La Valentina

Media Type: Film

Year: 1965

Who wrote / made it : Rogelio A. González

Plot summary: La Valentina (Rogelio A. González, 1965) stars María Félix as the eponymous heroine. By the mid-sixties, the subject of the Revolution has become tired. Instead of being the great heroine of the battlefield, La Valentina becomes a typical ‘raptada’ [stolen woman]. She is taken from her home by Genovevo Cruz García (Eulalio González ‘Piporro’) on behalf of an Orozquista General. The story takes a typical trajectory of a ‘rapto’ [kidnap]. García and La Valentina soon come into conflict, she is not a passive victim.  They physically and verbally fight, she tries to escape, there are several slapstick episodes and the two fall in love, or more precisely, have sex in a cave, within earshot of her father (José Elías Moreno) who is relieved that she is not ‘salada’ [fruity]. It is a film which becomes about a father’s concern that his daughter will lose her virginity, with the Revolution as a picturesque backdrop and a convenient plot device. Her only real engagement with the Revolutionary struggle is as an arms dealer, therefore, any resemblance to the historical La Valentina is in name alone. La Valentina’s father’s fears are based on the unfortunate events surrounding her marriage. This is told in the opening sequence in the film. It shows her wedding and the subsequent death of her husband who is shot before consummating the marriage. Then, when La Valentina is raptada and retains her virginity her father becomes suspicious. The implication is that rather than lose face at having his daughter’s innocence despoiled, he feels that the family’s honour might be lost at her possibly being a lesbian. Delighted that this doesn’t arise the issue is resolved. Her father’s suspicions at her sexual orientation are also seen to be based on her feisty character, which could be read as ‘masculine’ behaviour. The message in the film is that here is another woman who needs to be controlled by a powerful man.  Yet, this is María Félix renowned  for being powerful in all of her roles, which counteracts this conservative message.

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