Even though we were supposed not to learn anything about Mexico I did. I learn about Mexican history, especially about Porfirio Diaz dictatorship and the mexican revolution. I think that was useful for the understanding of the movie as a lot of the main characters of that time were used as symbols and arqueotypes of Mexico in modern movies like the Wild bunch, The three amigos and Que viva Mexico.
I especially like movies were the Director's construction of Mexico and take on Mexican society was implicit like Battle in Heaven and Touch of evil. I was not surprised to see a lot of complexity and variety of themes and symbols about Mexican society because of the size and significance of the country specially for its relation with the united states. However I found that It was not always easy to see were the director of the movies were taking the audience by portraying such symbols like bandits, prostitutes and virginal women.
I also found interesting the progression in time of the representations of Mexico. It was obvious that in later movies like Traffic, El callejon, The three amigos and Battle in heaven the happy Mexican town and the rude revolutionaries are avoided. Nonetheless there is still a feel of the evolution of those characters in modern society. For example Tijuana in Trafic had a lot of the same characteristics as the town in the end of Que viva Mexico. The markets and the radical differences in social class and the candid women like Ana. Also I think that Marcos is a good example of the evolution of a farmer. He maintains the social status of his predecessor and he seems closer to nature and of course he is a macho man.
Machismo was a big theme in all movies. Mexico was definitely constructed as a machist state. It was also portrayed as a place with a rich culture but a lot of negative aspects like homophobia, corruption, extreme violence problems and socio-economic gaps. Indigenous people and culture was only explicitly mentioned in Que viva Mexico and even then I was briefly. I think that the lack of native people demonstrates that Mexico is mostly seen as a mixed placed and that indigenes culture is just part of the heritage and some traditions. In Agila o sol for example some of the dances alluded indigenous culture but it was clear that the actor had little indigenous blood in them.
I think it was interesting to see Mexican and non-Mexican representations of Mexico to be able to compare how the themes vary when the audiences are different and how Mexico is addressed from different point of views