By M. MacLaird
Comparing a vast collection of Mexican motion pictures made from the early Nineteen Nineties to the current, this examine examines how creation equipment, viewers demographics, and aesthetic techniques have replaced during the prior twenty years and the way those adjustments relate to the country's transitions to a democratic political procedure and a free-market economic climate.
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The value of the government support for national production is clear, and yet the logic of subsidizing cinema as cultural patrimony is flawed in two clear ways, the first being that the state’s economic policies have created a market in which it is nearly impossible for its own productions to succeed financially. In most cases, 36 AESTHETICS AND POLITICS the administrative costs of operating the funds and also managing a film’s distribution is more than the revenue generated by the film and as a result the funds are not self-sustaining (IMCINE 2012b, 16).
During World War II and the postwar recovery, the drop in production in the United States and Europe, as well as in Argentina, allowed Mexican cinema to dominate the Latin American markets. Mexico’s film industry received support from the US State Department, and in exchange the content of its cinema provided anti-Axis propaganda; during this same time, Argentina was sanctioned for its declared neutrality (Peredo Castro 2004, 75–129; Lay Arellano 2005, 41). In 1942, the Banco de México, with the Alemán administration’s approval, established a lending reserve for filmmakers known as the Banco Nacional Cinematográfico (National Film Reserve, BNC), which became a national institution in 1947 (Saavedra Luna 2007a, 17).
While the critique of intellectuals and artists working in the service of the state is not new to Mexico, the contradictions of the periods of Echeverría and Salinas can be seen as antecedents to the ambivalence of the contemporary filmmaker toward state support: one can deny neither the caliber of the cinema nor the extreme abuse of power and prevalence of corruption during both presidencies. Immediately following IMCINE’s transition from SEGOB to SEP, Durán oversaw the organization’s restructuring, which involved INDUSTRY AND POLICY 27 consolidating, liquidating, and redefining the federal film agencies under IMCINE’s institutional umbrella (de la Mora 2006, 137–42; Saavedra Luna 2007a, 77–90).