Rebecca JanzenFeb 24, 2022
State, Church, and Film in Mexico
SUNY Press 2021
Today I spoke to Dr. Rebecca Janzen, Associate Professor of Spanish and Latin American Literature at the University of South Carolina about her book Unholy Trinity: State Church and Film in Mexico published by the State University of New York Press 2021. She says in the Introduction that her aim is not to promote religious devotion but to research how films critically engage with their context through imagery and goes on to describe how the State in Mexico has been remarkably active in creating new institutions to train filmmakers and yet the films are critiques of the “hand that feeds them”.
Through her analysis of films like Novia te vea she underlines the complexity of Mexican Catholicism, the multiple religious heritages and also how religiosity in Mexico takes important symbols from various origins –pagan – Jewish Mexican. In chapters titled “Catholicism at its Wit’s end”, she analyses films teeming with priests and brothels and underlines that these films do not reflect reality as much as the politics of the field of cultural production in which President Luis Echeverría (1970-1976) competed with the Church for the attention of the Mexican film goer. With these analyses her book moves to a telling destination.
Minni Sawhney is a professor of Hispanic Studies at the University of Delhi.