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El Futuro Está Aquí: Sci-Fi Classics from Mexico

June 24, 2010 - June 27, 2010

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The Ship of Monsters, June 24

The future was never easy for Mexico. It was something hecho en elsewhere as Mexico gazed on its past, dwelling on pre-Cortesian glories gone. North of the border, the United States developed the technologies of modernity, even exporting theories and images of the future. What here was an indigenous genre, the science fiction film, was in Mexico an appropriated one in which its own popular artifacts and idiosyncratic myths were grafted to an imported trope. A robot in mortal battle with an Aztec mummy; a masked wrestler repelling an invasion from Mars; Venusian babes in bathing suits falling for a charro from Chihuahua—often these films had bottom-of-the barrel budgets, meaning they had to skimp on the pie-plate props and the otherworldly attire as well. But beyond the rayguns, spandex space suits, and trashcan robots, mass conceptions about sex roles, technology, machismo, tradition, and xenophobia ooze from these films like an alien Blob. Enormously popular throughout the fifties and sixties, these wry and engaging sci-fi flicks say a little about Mexploitation and a lot about the popular imagination.

El sexo fuerte (The Stronger Sex), a rousing film about two unsuspecting men shipwrecked upon the shores of Eden, an Art Deco kingdom ruled by beautiful amazons, screens on June 25 in BAM’s Gallery B as part of the Friday evening program L@TE.

Steve Seid
Video Curator

Thursday, June 24, 2010
7:30 p.m. The Ship of Monsters
Rogelio A. González (Mexico, 1959). Venus needs men! Searching the universe for male bioforms, bathing-suited Venusian babes crash-land in Chihuahua. In the war of the worlds, will love conquer all? (81 mins)

Saturday, June 26, 2010
7:00 p.m. The Aztec Mummy vs. the Human Robot
Rafael Portillo (Mexico, 1957). Faux Aztec legend meets Ed Wood–esque special effects as a sinister character builds a low-rent robot in an attempt to steal an ancient treasure. (65 mins)

Saturday, June 26, 2010
8:35 p.m. Santo vs. the Martian Invasion
Alfredo B. Crevenna (Mexico, 1966). The fate of the universe hangs in the balance after extraterrestrials land on Earth. Silver-masked wrestler Santo to the rescue! (85 mins)

Sunday, June 27, 2010
7:10 p.m. Planet of the Female Invaders
Alfredo B. Crevenna (Mexico, 1965). The female inhabitants of a faraway planet form a plot to harvest human lungs in an alien-invasion spectacular that will take your breath away. (85 mins)

PFA wishes to thank the Mexican Consulate of San Francisco, and particularly Jonathan Chait, cultural attaché; Richard Talavera, The Mexican Bus; Gustavo Vazquez and Guillermo Galindo for their advice; Itala Schmelz, who recovered these films through her scholarship; and Filmoteca de la UNAM, and specifically José Manuel Garcia, for the loan of these prints.