Press Releases  ·  19 | 01 | 2023

Locarno76 Retrospective: “Espectáculo a diario” will be a dive into popular Mexican cinema

The 76th Locarno Film Festival (Aug. 2-12, 2023) will offer an unprecedented overview of popular Mexican film production between the 1940s and 1960s, featuring 36 films, many never seen and all to be discovered.

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Guillermo Del Toro, Alfonso Cuarón and Alejandro González Iñárritu are only a few of the leading lights to make up the global reputation of Mexican cinema today. The visionary gaze of this filmmaking generation is rooted in a rich tradition of popular cinema, as beloved at home as it is little known and studied abroad, and to which the Locarno Film Festival will pay tribute during its upcoming edition.

Espectáculo a diario  – Las distintas temporadas del cine popular mexicano” (Spectacle Every Day – The Many Seasons of Mexican Popular Cinema) will be an in-depth exploration of film production in Mexico from the 1940s to the 1960s, three decades of exceptional creativity populated by screen gods and goddess and extraordinary filmmakers that have inspired subsequent generations of moviegoers.  The second Retrospective of the Locarno Film Festival dedicated to Mexican cinema – the first being in 1957 – is curated by Olaf Möller with the collaboration of Roberto Turigliatto and will showcase works by Emilio Fernández, Alejandro Galindo, Chano Urueta, Miguel Melitón Delgado, Juan Bustillo Oro, Gilberto Martinez Solares, as well as many others, and will present 36 rare films, including never-before-seen titles, all to be discovered.


Our wish is to alter the perceptions around such a rich and important film and cultural output. As new and greater levels of post-colonial awareness take hold, these films, which have escaped the attention of international cinephiles so far, deserve to be discovered and have their full value recognized, as instances of a crucial movement of cultural and creative independence, of linguistic and formal originality. There’s a whole world waiting to be rediscovered here: musicals, comedies, professional wrestling, vampires, detectives and monsters, revolutionary melodramas, film noir and bullfighting. From sci-fi to horror, from crime thrillers to religious films. All the colors of Mexican cinema in one Retrospective.” Giona A. Nazzaro, Artistic Director of the Locarno Film Festival

A collection of essays detailing historical account and critical appraisal of this cinema will be edited by Olaf Möller, co-curator of the Retrospective:
“We will be presenting films by the great masters of the period, but also minor filmmakers and their stand-out titles across multiple genres. Above all, we hope to show the symbiotic rapport between highbrow and lowbrow, and how a film culture with confidence in its audience could dare to be just about anything, and achieve whatever it wanted to attempt.” 


The Retrospective, curated by writer, programmer and film critic Olaf Möller, with the participation of film critic Roberto Turigliatto, is organized by the Locarno Film Festival in collaboration with the Retrospective official partners, the Cinémathèque Suisse and MUBI. MUBI, the global streaming service, production company and film distributor, will present a focus on Mexican cinema on their platform, during the month of August: a celebration of the Retrospective that will digitally expand its boundaries. The Retrospective is also made possible by the support of major film institutions in Mexico such as the Cineteca Nacional México, the Filmoteca UNAM, the Instituto Mexicano de Cinematografía (IMCINE) and Permanencia Voluntaria archivo cinematográfico.

Following its presentation in Locarno, the Retrospective will travel on a circuit of prestigious venues, thanks to the participation of swiss and international institutions.