Visual Cultures Workshop: The Revolutionary Family and the Tlatelolco Massacre in Rojo Amanecer (1990)


Location: Zoom

Pliego Campos Noe Headshot For Web

Noe Pliego Campos

Jorge Fons’s 1990 film Rojo Amanecer (Red Dawn) is the first fictional film to directly address the 1968 Tlatelolco Massacre. As such, it is a cornerstone in studying representations of the 1968 Mexican student movement, which disrupted the Revolutionary Family—a political metaphor that explains the relationship between the fragmented and contradictory, but ultimately powerholding Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) and Mexican citizens from 1929-2000. On the one hand, the PRI represents a benevolent, but strict patriarch. On the other hand, citizens embody children that need to be protected and provided for. Examining the gender and class dynamics at play in Rojo Amanecer, I argue that the central multi-generational, middle-class family reinforces and complicates this metaphor. Critics of the film dislike Fons’s decision to not show the violence on the Plaza. I contend that the socio-political context in which the screenwriting and filmmaking were done impacted Fons’s depiction of the Massacre.

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