Cinesonidos: Film Music and National Identity During Mexico's Epoca de Oro

ISBN : 9780190671310

Jacqueline Avila
288 Pages
156 x 156 mm
Pub date
Nov 2019
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During Mexico's silent (1896-1930) and early sound (1931-52) periods, cinema saw the development of five significant genres: the prostitute melodrama (including the cabaretera subgenre), the indigenista film (on indigenous themes or topics), the cine de anoranza porfiriana (films of Porfirian nostalgia), the Revolution film, and the comedia ranchera (ranch comedy). In this book, author Jacqueline Avila looks at examples from all genres, exploring the ways that the popular, regional, and orchestral music in these films contributed to the creation of tropes and archetypes now central to Mexican cultural nationalism. Integrating primary source material-including newspaper articles, advertisements, films-with film music studies, sound studies, and Mexican film and cultural history, Avila examines how these tropes and archetypes mirrored changing perceptions of mexicanidad manufactured by the State and popular and transnational culture. As she shows, several social and political agencies were heavily invested in creating a unified national identity in an attempt to merge the previously fragmented populace as a result of the Revolution. The commercial medium of film became an important tool to acquaint a diverse urban audience with the nuances of Mexican national identity, and music played an essential and persuasive role in the process. In this heterogeneous environment, cinema and its music continuously reshaped the contested, fluctuating space of Mexican identity, functioning both as a sign and symptom of social and political change.


Chapter One: The Prostitute and the Cinematic Cabaret: Musicalizing the Fallen Woman and Mexico City's Nightlife
Chapter Two: The Salon, the Stage, and Porfirian Nostalgia
Chapter Three: The Sounds of Indigenismo: Cultural Integration and Musical Exoticism in Janitzio (1934) and Maria Candelaria (1943)
Chapter Four: The Singing Charro in the Comedia Ranchera: Music, Machismo, and the Invention of a Tradition
Chapter Five: The Strains of the Revolution: Musicalizing the Soldadera in the Revolutionary Melodrama

About the author: 

Jacqueline Avila is Associate Professor in Musicology at the University of Tennessee. Her research focuses on film music and sound practice from the silent period to present, and the intersections of cultural identity, tradition, and modernity in the Hollywood and Mexican film industries. Dr. Avila was the recipient of the UC MEXUS Dissertation Research Grant, the American Musicological Society's Howard Mayer Brown Fellowship, the UC MEXUS Postdoctoral Fellowship (2014-15), and the University of New Mexico's Robert E. Greenleaf Visiting Library Scholar Award (2016). Her publications can be found in the Journal of Film Music, Latin American Music Review, Opera Quarterly, and the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Latin American History.

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