2021, volume 3


Marius Adrian Scheianu, Ph.D Candidate, George Emil Palade University of Medicine, Pharmacy, Sciences and Technology from Târgu Mureș


Cinema, the youngest of the arts, has been energetic and has quickly gained public attention and became soon, after its appearance in the last years of the 19th century, the most popular of the arts, introducing the audiences to images of the world around them. From the first years of the 20th century silent films with plots came into vogue, substituting the documentary style of filming presented to the viewers. In the United States of America, many of these films introduced American viewers to their nearby Mexican neighbors. Usually, the Mexican image, in film, was dominated by stereotypes deeply rooted in American culture. This habit of portraying the Mexicans as bandits or as displaying every vice that could be shown on the screen, by the American film industry began to change by the middle of the 1930s. One of the reasons for this change is the new approach to the foreign policy implemented by the administration of US President Roosevelt, against the background of overcoming challenges caused by The Great Depression. The first beneficiary of this benevolent attitude towards Latin America, was US’s closest neighbor, Mexico. Two American movies are relevant, during this period, for illustrating this policy in cinematography: Viva Villa (1934) and Juarez (1939). The two movies deal with aspects of Mexican history in a different way than in the past, the use of Mexico and Mexican history as a background for political comments on contemporary events, also demonstrating the role that the film industry has played as a vessel for carrying various messages from the political authorities to the public.

Keywords: cinema; Mexic; history; politics; good neighbour

DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/amsh-2021-0006

Pages: 55-67

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