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Life Sentence (1979)

Cadena perpetua (original title)
A former felon is blackmailed by a corrupt policeman and forced to commit a crime.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Javier Lira; El Tarzan
Narciso Busquets ...
Comandante Prieto
Ernesto Gómez Cruz ...
Cabo Pantoja
Angélica Chain ...
Rosa Martinez
Ana Ofelia Murguía ...
Sra Romero
Roberto Cobo ...
Rodrigo Puebla ...
Yolanda Rigel ...
Jorge Patiño ...
Pilar Pellicer ...
Mujer de Pantoja
Ana Martín ...
Ramón Menéndez ...
Empleado del banco
Julián Pastor
Yaco Alva
Salvador Garcini


"El Tarzan" Lira is an ex-convict who decides to give up his criminal past and reform his life. However, a corrupt policeman blackmails him leaving "El Tarzan" no other option but to continue committing robberies. Adapting the genre conventions of the film noir to the Mexican context, Ripstein's film focuses on Mexican police corruption and questions the judicial system. Written by Leo Urbina

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Plot Keywords:

based on novel | See All (1) »


Crime | Drama | Thriller





Release Date:

9 August 1979 (Mexico)  »

Also Known As:

Isovia desma  »

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User Reviews

Mexican cinema maestro Arturo Ripstein shows why it is difficult for a reformed person to make progress in life.
1 October 2014 | by (Paris,France) – See all my reviews

Every human being deserves a chance to progress in life despite having had a shady past. This is the reason why many religions state that one should hate the sin and not the sinner. It is on this belief that Arturo Ripstein, Mexican cinema's greatest director has directed one of his important films "Cadena Perpetua". It can be translated as 'life imprisonment' but it is more than a simple life imprisonment as this film's protagonist Tarzan, a former thief finds himself at difficult crossroads when some corrupt policemen make their way in his life in order to disturb it. A reformed person might feel himself under the influence of being perpetually tied to chains if somebody forces him to abandon the life of goodness for a life of evil. It is often said that Ripstein's films are difficult for Mexican people to watch as he truthfully shows what is wrong with the losers who have given a bad name to Mexico. In "Cadena Perpetua", Ripstein directs his anger at corrupt police forces who seem to have prevailed in Mexico. Lastly, 'Cadena Perpetua' is an interesting film to watch as it does not propose easy solutions to problems faced by a reformed person. It is also important especially in the manner it has researched the past of a reformed criminal.

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