Tales of Mexico
Panorama | Contemporary World Cinema
By definition anthology films are a mixed bag, but few have a batting average as high as Tales of Mexico. Here, eight stories anchored by a studio apartment over a hundred-year span depict the growing pains of a country in flux. From the revolution that toppled Porfirio Díaz’ dictatorship to drugs and human trafficking in modern times, there is no shortage of conflict shaping everyday life in Mexico City. Not all the drama is linked to catastrophic events like civil wars or earthquakes: immigration and homosexuality are met with extreme hostility and a lack of compassion.
The loosely tied together tales go from opulence to ruin. The one common element to each story is violence as the standard reaction to social transformation. Its recurrence indicates a chronic lack of flexibility to assimilate change. But audiences don’t need to be familiar with Mexico’s past to appreciate the film. Some remarkable cinematography turns the same room into eight unique time capsules, and an accomplished cast led by Irène Jacob (Three Colors: Red) allows Tales of Mexico to transcend the historical context and become a visceral experience.
"We face terrible fear, a great tragedy, and the paralysis that must accompany such constant horror. Just as inescapable, the film argues, are moments of connection, exquisite beauty and warm affection."—Ivan Ost, The Chicago Maroon