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.

Abstract

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.

Este artículo aborda la cuestión de la espacialidad en la película mexicana Rojo amanecer (Jorge Fons, 1989), en la que se dramatizan los eventos que condujeron a la masacre de manifestantes estudiantiles en la plaza de Tlatelolco, México D.F., el dos de octubre 1968. La película ha recibido bastante atención crítica pero aún falta un análisis detallado de la construcción del espacio narrativo. Partiendo de las teorías espaciales de Henri Lefebvre y Gaston Bachelard, sostengo que el uso innovador del espacio narrativo establece una conexión simbólica entre los acontecimientos en el espacio público de la Plaza de las Tres Culturas y el espacio íntimo del hogar mexicano. La representación desgarradora de la invasión del poder estatal en el espacio íntimo del hogar sirve para criticar la ideología central del régimen del Partido Revolutionario Institutional (PRI) y su proyecto de pisos modernistas en Tlatelolco.

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Filmography

Cuando los hijos se van. 1941, dir. Juan Bustillo Oro (Grovas-Oro Films). Google Scholar

El castillo de la pureza. 1972, dir. Arturo Ripstein (Estudios Churubusco Azteca). Google Scholar

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Rojo amanecer. 1989, dir. Jorge Fons (Quality Films (México): DVD edición limitada - uncensored). Google Scholar

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