Nuevo Cine Mexicano

Nuevo Cine Mexicano, also referred to as New Mexican Cinema is a Mexican film movement started in the early 1990s.[1] Filmmakers, critics, and scholars consider Nuevo Cine Mexicano a "rebirth" of Mexican cinema because of the production of higher-quality films. This rebirth led to high international praise as well as box-office success, unseen since the golden age of Mexican cinema of the 1930s to 1960s. The quality of Mexican films suffered in the decades following the golden age due in part to Mexican audiences watching more overseas films, especially Hollywood productions.[2] This resulted in the rise of infamous Mexican genres such as Luchador films, sexicomedias and ultimately the low-budget direct-to-video Mexploitation film.[3]

Many themes addressed in Nuevo Cine Mexicano include the roles of gender, identity, tradition, and socio-political conflicts within Mexico itself. [1] The movement has achieved international success with films such as director Alfonso Cuaron’s Y Tu Mamá También (2001), which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and at the Golden Globes for Best Foreign Film, and Alejandro G. Iñárritu's Amores Perros (2000), which was nominated for Best Foreign Film at the Academy Awards.

There is debate over when this “new wave” of Mexican cinema began and whether there are any clear parameters as to how it differs from other Mexican film movements other than "newfound audience enthusiasm".[4] Some cite the actual rejuvenation of Mexican cinema as starting in 1998 in a Post-NAFTA Mexico, beginning with the film Sexo, pudor y lágrimas (Sex, Shame and Tears).[4] Others believe it began because of the international acclaim of the films such as Like Water for Chocolate (1992) and its nomination for Best Foreign Film at the Golden Globes. The definition of Nuevo Cine Mexicano also leads to the question, "What is a Mexican film?"—is it Mexican film because of who makes or stars in it, or because it takes place in Mexico.[5]


The Golden Age of Mexican Cinema occurred from the 1930s to the 1960s, afterward, a period of low-budget B-movies funded by the state of Mexico was the primary source for films for the Mexican public.[2] A resurgence of Mexican cinema was believed to occur in the 1970s, however, its success was short-lived as the majority Mexican filmgoers preferred Hollywood films.[3][4]

Before the 1990s, the Mexican film industry was primarily funded by the state in coordination with the Instituto Mexicano de Cinematografía (Mexican Film Institute, IMCINE). There was a decrease in Mexican audiences watching Mexican-produced films in favor of Hollywood blockbusters as well as "film production dropp[ing] to an all-time low" due to the economic crash in 1994.[2] The IMCINE produced roughly five films a year during the crisis.[1][5] The main influx of directors and filmmakers, as well as funding, primarily came from the IMCINE. The incoming filmmakers, nicknamed the "1990s Generation", were helped by the generation of 1968 with their filmmaking skills.[3]

One of the most successful filmmakers of the 1990s Generation of Mexican filmmakers, Guillermo del Toro, said that "In the 80’s there was a huge void in Mexican cinema, then my generation picked up the staff in the early 90s."[6] However, during the 1970s "technical experimentation" took precedence within the film community, and through the 1980s films "catered to the lowest common denominator", the 1990s Generation learned by working together with the filmmakers of the late 60s and 70s.[1]


Social divisions within Mexico is a reoccurring theme within Nuevo Cine Mexicano, including the films Y Tu Mamá También, El crimen del Padre Amaro (2002), and Amores Perros.

Though the films touch on the “socio-geographic divisions” of Mexico in different ways.[4] In Amores Perros, the economic divisions are portrayed through the differences between the main characters' homes. El Chivo lives in a "seedy residence" which that is juxtaposed with his daughter’s "respectable home".[4] With El crimen del padre Amaro (The Crime of father Amaro) the traditions of the Catholic Church, which remains a prominent influence in Mexico, is questioned when a young priest has sex with a teenager leading to her death from an abortion.[4] Other subjects such as homosexuality and political corruption are briefly touched on in Y Tu Mamà También (And Your Mother Too), helping to set up a background of what Mexico is and is not.[7] The two main male characters in the film differ in their social standings because of their families' political connections. What ultimately breaks their friendship apart is having sex with one another.[7] Within Nuevo Cine Mexicano, filmmakers try to portray such social and economic troubles within Mexico through different perspectives, which commonly goes against the sometimes stereotypical portrayals of Mexico and its inhabitants in U.S. and European films.

