How reviews have changed…

I have been watching and re-watching films starring María Félix. To get a sense of what others think of them, I seek out reviews. They are often illuminating and insights into the author, the time they were written, as well as adding to my understanding of the films. For this purpose, I came across these two different takes on the same film.

The New York Times review of Les Heros Sont Fatigues/Heroes and Sinners (Yves Ciampi, 1955) begins, “The French seem to be fascinated by those flea-bitten tropical ports, where the heat and humanity are oppressive and sex is rampant and raw” and continues its jaunty way through some reductive statements about European films set in Africa. It’s dismissive and a little snide, containing language that was usual then but is definitely not okay now.

José Arroyo’s take is more nuanced and gives a better sense of what the film achieved as well as some of its failings.

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