Program Notes: Kiss of the Spider Woman

Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985), directed by Hector Babenco.

Program Notes by María Elena de las Carreras, Ph.D.

Los Angeles, April 2018


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Q&A with Saul Kak, Co-Director of La Selva Negra


On Friday, Sept. 8, Latin American Cinemateca of Los Angeles (LACLA) presented Cine Sin Fronteras, featuring a screening of Refugio and La Selva Negra at Consulado General de México en Los Ángeles.

In an exclusive interview with Marvin Vasquez on, La Selva Negra co-director Saúl Kak discusses the film in detail.

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La muerte de un burócrata essay by María Elena de las Carreras, Ph.D.

La muerte de un burócrata Death of a Bureaucrat (Cuba, 1966), directed by Tomás Gutiérez Alea


Program notes by María Elena de las Carreras, Ph.D.      

March 2017


“Had Kafka been a Cuban, instead of being a writer of the absurd, he world have been a writer of customs and manners” – Virgilio Piñera

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El Rey del Barrio


El rey del barrio (1950), with Germán Valdés – Tin Tan

El rey del barrio, one of the most successful comedies of Mexico’s Golden Age, stars Germán Valdés, or rather “Tin Tan”, the name of his famous and still very modern screen character.

By María Elena de las Carreras, Ph.D.
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Metro Art Moves - Spanish and English Language Metro Art and Architecture Tours


Metro Art Moves is a free series of regularly scheduled and special tours of artwork in the Metro Rail system. Regular tours are led by trained Metro Art Docent Council volunteers and provide insights into the artworks, artists and art-making processes. Special tours heighten the passenger experience in novel and engaging ways through the perspective, experience and knowledge of artists and cultural experts. Tours are free. Reservations are not required.

Remaining Union Station tours for 2016 (in Spanish and English):

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Dos tipos de cuidado

Dos tipos de cuidado (1953), directed by Ismael Rodríguez, with Pedro Infante and Jorge Negrete

By María Elena de las Carreras, Ph.D.
May 2016
Dos tipos de cuidado [Two Troublemakers] is considered one of the best of examples of comedia ranchera, the hugely popular genre of Mexican cinema’s Golden Age. For the first and only time, a film paired two singers and movie stars of phenomenal wattage: Jorge Negrete and Pedro Infante. It would be Negrete’s last film before his untimely death in Los Angeles in 1953, and one of Infante’s most affectionate representations of Mexican manhood, before his also untimely death in a plane crash in 1957.
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El gran calavera

El gran calavera (The Great Madcap, 1949), directed by Luis Buñuel

By María Elena de las Carreras, PhD

April 2014


Among the thirty-two films directed by the Spanish-born iconoclast Luis Buñuel between 1929 and 1977, in France, Mexico and Spain, El gran calavera is perhaps the most undiluted comedy of his career. The filmmaker called películas alimenticias (bread-and-butter films) those projects he directed from the late forties throughout the fifties, as an exile after the Spanish Civil War, first in the U.S. and then in Mexico, in need to feed his family. The adjective in Spanish is used both ironically and seriously, because these pictures allowed for his filmmaking career to resume after a long hiatus, started by two still shocking Surrealist films in France, Un chien andalou (1929) and L’age d’or (1930) and the no less disturbing documentary Las Hurdes - Land without Bread (1933). The huge commercial success of El gran calavera made possible Los olvidados (1950), an unsentimental and brutal chronicle about children in the slums of Mexico City. (Amores perros (2000) is, in part, Alejandro González Iñárritu’s conversation with Buñuel fifty years later about those in the fringes of society).

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