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UCLA Film & Television Archive, The Consulate General of Mexico in Los Angeles, the Hugh M. Hefner Classic American Film Program and UCLA Center for Mexican Studies present

This Strange Passion: Arturo de Córdova

Adventures of Casanova (1948)
January 10, 2014 -
March 9, 2014
Read La Opinión's review of the series.

Among the personalities in the Mexican movie stratosphere who captivated the attention of audiences over time, perhaps none is as delightfully unaccountable as Arturo de Córdova. Graced with a movie star’s suave good looks and a sonorous speaking voice, he might have been an accomplished romantic lead or action hero—and left it at that. But between his peripatetic young life (born in Yucatán, and spending long periods in Switzerland, Argentina, Chile and the U.S.), his experience as a radio announcer and his entry into movies at a time when Mexican screens were accommodating increasingly modernist and iconoclastic influences, forces somehow seemed calibrated to bring forth the complex, sophisticated actor we now know, capable of turning generic character types inside out. His acknowledged flair for portraying fractured, ambivalent, ironic and inscrutable human beings flew in the face of his leading man beauty, and was certainly an affront to traditional machismo, shading and fairly feminizing the figure of the Mexican man as a vessel of emotion and shadows.  During a relatively short tenure in Hollywood, he portrayed romantic leads, swashbuckling heroes and rascals, returning to Mexico to act in some of the most astonishing films of his prolific career. This series samples work from the various genres and periods of de Córdova’s oeuvre, pointing up his versatility and depth, and celebrating the distinction he represents within Mexican and world cinema culture.  This program is a variation of a series presented at the 2013 Morelia International Film Festival.

Special thanks to: Daniela Michel, Sebastian Blayac, Blas Valdez—Morelia International Film Festival; Maria Elena Cabezut Villareal—Consulate General of Mexico in Los Angeles; Jaime Jaimes—Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores de México; Rubén Hernández-León—UCLA Center for Mexican Studies; José Manuel García—Filmoteca de la UNAM; Alejandro Pelayo; Dora Moreno Brizuela—Cineteca Nacional de Mexico; Alejandro Agrasanchez; Rogelio Agrasanchez.  

Thanks to: David Arriaza—UCLA Latin American Institute; Alex Garcia; Mariana Bermúdez Huerta; Osbaldo Meza Talamantes; Juan Jose Ortega.