October 27, 2004 Library of Congress Film Series to Feature Films of Mexican Director Fernando de Fuentes

Press Contact: Sheryl Cannady (202) 707-6456
Public Contact: Mike Mashon (202) 707-5698
Contact: Mary Pickford Theater Web Site

The Library of Congress' Hispanic Division and Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division, in conjunction with the Institute of Mexico in Washington, D.C., will host a series of films by acclaimed Mexican director Fernando de Fuentes. The six films in the series will be shown in November and December at the Library of Congress in the Mary Pickford Theater, third floor of the Madison Building, 101 Independence Avenue S.E., Washington, D.C.

All screenings of the 35mm subtitled films, which were obtained from the Filmoteca de la UNAM in Mexico City, will begin at 7 p.m.

The series opens on Wednesday, Nov. 3, with "Prisionero 13" ("Prisoner Number 13," 1933). The film was considered so heretical that the Mexican army quickly pulled it from circulation because the movie portrayed the military as corrupt. The other two motion pictures in Fuentes' "Revolutionary Trilogy" are "Mi Compadre Mendoza" ("My Buddy Mendoza," 1933), and "VĂ¡monos con Pancho Villa" ("Let's Go with Pancho Villa," 1935), which many critics rated as the best film ever made in Mexico.

His next feature, "Alla el Rancho Grande" ("Over on the Big Ranch," 1936) introduced a beloved figure of Mexican cinema, the singing cowboy. The popularity of "Alla el Rancho Grande" helped solidify the film industry in Mexico.

The last two films in the series are "La Zandunga" (1938), starring Lupe Velez, who was later known to American audiences as the Mexican Spitfire, and "Jalisco Canta en Sevilla" (Jalisco Sings in Seville, 1949), which starred legendary singer Jorge Negrete in the first joint Mexican-Spanish production.

Fuentes (1894-1958) is considered the first important Mexican filmmaker. The six films in the series reflect Fuentes' extremely varied directorial career, ranging from the heavy drama of his "Revolutionary Trilogy" to the musical genre of the "Mexican singing cowboy." The influence of the Mexican muralists, particularly Jose Clemente Orozco, is seen throughout Fuentes' motion pictures. He believed that "Mexican cinema ought to be a faithful reflection of our severe and tragic way of being.not a poor imitation of Hollywood."

To make reservations, call (202) 707-5677 during business hours (Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.) one week before each screening. Reserved seats will be held until 10 minutes before show time; unclaimed seats will then become available to standbys. All programs are free, but seating is limited to 60.

  • Wednesday, Nov. 3: "Prisoner Number 13"
  • Wednesday, Nov. 17: "Let's Go with Pancho Villa"
  • Tuesday, Nov. 23: "My Buddy Mendoza"
  • Wednesday, Dec. 1: "Over on the Big Ranch"
  • Wednesday, Dec. 8: "La Zandunga"
  • Tuesday, Dec. 21: "Jalisco Sings in Seville"


PR 04-187
ISSN 0731-3527