Latin American Film

Last week Tod Davies showed us a clip from Buñuel’s DISCREET CHARM OF THE BOURGOISIE in which the Ambassador of Miranda, played by Fernando Rey, is repeatedly insulted by dinner party guests who have no idea where his country is. Ah, your pyramids! The Pampas! No, the pyramids are in Mexico and Guatemala; the Pampas are in Argentina…

Miranda is an imaginary country, but its Ambassador is right to complain. Outside Latin America, very little is known of Latin America, even though more than 600 million people reside there, a third of whom speak Portugese. Of the remaining 400 million, most speak Spanish, though there are also more than ten million Quechua and Aymara speakers, six million speakers of Mayan languages, five million Guarani speakers, and two million Nahuatl speakers. As President Ronald Reagan famously observed after a trip to Latin America in 1982, “You’d be surprised. They’re all individual countries.” And indeed they are!

Latin American cinema really began with the advent of sound, which meant that domestic producers could create work focused on, and understood by, a local audience. Most countries saw some film production, and some smaller industries developed – for example, in Peru and Colombia, and in Cuba after the 1959 revolution. The three main producing countries were – and are – Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil. Of the three the one I know the best is Mexico. I have been an actor, a director, and a second unit director there. So most of the films I’ll discuss will be Mexican ones.

The first clip we’ll see is from VAMONOS CON PANCHO VILLA! / LET’S GO WITH PANCHO VILLA! (Mexico, 1936), directed by Fernando de Fuentes. It is a war film, telling the story of six men who enlist in Pancho Villa’s Division del Norte during the Mexican Revolution. All but one of them is killed, in increasingly senseless ways. The film was funded by the Mexican government, and Pancho Villa is treated ambiguously – he’s an inspirational and successful leader, but also a macho and a killer, who cares nothing for the lives of his own men. In a scene which de Fuentes cut from the final version, Villa orders his troops to murder the sole survivor’s family, so that the man will follow him on another mission. That scene survives on the DVD as an additional element. VAMONOS CON PANCHO VILLA! may seem crude, by our sophisticated standards, but it was a serious achievement for a nascent film industry to produce an epic on this scale.

VAMONOS CON PANCHO VILLA ushered in what is known as the Golden Age of Mexican cinema. Government support for the cinema increased as film was recognized as a tool of state projects which included modernization, education, and the promotion of a “national” identity. In the 1940s, one director became identified – nationally and internationally – with Mexican cinema and the telling of specifically Mexican stories: Emilio Fernandez. Fernandez was known as “El Indio” – his father was of European extraction, his mother a Kikapú Indian. Fernandez worked frequently with the cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa and developed a vision of Mexico which resembled the mise-en-scene of the Russian director, Sergei Eisenstein. Eisenstein had begun a feature film there, QUE VIVA MEXICO! (Russia/Mexico, 1930), only to run out of money and abandon it the following year. Though incomplete, the footage from QUE VIVA MEXICO! was used for several short films, and the film acquired a legendary reputation. Figueroa also won a scholarship to go to the United States and be the apprentice of Gregg Toland, who shot CITIZEN KANE.

Figueroa combined the graphic rural compositions of Eisenstein with Toland’s deep focus and dramatic interior lighting. His vision of Mexico is as highly regarded today as that of the Mexican muralists – including Diego Riviera – who were his contemporaries and friends. A good example of this style is the credit sequence of ENAMORADA / WOMAN IN LOVE (Mexico, 1946): it introduces the principal characters, featuring striking, low-angle, wide-angle shots framed by agave cactus.

Fernandez also wrote and directed RIO ESCONDIDO (Mexico, 1948), the story of an idealistic young teacher, played by Maria Felix, who is one of many sent by the President of Mexico to set up schools and educate children in distant provinces. Her mission is opposed by the local Presidente Municipal, who oppresses the local people for his personal gain. Rosaura, the teacher, defies him, sets up a school, and rids the village of smallpox. In return, Don Regino murders adopted her son and attempts to rape her. Rosaura shoots him dead, but suffers a heart attack. She survives long enough to receive a letter from the President, congratulating her.

