Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

The Right to Tlatelolco: Space, State and Home in Rojo amanecer (1989), Directed by Jorge Fons

Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (2020), 97, (10), 1113–1129.


This article addresses the issue of spatiality in the Mexican film Rojo amanecer (Jorge Fons, 1989), which dramatizes the events surrounding the massacre of student demonstrators in the plaza de Tlatelolco, Mexico City, on 2nd October 1968. The film has received a good deal of critical attention and yet a detailed analysis of its rendering of narrative space remains to be done. With reference to the spatial theories of Henri Lefebvre and Gaston Bachelard, I argue that the film’s innovative use of narrative space establishes a symbolic connection between the events in the public space of the Plaza de las Tres Culturas and the intimate space of the Mexican family home. The harrowing depiction of an invasion of state power into the space of the home serves to critique the Partido Revolutionario Institutional (PRI) regime’s core ideology and its modernist housing project in Tlatelolco.

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