The characterizations of Europeans or foreigners, specifically Spaniards, are relatively negative. In several works in Nuevo Cine Mexicano, the conflict within the story is due to a person of Spanish descent. Either the non-foreigners in the film who associate with the Spaniards are drastically changed or the Spaniards themselves meet a tragic end.[4] The filmmakers use this trope in order to recall Mexico's past, specifically with Spain's colonization of Mexico.[4] The style of the films generally mimics the "art house" films of previous decades, since the state of Mexico had the greatest authority over the production of movies.[7] Directors specifically adopted this style in order to move away from the state and into independent productions, which a majority of Nuevo Cine Mexicano is.[3] Production studios normally fund one to two million dollars per film, due to the lack of mainstream production.[5] The influence of "NAFTAtrade and tax policies" made it harder for the public to fund such productions.[5]

Main players

Guillermo del Toro, Alfonso Cuaron, and Alejandro G. Inarritu make up the "Three Amigos", the main Mexican film directors of Nuevo Cine Mexicano. All have created films produced in Mexico and Hollywood. Critics and award shows consider these three as the premier directors in their craft. Each produces and uses actors and cinematographers from Mexico, even in their Hollywood made productions.[5] "Poster-boy" actors Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna have also moved on to several Hollywood productions, yet their popularity in Mexican cinema has proven to endure throughout the years.[5] Other directors include Alonso Ruizpalacios and Fernando Eimbcke.

European influence

Since 2000, some directors have made "independent productions looking for more personal expression", under a greater influence of European cinema.[8] The most representative films of this trend are Japón and Batalla en el cielo (Battle in Heaven), both directed by Carlos Reygadas. Other films include: Mil nubes de paz cercan el cielo, amor, jamás acabarás de ser amor (A Thousand Clouds of Peace Fence the Sky, Love; Your Being Love Will Never End) and El cielo dividido (Broken Sky), directed by Julián Hernández, and Sangre, directed by Amat Escalante and produced by Jaime Romandía and Reygadas.

Significant works


  1. ^ a b c d Martin, Michael T. (2004). "Mexican Cinema and the 'Generation of the 1990s'". Framework: The Journal of Cinema and Media. 45: 115–128.
  2. ^ a b c Tsao, Leonardo Garcia (2007). "After the Breakthrough of Amores Perros, What's next for Mexican Cinema?". Film Comment. 37: 11–13.
  3. ^ a b c d Maciel, David. "The Cinematic Renaissance of Contemporary Mexico 1985-1992". UC Davis: 70–85.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Hind, Emily (2004). "Post-NAFTA Mexican Cinema 1998-2002". Studies in Latin American Popular Culture. 23: 95–111.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Aldama, Frederick Luis (2013). Mex-Cine: Mexican Filmmaking, Production, and Consumption in the Twenty-first Century. Michigan: University of Michigan Press.
  6. ^ Garcia, Chris (April 5, 2002). "The New Migration - "Y Tu Mama" Is Just the Latest in a Trend of Quality Mexican Films Traversing the Rio Grande". Austin American Statesman.
  7. ^ a b c Menne, Jeff (2007). "A Mexican Nouvelle Vague: The Logic of New Waves Under Globalization". Cinema Journal. 47: 70–92.
  8. ^ González Vargas, Carla; et al. (2006). Rutas del cine mexicano. CONACULTA IMCINE. ISBN 9685893292.
Acid Western

Acid Western is a subgenre of the Western film that emerged in the 1960s and 1970s that combines the metaphorical ambitions of critically acclaimed Westerns, such as Shane and The Searchers, with the excesses of the Spaghetti Westerns and the outlook of the counterculture of the 1960s. Acid Westerns subvert many of the conventions of earlier Westerns to "conjure up a crazed version of autodestructive white America at its most solipsistic, hankering after its own lost origins".

Amat Escalante

Amat Escalante (born 28 February 1979) is a Mexican film director, producer and screenwriter. He is most well known for directing the controversial Mexican crime thriller Heli for which he was awarded the best director prize award at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, and for directing the 2016 Mexican drama The Untamed for which he received the Silver Lion for best director at the 2016 Venice Film Festival.

