UNC-CH and Duke Consortium in Latin American and Caribbean Studies
Video Collection/Outreach Office
Information: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
FedEx Global Education Center
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LA NEGRA ANGUSTIAS
Directed by: Matilde
Mexican classic, by the pioneering director Matilde S. Landeta and adapted from
the novel by Francisco Rojas Gonzales, is based on the like of a mulatto woman
who served as a colonel under Emiliano Zapata during the revolution of
1910-1916. The film centers on the
struggle of Angustias to overcome the sex and race barriers to full
participation in the fight for social justice.
As a young girl, Angustias recoils form the traditional role of female
as victim and comes to identify with her father, the legendary bandit Anton
Ferriera. Harassed by the villagers for rejecting marriage, she
is eventually forced to flee after committing murder as a defense against
rape. Tougher than most of the men
inspired by her revolutionary fervor, Angustias faces her most pronounced
spiritual crisis when she falls in love with a fair-skinned aristocrat who
teaches her to read and write. In
contrast to other strong female
characters who typically renounce nonfeminine
behavior at the end of most films, Angustias overcomes her momentary
lapse and returns to her revolutionary ideals with renewed vigor.
film is engaging as a historical period piece.
It is an early Latin American film directed by a woman who attempts to
establish a parallel between sexual and racial discrimination. The film is particularly bold in its approach
to gender issues. From a 1990s
perspective, the critique of racial stereotyping comes across with less force,
in large part because Angustias and her father are played by white actors with
their skin painted black. For its period
(1940s Mexico), the film has an engaging and original plot and professional
cinematography. It should, however, be
viewed only as a period piece and will not hod up if viewers approach it with
the expectations they bring to a contemporary film. The sound quality is poor, and frequent use
of colloquialisms can be confusing for novice language students.
tape needs to placed in the contexts of both Mexican cinema and Mexican
history. Viewers should be told that
director Matilde Landeta, with the support of her brother Eduardo, was able to
maintain artistic control over the production of the film and thus it is
refreshingly daring in its approach to gender issues.
to Borrow this Video:
videos owned by the UNC-Duke Consortium in Latin American and Caribbean Studies
are housed in the Outreach Office of the University of North Carolina at Chapel
Hill. They are lent free of charge. For information on films and reservations,
please visit http://isa.unc.edu/film/films_main.asp.
Karen, ed. A Guide to Latin American, Caribbean, and U.S. Latino-Made Film
and Video. Lanham, MD. Scarecrow Press. 1998.