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A Revolution of Shadows: Culture and Representation in Early-Twentieth-Century Mexico

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The impact that the Mexican Revolution had on all aspects of the country's life and culture—not to mention politics—has frequently been pointed out by scholars and intellectuals. However, few studies center on the ways in which the Revolution affected gender relations, the image that Mexicans had of themselves, or how it changed their perception of the borders between popular and classical artistic expressions. Artists were generally more aware of these issues, but fewer scholars have worked with popular forms, including that quintessential art of the twentieth century—film. This essay explores the relationship between film and the other arts in the context of the Mexican Revolution and its importance for the reconfiguration of sexual and gender identity. I argue that Mexico reconsidered its cultural contradictions because narrative film made its people aware of their reality through documentaries and newsreels, as well as helping them imagine other possible worlds.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2010

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