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The Clash of ’68

Thursday, April 10, 2008
6:30 p.m. 1973
Antonino Isordia (Mexico, 2005)

The massacre of student protesters just before the 1968 Olympics began in Mexico City turned the youthful optimism of a generation into disillusionment. Antonino Isordia’s aggressively stylized documentary looks at three young Mexicans who represent the consequence of that disappointment. Each born in 1973 in the Districto Federal, they were reared amidst a pall of continued political turmoil and social inequity. First up is Rodolfo Escogido, an activist who began as a high school organizer, leading a multi-campus student congress. When he broke with the dominant party, PRI, he found himself incarcerated on trumped-up robbery charges. Maria Fernanda Ramos followed la vida loca as a response to the indifference of her too-busy parents. Maria’s fatalism led to a botched suicide attempt. Finally, Alejandro Cota toys with the documentary process, fabricating stories until settling upon the real one, his life as a mass murderer. Isordia’s kinetic compositions and startling sound design add an undertone of possibility to a portrait of dead ends.

—Steve Seid

• Photographed by Fernando Acuña. (97 mins, In Spanish with English subtitles, B&W, Beta SP, From Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica)

Preceded by short:
Comunicados (Mexico, 1968). Three UNAM student newsreels depicting street protests in Mexico City, released immediately after their recording. Footage from the Comunicados was later reedited as El grito, a documentary about the massacre of students at Tlatelolco. (19 mins, In Spanish, B&W, DVD, From Filmoteca de la UNAM)

• (Total running time: 116 mins)