La zandunga (1938) Poster


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Very good, but probably hard to see these days
shedwards-19 April 2004
I just saw this film at UW Madison's cinematheque, a showcase for rare films. It was really, really good, from the interesting storyline to the acting, though the dubbing was rather poor.

The story is centered on Lupe, played by an actress of the same name. All of the characters, but her especially, come across amazingly through the years and the cultural differences (as i'm not Mexican, nor do i know much about them). Fernando de Fuentes was a great directer, and did a wide variety of films. His love stories, such as this, are uplifting in a refreshing way that not many newer films are.

I would highly recommend it if you ever get the chance!
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Mexico's Romeo and Juliette?
zorrito19539 November 2009
This is the story of a Tehuantepec village. The character Lupita is played by Lupita Velez...hmmm. Lupita is a girl who is chased by three suiters. One has money and willing to pay for his love. The other is a home-boy all too macho and yet a gentleman. The last one is an out-of-town sailor. The problem is that women of these small cultural towns are not allowed to court, let alone marry men from the "outside". However, Lupita and the sailor do love each other, despite the cultural traditions. A machete fight is brewing because Lupita's best friend is in the process of marrying an outsider and the sailor returns to claim Lupita. Their only hope is the acalde (mayor) who must carry out the law and maintain peace. The love affair between Lupita and the sailor is similar to the problems faced by Romeo and Juliette! The story plot is great. The ending is even better with a double twist! The acting by Lupita Velez and Joaquín Pardave (mayor) is also very good. Lupita was a silent film superstar in both México and the USA (see Gaucho 1928 with D. Fairbanks). Here, not only does Lupita talk, but she also sings and dances. Lupita was Mexico's Greta Garbo who successfully transferred from the silent movies to the talkies! Lupita was Marilyn Monroe's idol and role model. And like Marilyn, Lupita had the same tragic ending.

María Luisa Zea co-stars with Lupita as her best friend. Only less than a handful of her 52 movies are available in the USA. What is interesting about her acting in this particular movie is that she does a nude scene at the river! Don't get too excited. Her very long hair covers her nipples and she shows only a couple of milliseconds of her ass. Mexico's censors were lenient until the late forties, unlike the USA which clamped down in 1934.

Bad news: the DVD by Phoenix Entertainment Group sucks! There are typos on the title screen. When opting "menu", it goes to the beginning of the DVD as if you just inserted it, instead of going directly to the menu selections, of which it only has begin movie, select chapter, and view photographs. No bios or special features! The beginning of the movie jumps and skips for milliseconds as if playing a 45rpm record while people are dancing! I wish someone like Criterion, Kino, or UCLA would fix and remaster this movie because it is worth it. La Zandunga was created at the dawn of Mexico's Golden Era. I also wish more of Lupita's movies were available. Just like María Luisa Zea, less than a handful of her 44 movies are available in the USA.
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