Cinema Novo

Cinema Novo (Portuguese pronunciation: [siˈne.mɐ ˈ]) is a genre and movement of film noted for its emphasis on social equality and intellectualism that rose to prominence in Brazil during the 1960s and 1970s. It means "New Cinema" in Portuguese, which is the official language of Brazil, the movement's "home". Cinema Novo formed in response to class and racial unrest both in Brazil and the United States. Influenced by Italian neorealism and French New Wave, films produced under the ideology of Cinema Novo opposed traditional Brazilian cinema, which consisted primarily of musicals, comedies and Hollywood-style epics. Glauber Rocha is widely regarded as Cinema Novo's most influential filmmaker. Today, the movement is often divided into three sequential phases that differ in tone, style and content.

Cinema of Mexico

The history of Mexican cinema goes back to the ending of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, when several enthusiasts of the new medium documented historical events – most particularly the Mexican Revolution – and produced some movies that have only recently been rediscovered. During the Golden Age of Mexican cinema, Mexico all but dominated the Latin American film industry.

The Guadalajara International Film Festival is the most prestigious Latin American film festival and is held annually In Guadalajara, Mexico. Mexico has twice won the highest honor at the Cannes Film Festival, having won the Grand Prix du Festival International du Film for Maria Candelaria in 1946 and the Palme d'Or in 1961 for Viridiana, more than any other Latin American nation.

Mexico City is the fourth largest film and television production center in North America, as well as the largest in Latin America.

in 2019, Roma became the first Mexican film and third Latin American film winning the Oscar for best Foreign language film.

Gertrudis (film)

Gertrudis is a 1992 Mexican biographical film about the life and execution of Gertrudis Bocanegra, a noted female insurgent of the Mexican War of Independence. It stars Ofelia Medina as the title role and was directed by her brother, Ernesto Medina.

List of apocalyptic films

This is a list of apocalyptic feature-length films. All films within this list feature either the end of the world, a prelude to such an end (such as a world taken over by a viral infection), and/or a post-apocalyptic setting.

Opera film

An opera film is a recording of an opera on film.

Return to Aztlán

Return to Aztlán (In Necuepaliztli in Aztlan, original title in Náhuatl) is a Mexican fiction film directed by Juan Mora Cattlet starring Rodrigo Puebla, Rafael Cortés, Amado Zumaya, Socorro Avelar, made in 1990. It was the first feature film filmed in Mexico spoken entirely in náhuatl, subtitled in Spanish in exhibition. The film was produced in the context of Nuevo Cine Mexicano (New Mexican Cinema) films.

Romanian New Wave

The Romanian New Wave (Romanian: Noul val românesc) is a genre of realist and often minimalist films made in Romania since the mid-aughts, starting with two award-winning shorts by two Romanian directors, namely Cristi Puiu's Cigarettes and Coffee, which won the Short Film Golden Bear at the 2004 Berlin International Film Festival, and Cătălin Mitulescu's Trafic, which won the Short Film Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival later that same year.

Silent film

A silent film is a film with no synchronized recorded sound (and in particular, no audible dialogue). In silent films for entertainment, the plot may be conveyed by the use of title cards, written indications of the plot and key dialogue lines. The idea of combining motion pictures with recorded sound is nearly as old as film itself, but because of the technical challenges involved, the introduction of synchronized dialogue became practical only in the late 1920s with the perfection of the Audion amplifier tube and the advent of the Vitaphone system. The term "silent film" is a misnomer, as these films were almost always accompanied by live sounds During the silent-film era that existed from the mid-1890s to the late 1920s, a pianist, theater organist—or even, in large cities, a small orchestra—would often play music to accompany the films. Pianists and organists would play either from sheet music, or improvisation. Sometimes a person would even narrate the intertitle cards for the audience. Though at the time the technology to synchronize sound with the video did not exist, music was seen as an essential part of the viewing experience.

The term silent film is a retronym—a term created to retroactively distinguish something. Early sound films, starting with The Jazz Singer in 1927, were variously referred to as the "talkies," "sound films," or "talking pictures." Within a decade, the widespread production of silent films for popular entertainment had ceased, and the industry had moved fully into the sound era, in which movies were accompanied by synchronized sound recordings of spoken dialogue, music and sound effects.

Most early motion pictures are considered lost because the nitrate film used in that era was extremely unstable and flammable. Additionally, many films were deliberately destroyed because they had little value in the era before home video. It has often been claimed that around 75 percent of silent films have been lost, though these estimates may be inaccurate due to a lack of numerical data.

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