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El Compadre Mendoza

(Spanish 1934 b 82')

En: 5 Ed: 7

This second of three films directed by Fernando de Fuentes on the Mexican Revolution focuses on a landowner and his family torn between the government and the revolutionaries.

Zapatistas with rifles under General Eufemio arrive at the hacienda of Rosalio Mendoza (Alfredo del Diestro). The steward Antenogenes replaces the picture of Huerta with one of Emiliano Zapata. Rosalio provides a feast and sells Eufemio guns. Later Rosalio welcomes a federal colonel, who says the deal gave the Zapatistas worthless guns. Rosalio visits the Mendoza brothers in Mexico City, meeting Dolores (Carmen Guerrero) and her father. They agree on a marriage. At the wedding the musicians say they don't care if the Zapatistas execute them, as the soldiers get drunk. The Zapatistas come in and take Col. Martinez; a general orders the colonel and Rosalio Mendoza killed; but General Felipe Nieto (Antonio Frausto) says Zapata wants Mendoza spared. The colonel is taken and hanged.

Rosalio tells Nieto that Dolores will have a baby in October. Nieto returns then, and the boy is named after him. A year later Nieto plays with the child because of Dolores until he is called away because of the Carrancistas. When an aide suggests it, Nieto says he does not want to kill his compadre Mendoza. Nieto helps Felipe ride a horse. Antenogenes puts up a picture of Carranza, as Col. Bernaldez arrives. The colonel wants to catch Nieto and warns Mendoza, who gives the colonel a horse. Rosalio and Dolores want to go to Mexico City. Rosalio is taken in the night to negotiate with the besieged forces of Nieto, which are allowed to leave. Rosalio needs money from his harvest, and the grain is loaded on a train. Zapatistas dynamite the track, and Rosalio learns his harvest has been burned. Col. Bernaldez offers Rosalio money to help his country. The federal troops leave, and Nieto and the Zapatistas arrive. Nieto tells Dolores that the Carrancistas are tearing them up and asks her to remember him. Rosalio tells Nieto that Bernaldez wants to go over to the Zapatistas, and he arranges a meeting. Rosalio tells Dolores to get the child and leave. Rosalio is reminded that Nieto saved his life, as the troops shoot Nieto. Bernaldez drinks with Rosalio; on the road Dolores cries; and the corpse of Nieto is hanged.

Although the revolutionaries wanted to return land to the peasant farmers, landowner Rosalio's kindness to them saved his life and led to his friendship with Nieto. Yet after his crop was destroyed, he betrayed his good friend. The violence of government oppression and revolution created many such horrifying conflicts.

Copyright © 1999 by Sanderson Beck

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