“Welcome to Mexico”: An Insightful Yet Controversial Look at Mexican Society and Values in Cinema

Mexican cinema was born from the womb of the revolution that broke out in 1910, when the revolutionary youth were enthusiastic about documenting its events, and produced some films, but its golden period was in the forties of the last century, and then it returned to shine again in the 21st century and was crowned with the Golden Bear Award from the Berlin Film Festival in 2008 for the movie “The Elite Team” directed by Jose Badeh.

Mexican cinema has always been characterized by that revolutionary sense that was associated with its inception, so when the film comes from there, the ceiling of expectations rises in terms of the level of work in terms of the message, and in terms of the technical level because of the great names of directors who carved their names in letters of gold in Hollywood, including Alejandro Iñárritu Gonzalez and Guillermo Del. Toro and others.

Grandmother, father, son and wife in the movie “Welcome to Mexico” (Netflix)

Director Luis Estrada presents his movie “Welcome to Mexico” (Que viva México), which is currently showing on the “Netflix” platform. Mixed with manifestations of celebration of life, as well as exaggerated ugliness.

The film sees that close proximity to the United States as a tremendous weight and a sure cause for most of the poverty that Mexicans suffer from, but it does not deny that some of the people of the earth are the ones who hand it over to the northern neighbor with their endless betrayals despite the slogans of siding with the poor.

express end

3 hours and 10 minutes after the start of the film, the makers of the work summarize their “denunciation” message with a final scene, where the banner of the “United States of America and Canada” is raised on a gold mine in the Mexican land, and the great-grandfather kept dreaming about it and talking about it while everyone lied about it, and after If he died, the children and grandchildren wrestled and everyone betrayed each other by selling the mine land and the family home, until the land ended up in the possession of the American Canadian Company.

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The path to the loss of the land – including its bounties – was nothing but the usual story of the young Pancho Reyes (actor Alfonso Herrera), who works in the capital for one of the factory owners who feel dangerous towards the new president of the country after he declared his siding with the poor.

The young man lives with his wife, Mary (actress Ana de la Reguera) and two children, ignoring the existence of his family, especially his father and grandfather, who have been trying to communicate with him for 20 years. When the grandfather dies, the young man covets a fortune that the mysterious grandfather may have bequeathed to him, so he goes to his village, to find – indeed – a treasure that soon disappears in the midst of family conflicts, which leads to the sale of the land that the grandfather always said contained gold.

The family welcomes the son and his wife in a scene from the movie “Welcome to Mexico” (Netflix)

The film did not present a single character from outside the borders of Mexico, but the foreign presence in the country was very clear in the personality of the capitalist factory owner who sensed a danger from a president raising slogans of siding with workers and the poor, so he decided to speed up the process of liquidating the workers and selling the factory and then fleeing outside the country.

As for the most influential presence, it was from the two northern neighbors, who stood behind a series of buyers of the mine land until they seized it.

Mexican concern is not unique to the cinema screens produced by Third World countries, and Latin American countries in particular, whose children still have dreams of socialism and the legacy of Ernesto Che Guevara, Fidel Castro and Salvador Allende, and those dreams have been embodied in the success of a number of politicians with leftist tendencies or associated with the idea of ​​social justice in reaching the seats of government in this country.

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Poor values

Writer and director Luis Estrada begins a long series of justifications for the behavior of the hero of the work in denouncing his family and disavowing his origins and his family since the arrival of the car that carried him and his family with him to the borders of the village he abandoned 20 years ago, and as soon as he left the path of the paved road he fell into the hands of thieves, one of whom was a colleague him in the classroom.

The hero’s middle uncle – who works as a Catholic priest – appeared completely corrupt, and he is willing to sell everything from prayers to the town’s lands, and receives bribes in order to pray and pray for a patient, and receives it for the opposite for another. As for the second uncle, who is the director of the mayor’s office, He is completely bribed, and the slogan of the new president is biased towards the poor as much as possible.

The tyrannical family distortion was not only the result of deprivation and poverty, but it extended to show its effects in the brother’s betrayal of his brother, another humiliation of dirty deeds, and everyone’s theft of the rich brother coming from the city, and the rest of the members of the large family are personalities who all live in a circle of loss and departure from the ordinary.

Estrada tried to present comic paradoxes that played on the psychological and physical disabilities of the family, but he created a state of continuous disturbance for a confused viewer looking for a good person who could sympathize with him and find a good representative in him.

Pancho between his father and brother in the land that is no longer theirs in a scene from Welcome to Mexico (Netflix)

The young man, who returned from the capital seeking an inheritance from his grandfather after he disavowed his family and boycotted them, got involved again in stealing the grandfather’s treasure and hiding it to be his alone, and caused chaos and killed a person, and ended up insane, then returned to the factory that was run by a cleaner.

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The director moved with his camera from the city, with its narrow spaces and very large shots of faces, to the village, with its distant public scenes and human gatherings, with the exception of family scenes and scenes of dialogues full of lies and fabrications between a young man and his wife.

In the city, the hero’s scenes were frank to the extent that makes the viewer realize that our hero is not an employee in the factory, but rather a servant without conditions for the owner of the factory, as his size in his scenes with his manager was small, and he was photographed with a camera above the level of his head, unlike the director who is open in his dialogue, who His face was filling the screen with a camera angle that shot him from below with the eyes of his servant sitting in front of him in a position of supplication and hope.

Estrada tried to make a revolutionary comedy, and presented details of Mexican culture and popular music that characterizes Mexican society, but he did not pay attention to what the recipient could bear in terms of exaggerations in showing bad points or exaggerations in making irony.

Because it is neither beautiful nor dramatic in anything to focus on disgusting details, especially as they are completely outside the dramatic context, even if the justification is an attempt to make a visual equivalent of a popular saying.

The movie “Welcome to Mexico” confirms that creativity is a real necessity for making a beautiful work of art, but it also confirms that intelligence is no less important than creativity in order to address the sins of the creator when he falls into the trap of profiling under the pretext of conveying reality, and when that reality is a societal detail chosen by a writer and director from spaces in order to collect them in one film, in this case the most accurate name for them is the illusion of reality.

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