Laughter bridges the gap between cultures and eras. It was through comedy that I was able to understand my parents’ and grandparents’ nostalgia for a time and place they had once known. I don’t recall if it was Friday evenings or Saturday mid-days but every week I watched Cine de Oro (Golden Cinema) with them and very often enjoyed movies starring Mario Moreno, known professionally as Cantinflas. Understandably, I am ecstatic to learn that in partnership with KLRN and the San Antonio Public Library Foundation, the San Antonio Public Library is hosting, “Cantinflas Retro: A Mario Moreno Retrospective” during Hispanic Heritage Month, September 15 – October 15, 2012.
The retrospective is a collection of replica photos and movie posters from the life and career of Cantinflas. An array of more than 120 movie posters and photos will be available for public viewing at the Central Library Gallery & Atrium and at the art space inside Texas A&M University San Antonio. The Mario Moreno Foundation in Mexico City selected San Antonio as its inaugural U.S. host and the Library as its home.
The funniest man in the world, as dubbed by his contemporary Charlie Chaplin, entertained my family and me in black & white and provided ample conversation topics as my parents tried to explain the ‘real’ issues behind his humor to me. These films also provided me a window into cultural nuisances, double entendre and Spanish language vocabulary that I may not have been exposed to otherwise. Portraying a provincial ‘everyman’ his character of Cantinflas is beloved and associated with the national identity of Mexico. Through this character he criticized social inequalities and lack of solidarity providing an outlet through laughter for the masses. More importantly through his comedy he helped our family transcend generational differences and share in great quality time. In addition to the photo and poster exhibit, the San Antonio Public Library will host Cantinflas movie screenings at most branch libraries throughout the month.
If you live in San Antonio, or are a day-trip away, I highly encourage you to visit the exhibits and come watch Cantinflas movies in libraries across the city to see first-hand this actors talent and get to know a Mexico of a golden movie era. If you are already a fan of Cantinflas I’d love to hear about your memories related to his films.
Hope to see you at one of the shows…
Titles and times are subject to change, contact your San Antonio Public Library Branch