Emilio Fernandez played the macho role for everything it was worth. He declared himself the incarnation of Mexican film (“Yo soy el cine Mexicano!”), threatened a journalist with a gun, and shot another man. Yet his films feature strong female characters who oppose and defeat their male oppressors, or die trying. He was more complicated than the macho bandit generals and caciques he played in later years, when directing jobs were harder to come by. The image of El Indio was the macho par excellence, but his filmmaking message was feminist. RIO ESCONDIDO begins with a title explaining that “This story is not about the Mexico of today,” but it clearly is. Fernandez tells the tale of an unfinished Revolution, whose promises of education, healthcare, and equality have not yet been fulfilled. The film’s villain is a governmental functionary – the mayor. So, despite being lionized and self-identifying as the essence of Mexican cinema, by the late 1950s, Fernandez’ vision of things and the government’s had diverged.

By the 1950s, the public’s interest in rural dramas such as these had faded. People were leaving the country and moving into the big cities; urban dramas became popular. One of these was LOS OLVIDADOS (Mexico, 1950), directed by Luis Buñuel. Buñuel, of course, was the director of UN CHIEN ANDALOU and L’AGE D’OR. He had joined the fight against Franco in the Spanish Civil War, fled Spain, and found work in New York and Los Angeles. Losing both jobs, he moved to Mexico, where he became a film director again.

As with RIO ESCONDIDO, LOS OLVIDADOS opens with a disclaimer, insisting that this is not specific; these problems happen everywhere; accompanied by shots of New York, London and Paris. But LOS OLVIDADOS is specific: a story of street children and other very poor people living on the edge of Mexico City. It was recognized as great film, winning Buñuel the “best director” award at Cannes the following year. El Indio Fernandez had also won the Grand Prize at Cannes for MARIA CANDELARIA (Mexico, 1946) and in both cases the foreign award increased their status at home. Buñuel was Spanish, but Mexico City became home for him and he lived the rest of his life there. After his career re-ingited with the move to Mexico, he directed 21 features there, three in Spain, and five in France. Fernandez’ career waned, as Buñuel became Mexico’s best-known, most highly-regarded director. But Buñuel, too, struggled to get good budgets, and did, at times, complain about the production circumstances in Mexico. He regretted, in his memoirs, that the actors had all had to use the same fine-linen napkin for their closeups in EXTERMINATING ANGEL (Mexico, 1962), because the production could only afford one.

Buñuel appreciated the European crews and customs he encountered filming DISCREET CHARM at a studio in Paris. By the early 1960s, Mexico’s cinema – like all of Latin America’s – was an artistic culture of scarcity, in which amazing things had to be done with little or no resources. EXTERMINATING ANGEL is an example of the brilliance and resourcefulness of the Mexican cinema – and also of its boldness, since it is a film no European producer would have made. It is the story of some wealthy urbanites who gather for dinner, only to discover that they cannot leave the dining room. Days pass. Order, decency and sanity break down. No reason is given.

Buñuel said, “The characters in UN CHIEN ANDALOU are enclosed in a room where they torment each other; the protagonist of L’AGE D’OR is waging a one-man war against society, and society fights back; the kids in LOS OLVIDADOS fight and kill each other … The characters in EXTERMINATING ANGEL don’t leave because they can’t leave, without ever knowing why. In Sartre’s play [Huis Clos / No Exit] they do know; they are dead, and they are in hell. The entire premise is different. My apologies to Sartre, but I think there is more mystery in EXTERMINATING ANGEL.”
Colina & Perez Turrent, Objects of Desire: Conversations with Luis Buñuel, pg. 193

Latin American cinema is hard to separate from the European filmmakers who became part of it, like Buñuel; from the American and Russian filmmakers who influenced it, like Orson Welles and Sergei Eisenstein; and those who took advantage of the continent’s visual beauty and storytelling potential to make Hollywood movies and impose their own visions – just as the Spanish conquistadores, the US Marines, the United Fruit Company, and the CIA had done, in pursuit of global visions of their own.

In 1959, a Revolution in Cuba led to the state’s seizure of farms and factories, including film laboratories, and in very few years to the first-ever third-world, leftist film industry. Given the constant US embargo and a series of terrorist attacks, in particular the attempted invasion at the Bay of Pigs, developing a working film industry was a very difficult thing. But the Cubans managed it. In the early 1960s a small team of Russian filmmakers went to Cuba and, using a Cuban cast and crew, shot a narrative drama which celebrated the island and its Revolution: SOY CUBA (Russia/Cuba, 1964). The film features some remarkable long takes, shot on infra-red film, big crowd scenes, and ambitious battle sequences. Here is a glimpse of it.

