El Sexo Fuerte

¡Aztec Mummies & Martian Invaders!: El sexo fuerte

In the mid-'50s, on the trailing edge of the Mexican cinema's storied “Golden Age,” stark realities began to transform Mexico’s motion picture industry. Economic downturns rapidly led to nationalization, the introduction of production and distribution quotas, slashed budgets, censorship and highly bureaucratic production practices. One of the most intriguing products to emerge from this restrictive atmosphere, “Mexploitation,” combined elements of several popular genres to efficiently churn out mass entertainment with pre-sold appeal. Monsters, mad scientists, space ships, robots and shapely space-women now shared the screen with the charros and campesinos of Mexico’s romantic past; the mummies and Spanish nobles of its colonial and pre-colonial legacies; and the modern, masked, “lucha libre” wrestlers who had fast become the leading heroes of working class entertainment. These sci-fi and fantasy culture jams proved enormously popular and remained a staple of Mexico’s commercial cinema until the mid-1970s. Hilarious and endearing for their rock-bottom production values, stilted acting and gimmicky devices, the films are also a treasure-trove of information about Mexico’s ambivalence toward tradition, modernity, religion, ethnicity, sex roles and economic development—tensions which persist to this day. 

El sexo fuerte  
(The Strong Sex)
Mexico, 1946

PROD: Emilio Gómez Muriel. DIR: Emilio Gómez Muriel. SCR: Humberto Gómez Landero, Miguel Morayta. CINE: Agustín Martínez Solares. EDIT: Jorge Bustos. CAST: Mapy Cortés, Ángel Garasa, Rafael Baledón, Alma Rosa Aguirre, Emperatriz Carvajal.

A fascinating, 1940s precursor to Mexico’s later sci-fi craze, this art deco fantasy imagines a parallel world to macho Mexico. After a shipwreck, Adan—a handsome “charro” from Guadalajara, and his dashing Spaniard friend Curro, wash ashore on the island of Eden, a land where women are waited upon hand and foot by men. This social order is threatened when Queen Eva XLV falls in love with her guapo visitor Adan, even adopting his curious Mexican ways to win him. A rare peek into an alternate universe, with sexual politics surprisingly little changed.  (35mm, b/w, subtitles, 81 min.)

Funded by the UCLA Arts Initiative and co-presented with the UCLA Film & Televison Archive.

Public programs are made possible, in part, by a major gift from Ann and Jerry Moss. 

Additional support is provided by Bronya and Andrew Galef, Good Works Foundation and Laura Donnelley, an anonymous donor, and the Hammer Programs Committee.

Funded by the UCLA Arts Initiative and co-presented with the UCLA Film & Televison Archive.

Public programs are made possible, in part, by a major gift from Ann and Jerry Moss. 

Additional support is provided by Bronya and Andrew Galef, Good Works Foundation and Laura Donnelley, an anonymous donor, and the Hammer Programs Committee.