Will Noah is assistant managing editor at the Criterion Collection. His writing has appeared in n+1, 4Columns, and BOMB. (April 2019)


Roberto Gavaldón: Mexico’s Auteur of Noir

Dolores del Rio and Agustín Irusta in Roberto Gavaldón's The Other One, 1946

The Golden Age of Mexican cinema began soon after the arrival of sound in the early 1930s and ended sometime between the mid-1950s and the early 1960s. Here in the United States, the story isn’t told much at all, and when it is, the details are usually hazy. The signature achievements of the Western hemisphere’s second-most-robust film industry in the decades surrounding World War II are rarely screened in American repertory cinemas. Diligent auteurists may have a couple of points of reference: the Spaniard-in-exile Luis Buñuel and the cinematic muralist Emilio Fernández. Camped out somewhere in that landscape is Roberto Gavaldón, the subject of a thirteen-film retrospective now playing at MoMA.