How do you make a revolution without murdering your enemies? That difficult question is addressed here. But Cuban cinema wasn’t only for visiting Russian directors. An industry of native writers, producers and directors soon appeared. LUCIA (Cuba, 1968), directed by Humberto Solás, is the story of three different women, all named Lucía, from different periods in Cuban history, shot is completely different cinematic styles. MEMORIES OF UNDERDEVELOPMENT (Cuba, 1968), directed by Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, tells the tale of a womanizing writer who remains in Cuba after his wife and friends flee to the US to escape the hardships of the Revolution. These and other Cuban films were screened internationally and won prizes at festivals. Despite the US embargo, they were even shown in the United States.

Cuban cinema was internationally celebrated, and yet, in our text book, there is no mention of it. SOY CUBA, Gutiérrez Alea, Solás, according to William H. Phillips and his Film: An Introduction, none of these exist. Cuba doesn’t even appear as a place-name, in his index. And yet, if we turn to Phillips’ time-line, we read that Fidel Castro became premier of Cuba after a successful Revolution in 1959, and that the US sponsored the Bay of Pigs invasion. Alea’s fourth Cuban feature, MEMORIES OF UNDERDEVELOPMENT, is mentioned in the timeline, but nowhere in the book’s text.

As far as the book and its author are concerned, Cuba exists as a nation of minor political note, whose cinema is unworthy of discussion. Whereas our own Stan Brakhage, an American experimentalist, receives five pages of citations in the index, and multiple mentions in Phillips’ “films and videos” timeline. Of course, everyone has a political point of view, and personal preferences. But to privilege the tiny world of American “experimental” art cinema over the original third-world cinema movement, isn’t just a matter of taste. It is a matter of deliberate obfuscation. In other words, a form of censorship.

Our textbook is even worse regarding events in Nicaragua in the 1980s. Nicaragua (a country of three million inhabitants at the time) is portrayed as a menacing threat in Phillips’ timeline, but its cinema is entirely ignored.  The feature I made there and LOS OLVIDADOS are part of the same phenomenon: that of the visiting European filmmaker who comes to tell a Latin American tale. Another example of this form is AGUIRRE – THE WRATH OF GOD (Germany/Peru, 1972), directed by one of the guiding lights of the New German Cinema, Werner Herzog. Herzog journeyed with a small crew and a large cast to the Peruvian Amazon to make a bio-pic about a little-known Spanish conquistador, Don Lope de Aguirre. It is a given that when foreigners make a film in Latin America, they will miscast it. American Westerns went out of their way to cast Greeks, Puerto Ricans, and Polish-Americans as Mexicans. AGUIRRE is a mish-mosh of Mexican, Cuban and European actors – yet its principal act of “miscasting” – Klaus Kinski in the role of the Spaniard Aguirre – is utterly inspired. Kinski was a blond German actor who became famous playing bad guys in Italian Westerns: he was the leader of the gang of killers in IL GRANDE SILENZIO. Kinski wasn’t Spanish, didn’t look the least bit Spanish, and he and his entire party speak German. But he was also one of the most intense, entirely engaged film actors ever. Kinski’s performance in AGUIRRE is perhaps the best work he ever did.

Werner Herzog later made a documentary about Kinski, MY BEST FIEND (Germany, 1999), in which he portrayed the actor as a maniac. But Klaus Kinski was also the loyalest of actors, whom Herzog could frequently count on to endure difficult conditions, and to step in and replace other movie stars, when they quit – as both Mick Jagger and Jason Robards did during the filming of Herzog’s FITZCARRALDO (Germany/Peru 1982).

WALKER, written by Rudy Wurlitzer and produced by Lorenzo O’Brien, was shot in Nicaragua in 1987. It came about this way:

“We were on our way to Nicaragua to join one of those left-wing tours. If you’ve ever been on one, you’ll know what I mean. A group of 11 or 12 visits the Human Rights Commission and the Children’s Hospital and the Opposition Newspaper, and spends a lot of time sitting on a bus. The itinerary was boring, but the people and the place were not. Nicaragua is magnificently lush, dusty, and impoverished. Its inhabitants are imbued with a sense of optimism and determination … displaying a sense of self-worth that comes only after you overthrow a fascist dynasty which has bled your country dry for fifty years.

