Santa (Mexico, 1932) & La mujer del puerto (Mexico, 1934)

Sunday, September 24, 2017
7:00 pm - 9:45 pm, UCLA Hammer Museum - Billy Wilder Theater

Recuerdos de un cine en espaƱol: Latin American Cinema in Los Angeles

See below for additional information.


A special pass grants access to all screenings in this series!

Advance tickets for individual screenings are available online for $10.

Tickets are also available at the Billy Wilder Theater box office beginning one hour before showtime: $9, general admission; free to all UCLA students with valid ID; $8, other students, seniors and UCLA Alumni Association members with ID.


Film and Television Archive
(310) 206-8013


Additional Information

Santa (Mexico, 1932), directed by Antonio Moreno, is considered Mexico’s first “national” production in the sound film era, Santa was based on the eponymous Mexican novel by Federico Gamboa, which is as much a modernist portrait of Mexico City as it is of the fate of its heroine. Santa, a beautiful country girl, is seduced and abandoned by an Army officer. She goes to the city, where she becomes a well-known courtesan of the wealthy, then the kept woman of a famous bullfighter, before descending into poverty. As in the novel, Santa is seen as a victim of social forces beyond her control. Lupita Tovar plays the role as an innocent who, despite her cynicism, keeps her faith in the church; she is a victim of the decadence of urban Mexican society around her. Despite the huge success of the film, Antonio Moreno was not able to parlay the film into a directorial career, unlike his male star, Carlos Orellana.

Followed by La mujer del puerto (Mexico, 1934), directed by Arcady Boytler and Raphael J. Sevilla. A stylized melodrama, The Woman of the Port mixes overwrought emotions with highly-stylized Expressionist images, recalling Weimar cinema and Soviet-style montage. The film is divided into two parts: the first half tells the story of Rosario and her boyfriend, who turns out to be a cad; he accidentally kills her father, leaving Rosario without any means of support. The second half finds Rosario working the port of Veracruz as a prostitute, where she picks up a sailor and beds him, only to realize the next morning that he is her long-lost brother. High-key, expressionist lighting, expertly crafted by Alex Phillips, informs almost every scene, as does Boytler’s montage, which orchestrates a symphony of looks, wordlessly expressing fear and desire or creating a surrealistic spectacle, as in the Veracruz Mardi Gras scenes that are intercut with Don Antonio’s funeral. An amazing tale of social ostracism and taboo violation.

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