El General


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Festival Year

2009 (click here to see all competition films from this year)


Documentary Competition

Non-Cast Credits

Natalia Almada, Daniela Alatorre, Natalia Almada, Chuy Chavez, Shahzad Ismaily, John Zorn, Marc Ribot, Alejandro de Icaza


How do we reconcile the contradictions between our personal family memories and our country's collective memory? When filmmaker Natalia Almada asks this question, the answer is her latest film, a tour de force of cinematic imagination bristling with beauty, contradiction, and the epic scope of Mexico's last 100 years of history. Stunningly realized, Almada's filmic meditation is framed as a search through the memory of her grandmother, whose reminiscences revolve around her father, Plutarco Elas Calles, one of Mexico's most prominent and controversial presidents. A general during the Mexican Revolution and then president from 1924 to 1928, Calles was known both for his deeds as a revolutionary hero and the brutal tactics he employed during his presidency. His life and legacy embody both the promise and betrayal of Mexico's poignant history. For Almada, the exploration of her extraordinary personal link to Mexicos past becomes a lens through which she explores the qualities of cinema that have formed the fulcrum of her artistic practice over her career. Archival and original footage, Hollywood films, and still photographs are woven with original music and meticulously edited audio archives to reveal a hypnotic and deeply compassionate portrait of the Mexican people and the forces that have shaped their country.


Cara Mertes (see other films reviewed by the same reviewer)

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