando who played the lead role of Emiliano. Brando lost the Best Actor Oscar to Gary Cooper, while Anthony took Best Supporting Actor, making him the first Mexican to win an Academy Award. Continue reading Zorba Wasn’t Greek … and Other Mexican Actor Trivia

The Academy Awards and Mexico

Screen Shot 2016-04-15 at 3.46.20 PM

By Marcia Chaiken

January 16, 2014 the U.S. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will announce their nominees for their prestigious awards, the Oscars. Usually, we film devotees from north of the border pay great attention to the Oscar nominations while our Mexican friends tend to ignore the event. This disinterest, if not distaste, may be a product of the relative lack of Academy acknowledgement of the great success Mexicans have had in the film industry. Continue reading The Academy Awards and Mexico

The Best City in the World Is Right Here In Mexico: San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato

By Carole Reedy

They didn’t choose Paris, Florence, Prague, or Buenos Aires. In a readers’ choice survey, more than a million Conde Nast Traveler magazine readers chose the quaint highland city of San Miguel de Allende as the best in the world. First reactions to the news here in Mexico ran from “Great for tourism” and “Well deserved” to the shocked “Why us and not Paris?” Continue reading The Best City in the World Is Right Here In Mexico: San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato