2010 is the year of the Mexican Bicentennial, that’s Mexico’s 200 birthday, but also being celebrated this year is the centennial for the Mexican Revolution. Wars are always ugly & tragic no doubt about that, but the spirit of those who fight for what’s right, for their most treasured beliefs is always inspiring. In this manner the Mexican Revolution can be seen as a passionate, romantic era full of heroism and adventure. I’d love to recommend a movie that depicts just that. I’ve really been interested in posting about Mexican cinema especially classic cinema and what better way to introduce those who aren’t familiar with it than this awesome movie. The movie is called “La Cucaracha”. It stars Maria Felix an icon of the “cine de oro” =”golden cinema” era of Mexico. She was commonly known, particularly in her later years, by the honorific La Doña. There is no comparison really , but I guess you could say she might be something like the Katharine Hepburn of Mexico.
Here’s an excerpt.
La Cucaracha:“Take it off! Strip yourself of all that’s proper. Come at me with whatever you’ve got!” Isabel: “What I have, is too much for you.”
“La Cucaracha” tells the story of a renegade soldadera with a fearless bravado. Soldaderas = were female soldiers who went into combat alongside men during the Mexican Revolution. For those who don’t speak Spanish, but would like to watch, I’ll break down the story. “La Cucaracha” (Maria Felix) is a rough and tumble soldadera who is passionate about the revolution, however the hardships of war have given her a very cynical attitude and sharp tongue. She is anything but lady like, she believes in : drinking, gun slinging and being marry. Doña Isabel is a very religious, modest, widow she is constantly refereed to as a respectable lady. She hates the revolution because “the cause” took her husband’s life. When the revolutionary Colonel Zeta comes to town “La Cucaracha” expresses her desire to join his men and is laughed at him and told to go home. She refuses to be mocked or belittled so she decidedly follows their trail. Doña Isabel follows too in search of her husband. She arrives at their camp to find: drunk men and women laughing by campfires and severe casualties, among them her husband. Distraught, disheartened and not knowing what to do with her life she reluctantly opts to follow the troops instead of going back home. She refuses to become a soldadera and just helps the group with things like : nursing and cooking instead. Along the way “La Cucaracha’s” renegade ways win over Colonel Zeta and he begins to try and woo her. At first she sneers at him with a prideful demeanor and won’t have him, but they end up together. Colonel Zeta tells “La Cucaracha” that if she is to be his “woman” she needs to settle down, and for love she does. Trouble irrupts when La Cucaracha suspects that something going on between Colonel Zeta and Isabel. He assures her that he only only has eyes for her and any special attention he pays to Doña Isabel is out of respect for her as a lady & widow. As time goes by the war begins to change Isabela and she eventually likes the idea of casting her modest customs aside and becoming a full fledged soldadera. What happens next? Well, don’t want to give away the ending, so you’ll just have to watch =D
Here’s a link to part 1 of the movie if you want to watch the whole movie all the accompanying videos are numbered and should appear on the side.