Classical Mexican Cinema: Vámonos con Pancho Villa!

The legend of Pancho Villa and his exploits during the Mexican revolution continues to grow. But neither Villa nor his followers walked the path of the angels as they marched to freedom, as seen in director Fernando de Fuentes's 1935 film Vámonos con Pancho Villa! (Let's Go with Pancho Villa). Vámonos chronicles the lives - and deaths - of a group of ordinary ranchers-turned-soldiers who joined Villa's army. As with many other revolutions, the ideals being fought for don't materialize exactly as hoped for (equality, national pride and self-determination become greed, lawlessness and general jack-assedness).

The men in the group fall, one by one, along the journey - in battle, in a barroom brawl, to disease - until only one man is left. In the film's final shot, disheartened and disappointed, he continues to march into the darkness. Is he going to continue to fight for freedom? Or is he going home? Director de Fuentes doesn't answer that question; he leaves us, like the Mexican people at the time, wondering what's going to happen next.

Part of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston's Classic Mexican Cinema film series, the landmark Vámonos was long thought to be lost, but was rediscovered sometime in the '80s. 7 p.m. Saturday, 5 p.m. Sunday. 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-639-7515 or visit www.mfah.org. $6 to $7.
Sat., Aug. 14, 7 p.m.; Sun., Aug. 15, 5 p.m., 2010

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Olivia Flores Alvarez