La Zandunga | Chicago Reader

La Zandunga

The title refers to a Mexican waltz, one of many folkloric elements in Fernando de Fuentes's 1938 comedia ranchera, a romantic musical genre he invented with his 1936 hit Over on the Big Ranch. A response to contemporary land reforms and related social tinkering, the films celebrated indigenous culture while idealizing prerevolutionary plantation society. Hedging his bets, de Fuentes reinforced a domestic cast with Lupe Velez, a bankable star throughout the U.S. and Latin America. Unfortunately the plot's a plodding story of forbidden love, and Velez—for all her beauty and comic flair—doesn't convince as an ingenue. In Spanish with subtitles. 100 min.

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