Mar 10, 2016

Sensational Song Films from the film archive Permanencia Voluntaria in Tepoztlán, MX

As people continue to register to attend next month's Orphan Film Symposium, here's another enticing sample of what we will be seeing and hearing.  A half hour out of nearly thirty hours of programming at "Orphans X," which is devoted to the theme of sound. 

Paulina Suárez-Hesketh, Michael Ramos-Araizaga, & Viviana García Besne​ offer these three orphan films rescued by Permanencia Voluntaria, in Tepoztlán, Morelos, Mexico. 

Sensational Song Films

La zandunga pre-production footage (1937-1938)
A location-scouting trip for the folkloric musical La zandunga (1938) took young producer Pedro Calderón to the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Mexico, where the prestige picture was to be set. With a 16mm camera in hand, he recorded sights, subjects, customs, and events that provide a precious glimpse of everyday life in rural Oaxaca.

La Rebelión de los Adolescentes (Teen Rebels, 1959)

Trailers announce and introduce the feature film, evoking joy and anticipation, like the buzz of an orchestra before a live performance. This trailer is the epilogue, and only surviving trace, of a youth rock film that no longer exists.  

Bellas de Noche (Beauties of the Night, 1975)

How can a film be loved and hated at the same time? Bellas de Noche was detested by critics and intellectuals, and yet one of the most successful exploitation films of its time. No official archive in Mexico houses a copy of this film. The two prints presented here were offered on donation to institutions dedicated to film preservation. Both the 16 and 35mm copies were rejected and sent back along with a letter recommending their immediate destruction.