The recent release of A la mala / “In a Bad Way” (Pedro Pablo Ibarra “Pitipol Ybarra” 2015), which opened on February 2015 in both Mexico and the United States, is the most recent reminder of the role of the romantic comedy as a dominant genre in Mexican cinema. A la mala is the latest iteration of a remarkable process of change and consolidation of the Mexican film industry in the neoliberal era. Since the release of Sólo con tu pareja / “Love in the Time of AIDS” (Alfonso Cuarón 1991), the genre has been at the very top of box-office charts in Mexico, spearheading major aesthetic changes in the language of cinema, as well as structures of affective engagement of the commercial audience in the country. I have discussed elsewhere the reasons behind the romantic comedy’s rise to prominence: its ability to adapt to the economic and moral values of the Mexican middle and upper classes; its success in engaging the changes in spectatorship resulting from the privatization of exhibition structures; its ability to articulate synergic relationships with other forms of commercial media; and the economic viability of its production in an industry that faces unfair dominant competition from Hollywood (Sánchez Prado, Screening Neoliberalism 62–105).1 The genre consolidated in a period spanning the release of Sexo, pudor y lágrimas / “Sex, Shame and Tears” (Antonio Serrano 1998), the first box-office hit in Mexican cinema after the economic crisis of 1994, and Cansada de besar sapos / “Tired of Kissing Frogs” (Jorge Colón 2006), which constitutes, in my view, the pinnacle of the ideological and aesthetic nature of the romantic comedy as the genre best represents the neoliberalization of Mexican commercial cinema.
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- Humorous Affects: Romantic Comedies in Contemporary Mexico
Ignacio M. Sánchez Prado
- Palgrave Macmillan US
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