The sleeper hit of MoMA’s 2015 Mexico at Midnight series, Julio Bracho’s 1943 Distinto amanacer (Another Dawn) revealed a filmmaker of emotional resonance, formal mastery, and social insight. Inspired by a retrospective held at the 2016 Morelia International Film Festival, this overview of Bracho’s work brings back both Another Dawn and Crepúsculo (Twilight) (1945) in new digital restorations, while demonstrating Bracho’s range beyond film noir with such films as the peasant drama Rosenda (1948), the surreal comedy La corte del faraón (The Pharoah’s Court) (1944) and the lush period romance Historia de un gran amor (1942). A veteran of Mexico’s avant-garde theater movement of the 1930s, Bracho continued to experiment with complex interior spaces and extreme long takes as his work moved into the popular genres of the Mexican cinema, which was then fully competitive with Hollywood in terms of production resources and technical finish. He became one of the highest paid directors of the period now referred to as “la Epoca de Oro del Cine Mexicano,” but fell from political favor in 1960 with his daring La sombra del caudillo (The Shadow of the Leader), a critical look at Mexican politics in the 1920s and ’30s. Banned for over 30 years, The Shadow of the Leader will be shown here in a restoration based on a 16mm print—the only copy known to survive.
Organized by Dave Kehr, Curator, Department of Film.
Special thanks to Daniela Michel, Chloe Roddick and Denis De La Roca, Morelia International Film Festival; Jose Manuel Garcia, Filmoteca de la UNAM; Dora Moreno Brizuela, Cineteca Nacional; Mauricio Maille, Fundación Televisa; and La Seccion de Tecnicos y Manuales de la Produccion Cinematografica de la Republica Mexicana.
The exhibition is supported by the Annual Film Fund.