Que Viva Mexico

Posted by: | February 25, 2009 | Comments Off on Que Viva Mexico

Viva Mexico seemed to be drawn to the cultural aspects of Mexico that would be of interest to any foreigner. There were a lot of elements in the film that indicated the time it was filmed. The film took the approach of a documentary in the initial scenes, yet as the film progressed it was more planned and no longer sustained that feeling. The plot was very loose and the film appeared to have no objective, but to serve as merely a documentation of life in Mexico. However the voice over seemed to adopt a superior and arrogant stance in relation to the people. The gaze of the camera eroticized the women combing their hair and projected stereotypes onto the culture. The second half of the film took a different stance and a story-line was developed, in which the characters were acting out the plot. The film went from neutral and somewhat objective to making social commentary about Mexico’s elite. As a result this film was the first of its kind and appeared to set the stage for later films such as Los Olvidados.
At the beginning of the film the director explains that the filming was done over a period of two months, but remained unfinished. As a result, the scenes that are shown seem random and it is as if the director just made up some dialogue to merely accompany the shots. The story-lines were so disconnected from each other and had little to no relevance to one another.
The first part of the film seems to be much more genuine and artistic. Yet this artistic identity is not sustained over time and the film tries to appeal to too many genres. It is as if the director initially decided he wanted to film a love story and then suddenly in the middle of the film he decided he was more interested in making an action film. Initially, I felt like I was a spectator at the zoo, watching these people perform their cultural traditions. The people were very disconnected, even when they made eye contact with the gaze of the camera. Their culture was romanticized, such as when the woman cut the top off of a coconut and handed it to the man swinging in the hammock. These are the images that give people the sort of romanticized impressions they have about Mexico.
The director did have a sound understanding about Dia del Muertos and how the cultural tradition “mocks death.” This really resonated within me because as I have also experienced, Dia del Muertos is a unique holiday because it celebrates life and unlike many cultures, it does not see death as a taboo subject. People in fact spend the entire night in the cemetery with food and family unlike other cultures that fear the cemetery.
The music had a large influence over the way the characters were seen. Light and sweet music accompanied the Native women, whereas loud and boisterous chords were played when the bad characters were shown. Yet at the same time the music was quite random and there was little consistency.
I really have no concrete opinion about this film, in fact I felt pretty indifferent to it.


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