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These Ruins That You See (1979)

Estas ruinas que ves (original title)
A literature teacher in Mexico City decides to move back to his hometown. Even before reaching his destination, complications arise. Once in Cuévano he gets quickly enmeshed by the social climate of the town.


Julián Pastor


Jorge Ibargüengoitia (novel), Jorge Patiño (screenplay)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Pedro Armendáriz Jr. ... Raymundo Rocafuerte
Fernando Luján ... Paco Aldebarán
Guillermo Orea ... Isidro Malagón
Ariadne Welter Ariadne Welter ... Doña Elvira Rapacejo de Revirado
Víctor Junco ... Dr. Revirado
Grace Renat Grace Renat ... Sarita Espinoza
Rafael Banquells ... Rector Sebastián Montaña
Roberto Dumont Roberto Dumont ... Esteban Espinoza
Jorge Patiño Jorge Patiño ... Carlitos Mendieta
Roberto Cobo ... Ricardo Pórtico
Blanca Guerra ... Gloria Revirado
Josefina Echánove ... Irma Bandala
Adriana Parra Adriana Parra ... Justine Pórtico
Francisco Llopis Francisco Llopis ... Pelón Padilla (as Paco Llopis)
Ignacio Villarias Ignacio Villarias ... Joven Angarica


A literature teacher in Mexico City decides to move back to his hometown. Even before reaching his destination, complications arise. Once in Cuévano he gets quickly enmeshed by the social climate of the town.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama







Release Date:

30 August 1979 (Mexico) See more »

Also Known As:

These Ruins That You See See more »

Filming Locations:

Guanajuato, Guanajuato, Mexico See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


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Did You Know?


Based on the novel "Estas ruinas que ves" de Jorge Ibargüengoitia, who was actually born in Guanajuato, Mexico. See more »


Spoofs Jules and Jim (1962) See more »

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User Reviews

Good adaptation of the 1974 novel of the same name by Jorge Ibargüengoita.
25 July 2014 | by gomezjjSee all my reviews

Ibargüengoita was born in the colonial town of Guanajuato. Once the head of a flourishing mining district, and now the capitol city of Guanajuato state, it is identified in the movie as "Cuévano, Cue." The author captures life in small towns. Everybody who is somebody, including the governor, knows about each other's secrets. Some of the dialogues are taken almost verbatim from the novel, but the finer points inevitably suffer.

For instance, when Prof. Aldebarán and Sarita —Espinoza's wife— enter in an adulterous relationship, Aldebarán reflects: "no husband was more respected in adultery as Espinoza. Sarita was a model of discretion, never speaking about his smelling feet. In turn, I refrained from mentioning his pedantry, stinginess, and his habit of presenting himself as a victim when it suited him: if heavy lifting was in order, he had a hernia; if a restaurant bill was to be settled, they had left him with no change, etc." Also, when friend Malagón makes a move of his own on Sarita, husband Espinoza demands an immediate apology, but as the lover, Aldebarán is also outraged but has to keep quiet. These thoughts are absent from the film.

The novel's characters are delightful. Dr. Revirado, the successful and rich surgeon, friend to the governor; Elvira, his combative wife; Gloria, their beautiful and engaged daughter; Rocafuerte, Gloria's husband-to-be; principal Montaña, Cuévano's university head and its most famous lawyer; Prof. Espinoza, in charge of the philosophy department; his wife Sarita, always carrying his husband's heavy suitcases; the newcomer Prof. Aldebarán, a Cuévano native, now in charge of the literature Dept.; Carlos Mendieta, Cuévano most renowned painter; Isidro Malagón, Cuévano's chronicler and historian; and Ricardo Pórtico and his wife Justine, friends to them.

Key to the plot is Malagón's revelation to Prof. Aldebarán about Gloria Revirado's sick heart that will kill her when her first orgasm comes. Aldebarán, who lusts after her, worries about the perspective of her untimely death.

I recommend reading Ibargüengoita's short novel in order to get the best of the movie. Ibargüengoita proved capable of turning almost any story into a comedy, as he did in two other novels with México's struggle for independence (Los Pasos de López), and with the social phenomenon of the Poquianchis, a murderous clan of sisters "madrotas" —female pimps— who killed dozens of prostitutes and some of their wealthy patrons, and buried them in their backyard.

In all, a good movie.

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