Golden Age of Mexican cinema is well remembered today because of its different directors, photographers, music interpreters, themes, and other units which made it an unforgettable stage for the generations that have followed. However, the most memorable unit, the one that still remains in the popular mind is unquestionably the actor’s performance. Whenever a movie comes to a conversation the actor is an immediate reference of the movie; their presence is so important that it makes the movie be a success or a failure. Cantinflas, Maria Felix, Jorge Negrete, Joaquin Pardavé, Tin-Tan and the most popular, Pedro Infante are well-remembered actors from that golden age still yearned for many of us . What is noticeable here, is that all of them are adults but what about children, teenagers, or young adults actors?, Aren’t they important?, Have they just performed as extras?, for instance, “La Tuzita” in “Los Tres Huastecos” (Ismael Rodriguez,1948). The following lines present three distinguished Mexican movies which plot is totally dependent on either children or youngsters’ performances. Such movies are: “El niño y el muro/The child and the wall” (Ismael Rodriguez, 1964), “Yanco” (Servando González, 1961.) and “Los Olvidados”/ “The Young and the Damned” (Luis Buñuel, 1955.).
The child and the wall.
Once Pedro Infante died, Ismael Rodriguez tried to gain some credit for the new type of movies he shot, though, it was a difficult task for him, to almost start over as director, he made couple of movies that reached the quality he scope in his Infantian times. One of those memorable movies is “El niño y el muro” (1964); It’s all about tenderness, discovery and fear because everything in this movie is seen through the eyes of an innocent child named Dieter(starred by Nino del Arco) who accidentally loses his ball when playing around with it , consequently, in his attempts to get it back he realizes about a different part of his reality that is hidden behind a wall set in Berlin after the Second World War.
The second movie chosen for this review, antecessor of the Ismael Rodriguez’ story, is “Yanco”, made in 1961 by Servando Gonzalez, who chose contemporary mexican settings of those days to visually tell the story about a little boy (Ricardo Ancona) who can’t go against his natural passion towards music; he’s starting to develop his musical talent helped by an old violinist who lives in the outskirts of the village. It’s interesting to see how Juanito overcomes different difficulties to sooth his wishes towards music. Though not recognized, Yanco is an unforgettable movie that If hadn’t been for the ARIEL’s awards deferral, it would have surely been multi-awarded in 1960.
The Young and the Damned.
By the 50’s, most of the directors had exploited the Mexican theme about charros, white humor and revolution, that was still a national pride. Luis Buñuel, decides to make a movie about the underground Life-style of some adolescents who live in the rural face of a modern Mexico City. Extreme realism is for me is the best definition of the movie, since Buñuel had to really do research about actual people who lived in those rustic places. The story is focused on the conflict between Pedro (Alfonso Mejía) and his karmatic antagonist “El Jaibo”(Roberto Cobo) . It’s got a tragic ending that impacted the sensitive public who watched it around recently shot, nevertheless, in the last decades the movie has been quite worldly praised, for instance, it was considered in 1994 by the famous magazine “Somos” as the second best Mexican movie of all times and in 2005 the UNESCO declared it “Memory of the World”.
The 3 movies currently reviewed are just a part of the Mexican cinema world, there are surely more movies related to children, however, the ones presented above are undeniably quite representative not only for the movies that have to do with young actors but for the whole cinema world.