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(In)visible bodies and cultural imperialism: Jalisco canta en Sevilla/Jalisco Sings in Sevilla, Teatro Apolo/Apollo Theatre and the star discourse of Jorge Negrete in Spain

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In his two Spanish films – Jalisco canta en Sevilla/Jalisco sings in Sevilla (1948) and Teatro Apolo/Apollo Theatre (1949) – Jorge Negrete plays characters that travel to Spain for financial reasons and remain for love of a Spanish woman. This discourse legitimizes a criollo identity that removes him from the discourse of mexicanidad as defined by mestizaje. While it has been argued that the romantic relationships of these films represent a convivencia [coexistence] between Mexico and Spain, such a reading does not account for the complex identity constructions of Golden Age Mexican cinema. As Mexican identity consolidated around mestizaje, industrialization, urban migration and social mobility, Negrete’s Spanish films ignore this discourse and exclude his participation within it. I will use Said’s ‘structures of attitude and reference’ to illuminate the discourse of Hispanidad that marked the creation of these films. I aim to reveal the invisibility of the industrializing Mexican nation within them and propose that Jorge Negrete’s unique position within the discourse of Hispanidad has led to his invisibility in the scholarship of male Mexican film stars of the 1940s.
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Keywords: Golden Age Mexican cinema; Hispanidad; Jorge Negrete; Spanish cinema; cultural imperialism; masculinities

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Texas

Publication date: September 1, 2016

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