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NCLAFF: Pedro Infante Dressed Up as Thor: Mexican Fan Art, History, and Global Media

fan art images of Pedro Infante dressed as superheroes
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Wednesday, October 10, 2018
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1:25 pm - 2:55 pm
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Anne Rubenstein
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NC Latin American Film Festival

Lecture by Prof. Anne Rubenstein, Professor of History, York University, Toronto.

The most famous figures of Mexican film - Pedro Infante, Sara García, Jorge Negrete, Agustín Lara, María Félix, Cantinflas, Delores del Río, La India María, El Santo, Lola la Trailera - flourished in the 1950s through the 1980s, but have lived into the present. Their longevity was guaranteed by constant re-runs of their most important movies on Mexican television, and more recently through the widespread availability of (legal and illegal) digital copies globally. Mexican film and television has deployed their films and their public personae in its longstanding competition with imported media, arguing that participating in Mexican film culture was patriotic, but Mexicans who enjoyed Hollywood movies were undermining Mexican national identity.

Mexican fan art tells a different story. Rather than viewing the border between the U.S. and Mexican film industries as a site of inevitable conflict, it erases it. Art by Mexican fans keeps images of the greatest national stars in circulation by imagining these stars in the context of recent Hollywood film and television. For example, fans have drawn Pedro Infante as Thor and Ironman from the Avengers, and found a place for Lola la Trailera in the Fast and the Furious. Fans expressing their love for these stars and these narratives in visual terms again emphasizes the connections which fans draw between Mexican and Hollywood media.