Cuartelazo / Military Coup

Media Type: Film

Year: 1976

Who wrote / made it : Alberto Isaac

Plot summary: “Lo unico que nos enseña la historia es que el hombre no aprende nada de la historia…” [the only thing history teaches us is that man learns nothing from history…] appears before the opening credits and sets the tone of the film. It opens in the Panteon de Coyoacán in 1914 and the disappearance of Belisario Dominguez (Héctor Ortega). The voiceover tells us that it is the story of a turbulent episode in Mexican history. Shot in Black and White, Dominguez is represented as a the voice of the people, in particular the poor and indigenous. As is noted in this post (http://terpconnect.umd.edu/~dwilt/cuartel.htm) it is episodic in nature with a complex structure and overly preoccupied with the faithful reproduction of long speeches. It is a film that gets lost in the detail of its historical accuracy to the detriment of plot and drama. The other principal characters are Sebastián Quiroga (Arturo Beristaín) and the recurrent Revolutionary bad guy, Victoriano Huerta (Bruno Rey). The film ends at the troops entry into Mexico City, for what would be the ‘decena trágica’, or the tragic ten days, which shook the capital. It is a well shot, atmospheric film, that is overladen with speeches, more of an intellectual exploration than a compelling narrative.

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