From Miss Cristera to the Desert Within: Toward a Contemporary War of Images in Mexico


With the release of the films Padre Pro/Father Pro (Miguel Rico Tavera, 2007) and Desierto Adentro/Desert Within (Rodrigo Plá, 2008), and the debates regarding the traditional dress for the Miss Mexico beauty pageant in 2007, the representation of the Cristero Wars has surfaced in Mexican cinema and television as an indicator of the current symbolic struggles for the construction of a new national narrative. Arguably, after the 1992 constitutional reforms that clarified the legal status of the Mexican Church, the Catholic hierarchy and its allied conservative groups are trying to recast the religious conflicts of 1926-29 and 1934-38 as an essential element in the formation of post-authoritarian identities, but the project is facing vocal opposition. After a brief consideration of the recent history in the cinematic representation of State and Church relations, this article analyses how television and film contribute to the political use of the historical memory in the midst of the current violent and incomplete process of democratization in Mexico.


Languages, Literatures, and Cultures

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Studies in Hispanic Cinemas



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