“We were there for the Nicaraguan Elections (the first democratic elections since the US Marines invaded in the 1920s), and Managua [the capital city] was packed with journalists and observers from the European Parliament: hence, our little party spent its evenings in the cities of Granada and Leon, where there were still hotel beds available. One night in Leon, we got talking with two young guys who had been fighting the contras [a terrorist army funded by the drug trade and the US taxpayer] in the north. At this time the contra war was three years old.

“Both were 18, and both were wounded. One had shrapnel in his stomach, the other had lost an eye. Now they were waiting for a place at agriculture school. They asked us what we did. I said I was a filmmaker, and they said, ‘Why don’t you come down here and make a film?’ I started a rambling series of excuses – it costs a lot to make films, I am a poor man, etc. – but they cut me off. ‘Bullshit. You come from the land of money. If you are intelligent, you can come back here and make a film’.”
(from my notes for the UK release of WALKER, 1989)

WALKER (Nicaragua/USA, 1987), the film which I directed as a result of this conversation, is one of several features made in Nicaragua during the 1980s. Nicaragua is a small, very poor country in Central America. Prior to the 1980s a grand total of two films were shot there. But the Sandinista Revolution which in 1979 overthrew a dictator, Somoza, inspired many hopes. Even though Nicaragua was extremely poor, for the first time there was state money for the arts. Not a lot – things like health care, education, and national defence were considered more important. But Nicaraguan films were at last being made. And foreign filmmakers were drawn to Nicaragua, because of the political situation, and the positive changes taking place.

Among the films made in Nicaragua at this time were EL SEÑOR PRESIDENTE (France/Cuba/Nicaragua, 1983), LATINO (US/Nicaragua,1985), directed by the American cinematographer, Haskell Wexler, ALSINO AND THE CONDOR (Argentina/Nicaragua, 1983), and SANDINO (Spain/Nicaragua, 1990), both ambitious, big pictures, directed by a Chilean, Miguel Littín. Like WALKER, these were international co-productions with the finance coming from abroad, and the Nicaraguans providing crews, logistics, locations, extras, construction and accommodation. But the Nicas also made multi-subject documentaries called noticieros , and at least one entirely Nicaraguan dramatic feature, EL ESPECTRO DE LA GUERRA / THE SPECTRE OF WAR (Nicaragua, 1988), directed by Ramiro Lacayo.

According to Wikipedia en español, the 1980s was the época de oro del cine nicaraguense: the golden age of Nicaraguan cinema. It was good to be part of that. WALKER was filmed during a time of war, with mostly American, European, and Mexican actors, and a largely Mexican/Nicaraguan crew. In theory, it takes place in the 1850s, but as the story progresses the viewer encounters numerous things that don’t belong back then. These are anachronisms. Their purpose is to suggest a connection between this long-ago bio-pic and the present day.

Does it succeed? Do the anachronisms help or hinder the picture? Does the film make sense, or is it just a lot of mayhem? Does a bio-pic set in the mid-nineteenth century, made in the late twentieth, have any relevance today?

Today, Latin American cinema continues to be made for the domestic market, though the number of films grows less as the state support lessens and competition from American films and domestic television increases. Occassionally a Latin American film will break into the international distribution market: AMORES PERROS (Mexico, 2000) received the Grand Prize at Cannes and numerous other awards; CITY OF GOD (Brazil, 2002) won numerous prizes around the world. And in some countries, state support for films which criticize the state continues. One good example is LA HORA CERO (Venezuela, 2010), a story of gangsters who raid a hospital in Caracas in search of medical attention. What could have been a typical, Bruce Willis-style hostage movie becomes, in the hands of its director/writer, Diego Velasco, considerably more. LA HORA CERO is set in 1996, the year of a real hospital strike in Venezuela. As you’ll see from the opening sequence, and the credits, this enables the film to work both as a violent, action-adventure film, and as a critique of the health care system then in place. How was a two-tier health care system affected by a strike in the lower tier? Was the strike illegal? Did the poor and marginalized have access to health care at all?

LA HORA CERO, partially funded by the Venezuelan state, serves as a popular action picture and as a critique of an unfair and unreformed health care system. It is LOS OLVIDADOS for the 21st century, featuring machine guns, cars, and motorcycles.

