The evolution of Mexican cinema, the important role of Mexican filmmakers working in Hollywood and the influence of international filmmakers working in Mexico all will be explored in a new exhibition that will open to the public in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Fourth Floor Gallery on Friday, October 13. In a first for an Academy exhibition, all of the explanatory text and captions will be provided in both English and Spanish. “Made in Mexico: The Legacy of Mexican Cinema” has been produced in association with the Cervantes Center of Arts & Letters. Admission to the exhibition will be free.
The Mexican film industry has existed for more than 100 years. The country’s public first experienced film projection in 1896, when representatives of the Lumière company traveled from France to showcase their motion pictures and to document both daily life and the activities of President Porfirio Díaz. Posters, lobby cards, photographs, magazines, documents, costumes, video clips and other artifacts will illuminate important milestones and successes from that day
to the present, including the six Mexican films that have earned Oscar® nominations in the Foreign Language Film category (three of them consecutively in 1960, ’61 and ’62).
The exhibition will encompass the “Golden Age” of Mexican cinema in the 1940s, the organization of the Concurso de cine experimental film competitions and the founding of the cinema department at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in the 1960s, the impact of fiscal challenges faced in the 1980s, as well as the current work of directors such as Guillermo del Toro, Alfonso Cuarón, Alejandro González Iñárritu and Carlos Carrera.
Among the unique items on display will be numerous images of popular Latin actors such as Dolores Del Río, Lupe Vélez, Ramón Novarro, Gilbert Roland and Lupita Tovar; original posters for “Santa,” the first successful Mexican sound feature (which starred Tovar), and for films starring Mario Moreno, better known as “Cantinflas”; props from films by director Guillermo del Toro, loaned by del Toro; and a suitcase of vintage camera lenses used by Academy Award®-nominated Mexican cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa (“The Night of the Iguana,” 1964), including one given to him by John Huston. Also included will be costume design sketches for characters portrayed by Del Río and Novarro, photographs and documents related to the invention and use of the Rodríguez Sound System (which was used in the production of “Santa” in 1931), a letter from Ronald Reagan regarding the Asociación Nacional de Actores (ANDA) and several items related to the career of two-time Oscar nominee Luis Buñuel, loaned by the filmmaker’s son.
Viewing hours for “Made in Mexico” are Tuesdays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and weekends, noon to 6 p.m. The exhibition will run through December 17. The Academy is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. For more information, please call 310-247-3600.