Pancho Villa y la Valentina /Pancho Villa and the Valentina

Media Type: Film

Year: 1958

Who wrote / made it : Ismael Rodríguez

Plot summary: Pancho Villa y La Valentina opens and closes with a voiceover by Pancho Villa (Pedro Armendáriz) whose decapitated head is hidden away in a foreign, rat-infested warehouse. The film takes vignettes from the life of Villa to flesh out his life story. Or, as the director tells us in a contingent and qualified intertitle at the beginning of the film, “Esta película es apenas un puñado de cuentos es los que el pueblo ha puesto su gratitud y su justicia para Pancho Villa. Yo he querido creerlos como si fueron la verdad…Y los voy a contar a mi manera” [This is but a handful of stories told by the people in which they show their gratitude and belief in the justice of Pancho Villa. I want to believe them as if they were true…And I will tell them in my own way]. What follows are 6 episodes, some are very brief. For example, the first lasts just a few minutes and shows Villa’s decision not to shoot a man who called his dog Pancho Villa, because, he concludes, it proved his admiration for the General. The final two episodes take up most of the screen time. “El Generalito” [The Little General] is about Villa’s tragic attempt to save both a small troop and a baby they find from starvation and death at enemy hands, and “La Valentina” is a re-telling of the life of a character who has attained mythical quality as a result of a popular Revolutionary corrido.

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