Chulas Fronteras (1976) & Del Mero Corazón (1979)
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Celebrating the New York theatrical release of two classic documentaries from the incomparable Les Blank, CHULAS FRONTERAS & DEL MERO CORAZÓN, newly restored in gorgeous 4k. These masterworks pay tribute to the famed Mexican-American musicians of the borderlands, the migrant farming communities from which they come, the strong family bonds of Tejanos, and the social protest ethos inscribed in their music.
Chulas Fronteras (Beautiful Borders) is a zesty introduction to the music and culture of the Texas-Mexican border. From joyous, lively dance tunes to soulful, political work songs, Norteña music fuses traditional Mexican harmonies with German dancehall rhythms and a little something extra. Newly restored in 4k, Chulas Fronteras celebrates the famed Mexican-American musicians of the borderlands, the migrant farming communities from which they come, the strong family bonds of Tejanos, and the social protest ethos inscribed in their music. Blank & Strachwitz's film brims with tender affection for its subjects, the vitality of their marvelous music, and the generosity of spirit they show in the face of hardship. Featuring Flaco Jiménez, Lydia Mendoza, Los Alegres de Terán, Narciso Martínez, Santiago Jiménez, Rumel Fuentes, Don Santiago Jiménez, Los Pingüinos del Norte, and Ramiro Cavazos. Directed by Les Blank & Chris Strachwitz.
Del Mero Corazón (Straight from the Heart) is a lyrical journey through the heart of Chicano culture as reflected in the love songs of the Tex-Mex Norteña music tradition, constructed from outtakes from Chulas Fronteras and brought to life by long time collaborator of Les Blank's, Maureen Gosling. Featuring Little Joe & La Familia, Leo Garza & His Conjunto, Chavela & Brown Express, Andrés Berlanga, Ricardo Mejía, Conjunto Tamaulípas. Directed by Maureen Gosling, Les Blank, Guillermo Hernández & Chris Strachwitz.
"Chulas Fronteras, a chronicle of Mex-Tex culture that reminds one of a time when it was possible to think of the Mexican border without wanting to punch many of your fellow Americans in the face." - Hollywood Reporter
"His work remains some of the richest, most palpable sensory experiences ever committed to celluloid—films that welcome viewers into vibrant, authentic cultural spaces and treat them like special guests." - Slant Magazine
"Timely as ever." - The New York Times
"The films make clear that the corridos belted out on screen by artists like Flaco and Santiago Jimenez, Los Pinguinos del Norte, Los Alegres de Terán, and other giants of the genre, are American to the core, the products and stories of immigrants and laborers struggling for footholds in a new country." - Film Comment
"These films are priceless records of life on the border."
- Screen Slate