LVAC Film Night: Chick Strand, Fake Fruit (1986); Rubén Gámez, La fórmula secreta (The Secret Formula, 1965)

March 5, 2009, 7:30PM

Bartos Theatre
20 Ames Street Building E15
Cambridge, MA 02139

Fake Fruit, directed by Chick Strand (USA, 1986, 22 min.)
Intimate documentary about young women who make papier mache fruit and vegetables in a small factory in Mexico. They have a gringo boss, but the factory is owned by his Mexican wife. The focus of the film is on the color, music and movement involved, and the gossip which goes on constantly, revealing what the young women think about men. - Canyon Cinema website

 La fórmula secreta/ The Secret Formula, directed by Rubén Gámez (Mexico, 1965, 45 min.)
This poetic essay in a surrealistic mode is seemingly inspired by Luis Buñuel’s L’age d’or, but its images reveal how truly surrealistic the Mexican aesthetic is. Non-narrative vignettes set disconcertingly to classical music show that a mythic obsession with death and violence is rooted in the poverty of life “in this stupefying benumbed land. Everyone here is dead with no place to drop over.” The words are those of Juan Rulfo, but don’t be surprised when the narrator begins to speak backwards. Extraordinarily beautiful compositions belie their macabre content, from the slaughter of a steer to the slyly humorous lassoing of a businessman. The underlying theme is a probe of the Mexican’s “lack of identity with himself”; we won’t say what the “secret formula” refers to, except to mention that it’s the real thing.—Judy Bloch (University of California Berkely Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive)

FREE and open to the public.

For more information, contact:

Mark Linga
[617] 452-3586


  • MIT-Mexico Program
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