Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Águila o sol + The Formation of a National Cinema Audience

The Formation of a National Cinema Audience provided a lot of the historical and cultural background that helped me achieve a better understanding of the film Águila o sol. To start off, I would like to point out a few points that I found interesting in the reading. On page 73, it says, “the cinema represented a new point of contact in this hierarchical society … Aurelio de los Reyes invokes an audience scenario that reveals not only that the new invention cut across class divisions, but also that it was a pleasure in which women could legitimately indulge…” Although I am already aware of the influence of media on the society nowadays, I still find it amazing how cinema critically contributed to the merging different social classes in Mexico. On top of merging social classes, it is amazing that cinema also contributed to the gender equality between men and women. In the film Águila o sol, the audience within the film did include more than one social class and female participation was also present. Moreover, I also found “suicide rate and alcoholism was noted to decline in the early decades of the twentieth century, as this pastime became an increasingly popular form of family entertainment” very impressive. I wonder if our cinema today still has this kind of positive influence on us.

In the reading, the author also noted that the most popular comedians were the ones who played “roguish characters embodying elements modeled on the popular audiences” including their “modes of speech, dress and social conduct” (77). This point is evident in the film that we watched in class. When Polito was acting on stage within the movie, he dressed like a lower social class and also talked like a lower class. I did not notice many people from the audience within the film that dressed like him, most of them dressed like middle class, but they were enjoying the show nonetheless. Does it mean that the class distinction between lower and middle class wasn’t that great? Overall I enjoyed the movie, except for some parts where they spoke very fast and I had some difficulty understanding what they were saying.


  1. The anecdote on the decline rates of alcoholism and suicide is one that I found really interesting too. I had not thought of the movie showing a means in which women of the time could indulge, but I find it to be a good point.

  2. I think that when they're entertaining the audience it's supposed to depict the lowly entertainers performing for a stuffy, upper-class audience, as if these performers are their employees, paid to satisfy. Though there may have been more of a middle class in Mexico during the time the film was made, I highly doubt that the audience members were representing very middle-class people. To my knowledge, there has never been a truly prominent middle class in Mexico, at least not in the way that the US or Canada has known.