The Museum of Modern Art will screen the restored prints of two Latin American films as part of its To Save and Project: The 14th MoMA International Festival of Film Preservation, taking place November 2-23 in New York City. The Latin American selections are the 1935 Mexican film La familia Dressel / The Dressel Family by Fernando de Fuentes, and the 1962 Argentinean film Los venerables todos / The venerable Ones by Manuel Antín.
Fernando de Fuentes was among the most famous and versatile writer-directors of Mexican cinema’s Golden Age, etching his style on genres as varied as the Western and the musical. In his immigrant melodrama La familia Dressel, de Fuentes addresses the “problem” of the ferreteros: successful bourgeois German families who established their own self-sufficient community within Mexico City, but in doing so—it was widely felt—preserved their haughty colonialist attitudes toward the native population.
The head of the Dressel household is a proud and stubborn German matriarch who, disdainful of her son’s mixed marriage, sets out to destroy the reputation of his young wife, a Mexican radio singer (played by the beautiful and talented Consuelo Frank). The film was restored by the Cineteca Nacional de México, and will screen on DCP.
Manuel Antín’s self-described "police story without police, like all truly awful stories," stars Lautaro Murúa, Fernanda Mistral, and Leonardo Favio, and centers on a group of young Buenos Aires intellectuals who prey on the weakest of their lot.
The film’s themes of passionless cruelty and willful obedience speak to the darkening tenor of early 1960s Argentina, and they are conveyed in an enigmatic, subjective style that would become emblematic of experimental Argentine cinema and literature of the time.
Until now, the film has been more legendarily remembered than actually screened, for until 2014 the original camera negative was believed lost. This beautiful new 35mm restoration by Fernando Martin Peña for the Filmoteca Buenos Aires and overseen by the great cinematographer Ricardo Aronovich, is a coruscating vision of a nightmarish Buenos Aires that anticipates his work on Hugo Santiago’s Invasion in 1969.