María Candelaria. 1943. Mexico. Directed by Emilio Fernández. Screenplay by Mauricio Magdaleno, Emilio Fernández, based on a story by Emilio Fernández. Cinematography by Gabriel Figueroa. With Dolores del Río, Pedro Armendáriz, Miguel Inclán. In Spanish; English subtitles. 101 min.
Winning both the Palme d’Or and Best Cinematography awards at the 1946 Cannes Film Festival, María Calendaria marked Mexico’s entry into the highest ranks of world cinema. The floating gardens of Xochimilco provide a lyrical background to a self-consciously mythological tale of a pair of lovers (Dolores del Río and Pedro Armendáriz) menaced by a covetous shopkeeper (Miguel Inclán, Mexican cinema’s Man You Love to Hate). Cameraman Gabriel Figueroa brilliantly finesses that most difficult of lighting situations: nighttime on water.