Political Film Drama in Mexico

In Latin America, authentic popular entertainment has always dealt with hard political issues. Scandals avoided by mainstream newspapers, and later television, would be keenly dissected by corridas — popular ballads, often risque, often political, that were sung in the street. For the generation of Latin American filmmakers who grew up in the 1960s, the goal was often to make a popular, political film.

As we saw, the Mexican government supported film with direct investment from the 1930s on. Film was part of a project to create an image of the new state, and of its citizens. The flip side of the funding was state censorship. In Mexico the state censor was supposed to read and approve each script. This applied to foreign films, as well. When we discussed shooting WALKER in Mexico, Rudy’s script went to the state censor, who gave us notes. As I recall, they had to do with preserving the dignity of two of the Nicaraguan characters, and were not bad notes for us to receive. But a state censor could also visit the set, and was usually present during the shooting of a foreign film. Tom Richmond and Bob Richardson, cinematographers of SALVADOR (USA, 1986) told me that when they shot in Mexico the censor always insisted that trash be cleaned up. Even though the film was set in El Salvador, not Mexico, the censor was concerned about the audience’s reaction to that area of the mise-en-scene.

Some great, intelligent, innovative Mexican films were made under this regime: but it could not endure. The film which broke the system was made, in secret, by the director Jorge Fons and a small crew in 1989. It was called ROJO AMANECER. The English translation of the title is “Red Dawn” but it has nothing to do with the American action films. It begins on the morning of October 2, 1968, in an apartment overlooking a big, modern square in Mexico City — Tlatelolco Square. Today a big demonstration is scheduled, not that this means much to most of the inhabitants of the apartment, who have to get up and go to school, or work. At six o’clock, a helicopter drops flares into the Square, and   soldiers and gunmen in civilian dress open fire on the demonstrators from windows and rooftops. Hundreds of demonstrators are killed. Hundreds more are kidnapped and “disappeared” as they attempt to flee through the surrounding apartment complexes.

The massacre in Tlatelolco is never shown. Instead the entire film focuses on the middle-class family who watch it from the windows of their apartment, and who attempt to shelter some fleeing, wounded students.

ROJO AMANECER was shot clandestinely in a warehouse belonging to a camera rental company, on a set built to replicate the family’s apartment. There was no possibility of staging the massacre sequence. There was no budget for it, and the authorities would have found out, and shut the production down. The Tlatelolco massacre had been kept out of the public discourse for twenty years – not only in Mexico, but also abroad. Ironically, Mexico City was packed with foreign journalists when the massacre occurred; but they were there to cover the Olympic Games, and apparently refrained from reporting the massacre so as not to spoil the party.

A minimal budget and a single set were the ultimate economy of scarcity. And once again, that economy of scarcity worked in a good film’s favour — obliging the director, the cinematographer, and the designer to concentrate on the characters, and forget the visual effects.

By virtue of its one set (there are also a few scenes on rooftops and on the building staircase), ROJO AMANECER is austere and concentrated. It packs more punch by suggesting, rather than showing us things. The state censor insisted that the filmmakers cut two scenes in which Mexican army uniforms were seen, and ROJO AMANECER was released a year after it was made, in 1990.

ROJO AMANECER was highly popular, and encouraged a younger generation of Mexican filmmakers to push the boundaries further. When we made EL PATRULLERO in Mexico in 1991, the state censor never appeared, though we were still advised not to show a picture of the actual President (which would otherwise hang in our police station), nor mention any political parties. I can recall no censor intervention at all on DEATH & THE COMPASS (Mexico, 1992).

Mexican cinema survives even after the end of the Ley de Cine and a flood of dubbed American product into the cinemas and DVD racks. Sometimes younger Mexican directors are swept up by Hollywood and set to work directing BATMAN movies. One director who has resisted the call del Norte is Luis Estrada. Luis has cornered the market in that most difficult of forms, the popular political comedy. He has made four, so far. The first of them was, at the time, the most financially successful Mexican picture ever. LA LEY DE HERODES / HEROD’S LAW (Mexico, 1999) tells the story of Juan Vargas, a junkyard operator and a member of the PRI – the Partido Revolucionario Institucional, which ran Mexico for 70 consecutive years. A job opening has appeared – the mayor of a provincial town – and Perez gets it. He starts to make money, comes into conflict with the town doctor, who is a supporter of a rival political party, the PAN – Partido de Accion Nacional, and makes a deal with the church.

