Friday 18 Apr

Holy Ghost People

Holy Ghost People examines two sisters whose bond is torn — but by what? After her sibling has been missing for more than a year, Charlotte (Emma Greenwell, TV's Shameless) intends to find out.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

No Holds Barred

RLJ Entertainment's new Blu-ray for No Holds Barred begins with what seems like dozens of trailers for movies starring pro wrestlers from the WWE talent pool. Each flick went direct to home video, but once upon a time — aka 1989 — one had to go to the multiplex to catch such a spectacle.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

Knights of Badassdom

In 2008, the third act of the guy comedy Role Models used LARPing — live-action role-playing, that is — as a backdrop for our protagonists' lessons learned. Today, Knights of Badassdom extends that half-hour into a full feature, to the point where viewers are left not smiling, but exhausted. 
04/02/2014 | Comments 0

Switched on

Not everything on television has to appeal to mass audiences. In fact, with the further fractioning of viewership thanks to alternatives like Netflix and VOD, more series can afford to become more niche. Here are five examples of shows both past and present — and new to DVD and/or Blu-ray — that encompass some of the more outrageous ideas ever to go beyond boardroom discussion.
04/02/2014 | Comments 0

Confession of Murder

Seventeen years after slaying 10 women and getting away with it, the charismatic serial killer Du-sok (Park Si-hoo) comes clean with a Confession of Murder, in this 2012 South Korean crime thriller. He does so by publishing a book that dishes all the grisly details.
04/02/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Movies · Documentary · Perdida


The weird, wild world of Mexican exploitation cinema through one family’s lens is captured in the documentary 'Perdida.'

Rod Lott March 28th, 2012

6 p.m. Thursday
City Arts Center
3000 General Pershing

As a boy, I would’ve loved to have grown up with a family of naked women, robot monsters, Aztec mummies and masked wrestlers. But I’m not Viviana García-Besné.

In Perdida, whose title translates to “lost,” the filmmaker documents three years of learning about — and then coming to grips with — her grandfather and great uncles’ involvement in arguably some of Mexico’s worst movies ever made.

That suspect group includes a subgenre known as “ficheras,” which are raunchy, cabaret-set comedies featuring voluptuous women in various stages of disrobing. They made a fortune, were branded as “pornography,” and then killed the country’s film industry. Go figure.

Perdida will be shown Thursday night at City Arts Center. While the screening is free, it is “for mature audiences only,” thanks to García-Besné’s use of vintage clips — fairly harmless by today’s standards, but a breast is a breast.

Through interviews with surviving family members of the Calderón film dynasty, she attempts to ferret fact from fiction; dusty home movies and handwritten letters help fill in the gaps, as does a third-act raid of a film vault.

From theater owners to full-fledged moviemakers beginning in the 1930s, the Calderón brothers’ story is one of rags to riches to rags. The riches come after the men discover the value of female nudity, both to fill seats and create controversy to fill more seats. The profits proved as substantial as the bosoms.

The brothers’ crooked, oft-controversial path is paved with acts of monopoly, infidelity and forgery, involving personalities like the revolutionary Pancho Villa, actress Lupe Vélez, mambo king Perez Prado, Fantasy Island’s Ricardo Montalbán and the pope.

Unsavory cinema aside, the Calderón name also appeared on many entries in horror, science fiction and just plain bizarre. B-movie enthusiasts are likely to know many of the titles Perdida discusses, from the Aztec Mummy trilogy and 1959’s Santa Claus (later mocked on TV’s Mystery Science Theater 3000) to a franchise starring the silver-masked luchador Santo.

A high point occurs with García- Besné’s search for a lost Calderón film, El Vampiro y El Sexo, aka Santo in the Treasure of Dracula. That’s about as dramatic as Perdida gets; her documentary is personal and lo-fi, so it’s stripped of traditional storytelling structure, but its interest to film buffs — especially those with tastes toward the psychotronic — is undeniable.

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