Tonight’s screening takes place at Plaza Fiesta, aka Fiesta Marketplace on the corner of Fourth & French streets. A silent film is shown prior to the eight o’clock screening, Memorias de un mexicano (Memories of a Mexican). Tonight’s event is shown outdoors at the grounds at which the old store El Faisán used to stand and near Teatro Fiesta, the theater where the 2004 and 2005 Orange County Latino Film Festivals were held.
Memorias de un mexicano is a documentary with footage the spans fifty years. The earliest shots were taken in 1897. The bulk of the film tells the story of the Mexican Revolution, which began in 1910. The selection of this film falls in line with the yearlong celebrations of the Bicentennial of the Declaration of Mexican Independence, and the Centennial of the Mexican Revolution. The City of Santa Ana gave the festival, and the thematic content of it found in this film, its stamp of approval in the form of the official seal of the city as part of the annual Fiestas Patrias. That and this is also a crucial election year, probably a more important election year than in years past. But more about the movie…
The narrator functions as a primary source, as he tells of his first-hand experience following the rise to power of Francisco Madero, the popular revolutionary leader that was betrayed by his general Victoriano Huerta. Madero’s rally through the Mexican countryside is thoroughly well documented through exhaustive footage of his travels by train from northern Mexico and south into Mexico City where he was anticipated and received with great jubilee.
Subsequent political struggles post-Madero are also mentioned, through a veritable whirlpool of a political vacuum played out through the ambitions of Venustiano Carranza, Álvaro Obregón, Plutarco Elías Calles, Francisco Villa, and Emiliano Zapata.