Let's Go With Pancho Villa! | Movie Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Let's Go With Pancho Villa! 

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Despite its commercial failure, this 1935 feature, the last installment of Fernando de Fuentes's trilogy on the Mexican revolution, remained his favorite film. The country's first big-budget epic, it was funded by a state company sponsoring images of Mexico's progressive populism, but de Fuentes had witnessed both the revolution and its aftermath, and at midlife he took a more jaundiced view. Six friends join Pancho Villa's forces in a rush of patriotism; the first two casualties go out as heroes, but as the conflict drags on the others meet increasingly absurd and brutal ends. Government censors lopped off the stark conclusion of the original film, which was ten minutes longer than this version; even so the movie invites comparison to John Ford's Fort Apache in denouncing the human toll of national mythmaking. In Spanish with subtitles. 92 min. A 35-millimeter print will be shown. Gene Siskel Film Center.

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