As one of the major directors of Mexico's Golden Age of Cinema (1936-1956), Emilio “El Indio” Fernández (1904-1986) created films which for many came to express the official vision of Mexican identity. Part of this identity was based on the ideology of indigenismo, which posited that the pre-Columbian past held the basic kernel of Mexico's national essence while advocating the incorporation of modern Indian groups into mainstream society. El Indio's films reflect the paradox of indigenismo: praise for indigenous cultures and a simultaneous effort to make them disappear. The following study examines three of his indigenista films, María Candelaria, Río Escondido, and Maclovia, to see how Fernández created representations of Mexico's indigenous populations that contributed to and deviated from indigenista policies in post-Revolutionary Mexico. This representation relies on the formation of a national myth based on a static, aestheticized Indian which incorporates all Mexicans into official state history.
College and Department
Humanities; Spanish and Portuguese
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
HILL, Mathew J. K., "The Indigenismo of Emilio "El Indio" Fernández: Myth, Mestizaje, and Modern Mexico" (2009). Theses and Dissertations. 1915.
Emilio Fernández, Gabriel Figueroa, indigenismo, Mexico, María Candelaria, Río Escondido, Maclovia, myth, Indians, film, Mexican identity, art, Golden Age of Mexican Cinema