In Estrada’s film, just like the ruling party, Vargas is successful for a long while but ultimately fails, due to very visible corruption and various unexplained murders. Finally, the town rises up against him – but he escapes and reinvents himself as a crusading reformer for the PRI. LA LEY DE HERODES, partially funded by the state, was the first Mexican drama to identify the political parties by name, and the first comedy about them. When it was finished, it was repudiated by its financiers, and struggled to get distribution. The film was acquired by a subsidiary of the American studio, Fox, and was hugely successful when it finally opened. It was even credited, in an exaggerated estimate of film’s influence, with turning the Presidential election against the PRI, in favour of the PAN. But the film raucously depicts the antipathy between two political parties, both right-wing, one of which will not cede power to the other. Estrada followed LA LEY DE HERODES with UN MUNDO MARAVILLOSO (Mexico, 2006). Set in the near future, it tells the story of a homeless man – Juan Perez, played by Damian Alcazar – who embarrasses the government, only to be coopted and made part of a political campaign. The film has overtones of steampunk and of A CLOCKWORK ORANGE. Unable to solve the problem of poverty, the government decides instead to do away with the poor. A colder, less overtly funny film than LA LEY DE HERODES, it was not as popular.

Estrada followed this film with a comedy about the Drug War, EL INFIERNO / HELL (Mexico, 2010).  Damian Alcazar plays a recent deportee from the United States, El Benny. Benny, having tried to earn an honest living abroad, discovers that all his former friends are now involved in the drug trade, or dead. He joins up as well.

In all these films, whether he’s called Vargas, or Perez, or El Benny, Damian plays pretty much the same character: a likeable, good-natured guy, poor, well-meaning, who, given the opportunity to do something really bad for money, will always take it. He is the antithesis of the protagonists of Emilio Fernandez’ films, who were loyal and honest and would die rather than break their moral code. Yet the 21st century protagonist could not exist without its predecessor. If films in Mexico’s Golden Age – the 1940s – were both a mirror of the nation and a means of shaping it – what do Luis Estrada’s films tell us about Mexico today, about its crisis, and about its prospects?

Sometimes films change their tone and this is one of them. Starting like an engaging comedy, EL INFIERNO becomes increasingly serious. Determined to save his nephew from the drug cartel, El Benny goes to the federal police, only to discover that they too work for the cartel. The film ends with a paroxysm of violent revenge, and a coda which reveals the uselessness of Benny’s efforts.

Last year, Luis made another film with Damian. As always, he co-wrote the screenplay with Jaime Sampietro. LA DICTADURA PERFECTA (Mexico, 2014) takes up the story of the man Juan Vargas aspired to be: Carmelo Vargas, governor of the state. The time is now. When the young President of Mexico embarrasses himself on national television, the Party has to find a scapegoat to distract the attention of the media. It settles on Vargas, and releases video of the governor accepting a large bribe.

The plan works, the media focuses its attention on Vargas, and the President carries on. It looks like Vargas is ruined, and on his way to jail. But Vargas isn’t stupid, nor without resources. He visits the TV company which exposed him and hires its public relations arm to represent him in the future. They will be paid, extremely well, out of state funds. The media consultants who now work for Vargas are the same people who run the national TV station and manage PR for the PRI.

The trailer for LA DICTADURA is in Spanish. But film is an international language, and if you watch it I believe you’ll understand what’s going on. Since the film refers to certain actual political events, and Luis and his colleagues are not shy about pointing this out, there exists a second version of the trailer in which actual footage of inane or corrupt politicians, or their voices, and sensational television footage replace the trailer images. It has not played in the cinema or on TV, but you can watch it here.

Further reading:

Luis Buñuel, My Last Sigh, Vintage, 1984

Dolores Tierney, Emilio Fernandez: Pictures in the Margins, MUP, 2007

Ernesto Acevedo-Muñoz, Buñuel and Mexico: the Crisis of National Cinema, UCLA, 2003

Jose de la Colina & Tomas Perez Turrent, Objects of Desire: Conversations with Luis Buñuel, Marsilio, 1992

Jonathan Buchsbaum, Cinema and the Sandinistas: Filmmaking in Revolutionary Nicaragua, U of Texas, 2003