Wednesday, June 28, 2017

El rebozo de Soledad / Soledad's Shawl (2016 digital transfer Cineteca Nacional México)

El rebozo de Soledad. Stella Inda (Soledad Anaya), Pedro Armendáriz (Roque Suazo).

Santa Cruz. Director: Roberto Gavaldón. Year: 1952. Country: Messico.
    Section: Revolution and Adventure: Mexican Cinema in the Golden Age.
    Sog.: dal romanzo omonimo di Javier López Ferrer. Scen.: Roberto Gavaldón, José Revueltas. F.: Gabriel Figueroa. M.: Charles L. Kimball. Scgf.: Salvador Lozano Mena. Mus.: Francisco Domínguez, Evaristo Tafoya.
    Int.: Arturo de Córdova (Dr. Alberto Robles), Pedro Armendáriz (Roque Suazo), Stella Inda (Soledad Anaya), Domingo Soler (padre Juan), Carlos López Moctezuma (David Acosta), Jaime Fernández (Mauro), Gilberto González (Delfino Ruiz), Rogelio Fernández (lo sposo).
    Prod.: Cinematográfica Televoz, Miguel Alemán Velasco, Sindicato de Trabajadores de la Producción Cinematográfica de la República Mexicana. DCP. D.: 114’. Bn.
    From: Cineteca Nacional México.
    Digitally transfered in 2K in 2016 by Cineteca Nacional México at Laboratorio de Restauración Digital, from a 35 mm acetate negative, thanks to the support of Cinematographic Workers Union of the Mexican Republic (STPC).
    Introduce Daniela Michel.
    Il Cinema Ritrovato, Bologna.
    2K DCP with English subtitles. E-subtitles in Italian by Sub-Ti. Cinema Jolly, 28 June 2017.

Daniela Michel e Chlöe Roddick (Il Cinema Ritrovato): "After making two of the most important films noir in Mexican cinema history (En la palma de tu mano in 1951 and The Night Falls in 1952) Roberto Gavaldón, who earned his stripes working as an extra and assistant director in Hollywood, changed course slightly to make the exceptional rural drama El rebozo de Soledad.

The film tells the story of honest Doctor Alberto Robles, who must choose between a life of luxury in the rapidly-modernizing Mexico City, or the continuation of his work treating the poor inhabitants of a rural village.

Directors like Gavaldón – who was nicknamed ‘the ogre’ for his domineering personality – and Julio Bracho, made films that, unlike the work of Emilio Fernández, were critical of the Revolution. El rebozo de Soledad, for example, is at once a celebration of traditional Mexican values – of the intrinsic value of the indigenous – an exploration of the growing gap between city and country spaces (the modern/urban vs. the traditional/rural) and a critique of the violence and corruption that still abounded in poor, rural areas that were supposed to have benefitted from the Revolution, but whose inhabitants were still subject to the cruelty of local landowners and ‘caciques’ (bosses)."

"With stellar performances from some of the most important stars of the Golden Age – Arturo de Córdova, Pedro Armendáriz, Domingo Soler and the largely forgotten actress Stella Inda (who also starred in Buñuel’s Los olvidados) – as well as photography from Gabriel Figueroa and a script co-written by leftist writer José Revueltas (writer of some of the country’s best films noirs and a crime reporter for Mexican newspapers), the film is a vigorous and moving drama, featuring special effects so advanced that some of the medical scenes are still shocking to this day." Daniela Michel e Chlöe Roddick (Il Cinema Ritrovato)

AA: A drama of social consciousness – and social conscience.

A doctor is offered a position of privilege and luxury in México City.

At home in Santa Cruz, there is poverty, oppression, prejudice, and superstition. The doctor needs to throw away witchdoctors whose treatments are a menace to the patients.

Like his best friend and sometime adversary Father Juan the doctor decides to stay at Santa Cruz. The conditions are primitive. Ideals are difficult to put into practice. Acts of kindness can be misunderstood. Behavior based on reticence can be misunderstood, too.

There is an interesting relationship between El rebozo de Soledad and Nazarín, made seven years later. Both stories are relevant to the Don Quijote tradition. Nazarín questions the very idea of Christianity seen as holy madness. The issues in El rebozo de Soledad are more sober yet magnificent enough. Do we live for ourselves or for the greater good? Where do we draw the line of sacrifice? At which point does goodness turn Quixotic?

Like Nazarín, El rebozo de Soledad is a film of Christian relevance. It can be seen as an interpretation of the Temptation of Christ. The Devil appears incarnated in the four rich doctors of México City: "All these things I will give to you if you fall down and do an act of worship with me".

The Buñuel connection is emphasized by the presence of actors familiar from his films such as Stella Inda (Los olvidados), Pedro Armendáriz (El bruto), Arturo de Córdova (Él), and Domingo Soler (Los ambiciosos).

Roberto Gavaldón's film is both complex and deeply moving and makes me curious to learn more about this director from whom I have seen only a couple of films. There is a conviction and a passion in his approach. And a wisdom of the heart.

The medical scenes of operations conducted in desolate circumstances feel authentic. In these barren surroundings the miracle of life appears simply and eloquently.

Excellent cinematography by Gabriel Figueroa. A stirring score consisting of sones veracruzanos.

A fine presentation of a new digital transfer from the 35 mm negative.


El rebozo de Soledad

(1952) México. Blanco y Negro.
Una producción de: Sindicato de Trabajadores de la Producción Cinematográfica (STPC) de la República Mexicana y Cinematográfica TeleVoz
Género: Drama rural
Duración: 108 min.
Sonido: Monoaural
Dirección: Roberto Gavaldón
Asistente de Dirección: Jesús Marín
Producción: Miguel Alemán Velasco; encargados de la producción: Eduardo Fernández y Rodolfo Echeverría (Rodolfo Landa); jefe de producción: Antonio Guerrero Tello
Guión: Javier López Ferrer; adaptación: José Revueltas y Roberto Gavaldón
Fotografía: Gabriel Figueroa; operador de cámara: Ignacio Romero
Escenografía: Salvador Lozano Mena; títulos: Leopoldo Méndez
Maquillaje: Armando Meyer
Edición: Charles L. Kimball
Sonido: José B. Carles y Galdino Samperio
Música: Francisco Domínguez; arreglos y orquestación: Evaristo Tafoya; canciones: "El gusto" y otros sones veracruzanos

Arturo de Có Alberto Robles
Pedro Armendáriz....Roque Suazo
Stella Inda....Soledad
Domingo Soler....padre Juan
Carlos López Moctezuma....David Acosta
Rosaura Revueltas....madre del niño operado
Francisco Alfonso Gómez Ugarte
José María Linares Rivas....médico rico 1
José Baviera....médico rico 2
Manuel Arvide....médico rico 3
Juan Orraca....médico rico 4
Gilberto González....Delfino Ruiz
Jaime Fernández....Mauro
Guillermo Torres....Toribio, curandero
Lupe Carriles....enfermera
Hernán Vera....presidente municipal
José Muñoz....Manuel
Humberto Jiménez Pons
Yolanda Nieto
Felipe de Flores
Ignacio Peón
Norma Jiménez
Mario Jiménez

Sinopsis: Alberto Robles, un joven médico, se enfrenta ante la decisión de entregarse a una vida llena de comodidades y lujos o continuar dedicándose en cuerpo y alma a atender a quienes más lo necesitan: los habitantes de Santa Cruz, un pueblo oprimido por la crueldad del cacique local.

Documentación: Karen Medina.

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