A Cinematic Century: Gabriel Figueroa

A Cinematic Century: Gabriel Figueroa

One of the greatest film artists of the twentieth century, Mexican cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa (1907-1997) worked in both Mexico and Hollywood to create some of the most ravishing, iconic images in movie history. Figueroa is considered to be one of the architects of the ‘golden age’ of Mexican cinema who also worked with directors Luis Buñuel, John Ford and John Huston. Barbican Film is delighted to celebrate his centenary with a season reflecting some of his finest cinematic accomplishments.

Sunday 4 November
4.00pm – Enamorada (Woman in Love) (U) (Mexico 1946 Dir. Emilio Fernández 99 min)
A witty and deliriously romantic reworking of The Taming of the Shrew, set in the picturesque city of Cholula during the Juarez revolution. When a revolutionary general (Pedro Armendáriz) captures the town and attempts to equally conquer her heart, a landowner’s fiery daughter (Maria Félix) rebuffs his advances – with a mischievous glint in her eye. Undoubtedly Figueroa’s stunning camerawork crowns the enterprise. Enamorada will be screened from a new 35mm print.


Sunday 11 November
4.00pm – The Night of the Iguana (12A) (US 1964 Dir. John Huston 118 min)
Figueroa’s glorious cinematography earned him an Oscar nomination for his first film with John Huston, based on Tennessee Williams’ play. A defrocked priest (Richard Burton) works as a guide for coach tours of Mexico. When his latest tourists, a group of church women, start testing his nerves he hijacks the coach and drives them all to a remote, decrepit beach-front hotel owned by an old friend (Ava Gardner). Look out for the cameo by director Emilio Fernández.

Sunday 18 November
4.00p – Macario (12A) (Mexico 1960 Dir. Roberto Gavaldón 90 min)
The first Mexican film to be nominated for a Foreign Language Oscar, featuring some of Figueroa’s most stunning work, Macario is the fable of a poor, starving woodcutter who on the Day of the Dead suddenly acquires a turkey. Approached by a hungry Death, Macario agrees to share his feast. As thanks, the Grim Reaper gives him a miraculous elixir that will bring fame and fortune, and the attentions of the Inquisition. Figueroa’s glistening cinematography is stunning, notably in the final cave scene, lit only by hundreds of candles. Macario will be screened from a new 35mm print.

Sunday 25 November
4.00pm – The Fugitive (PG) (US 1947 Dir. John Ford 95 min)
This rarely seen John Ford drama is adapted from Graham Greene’s novel The Power and the Glory, its dark drama heightened by Figueroa’s distinctive chiaroscuro cinematography. In an unidentified land, religion has been outlawed and priests are hunted. But one remains (Henry Fonda), his pride and commitment compelling him to tend to the people in the villages he haunts like a ghost. But an obsessed soldier (Pedro Armendáriz) is on his trail.

The Fugitive

Sunday 2 December
4.00pm – The Pearl (La Perla) (PG) (Mexico 1945 Dir. Emilio Fernández 88 min)
Based on a John Steinbeck story, in turn crafted around a local legend, La Perla recounts the tale of a poor fisherman, his wife and their young son. One day Quino finds an incredibly large and beautiful pearl, which is coveted by all around him. Will the wondrous gem prove to be his family’s salvation or their curse? Figueroa’s sizzling camera creates fireworks onscreen. The Pearl will be screened from a new 35mm print.

Monday 3 December
6.00pm – Nazarín (12a) (Mexico 1958 Dir. Luis Buñuel 94 min)
Luis Buñuel’s rarely screened masterpiece in a brand new 35mm print. A defrocked priest wanders across Mexico’s blighted plains in search of Christian values, accompanied by a troupe of freaks and misfits. He is surprised to find that the only person who offers him any compassion is a prostitute. Variously interpreted as a scalding fable about the pitfalls of Christian generosity and as an oddly ambiguous portrait of one man’s search for faith, Nazarín is one of Buñuel’s most visually impressive works, thanks to Figueroa’s cinematography.

Region: All
Website: http:// www.barbican.org.uk/film
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