Magazine article Journal of Film Preservation

Mexico: UNAM

Magazine article Journal of Film Preservation

Mexico: UNAM

Article excerpt

In the UNAM Film Library as in other archives around the world, we have our list of «The most wanted lost Mexican films». It is a list not adhering strictly to the criterion of a film's antiquity, but also taking into account such aspects as censorship, the fact that its viewing was at some point prohibited; factors which as time goes by, make a film more mythical and its viewing ever more interesting. For these reasons we include in our list the film made in 1937 by Fito Best called La Mancha de sangre (The Bloodstain). It is a film that ran into trouble right from the start. Fito Best, the film's director, was a well-known painter who until then had only made one short film. However, like the good intellectual that he was, in this film he included elements that were unusual for Mexican cinema in those days: he used a squalid night-club as his location, the local prostitutes were his extras, and the main characters were played by unprofessionals with no previous acting experience. Thus, the very aspect of the place and of its actors created an atmosphere, if not sordid, at least credible and anyway unsophisticated. As a finishing touch, the title: «The bloodstain», refers either to bloodshed caused by a rape, or to menstrual bleeding. Of course, the film was censored. Its debut occurred six years after its completion, and it was never heard of or seen again, at least publicly. The film became a myth, the forbidden fruit and therefore all the more appetising, the film all movie-lovers, film students and critics wanted to see.

Frankly, I never dreamed that these images would ever be seen again. …

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