Film censorship in Mexico, 1925-1928: the case of Saltillo

Antonio Corona, Universidad Autónoma de Coahuila, Mexico
Brenda A. Muñoz, Universidad Autónoma de Coahuila, Mexico :

This paper explores the censorship of American movies in the city of Saltillo, Mexico, between 1925 and 1928, within the framework of New Cinema History. Drawing on archival documents from the office of the Mayor of Saltillo and a historical overview of the interactions and tensions between various actors at the national and international level, we attempt to illustrate the bureaucratic mechanisms that translated presidential decrees and centralized executive orders into concrete actions at the local level, and how these mechanisms interacted with pre-existing social connections in the city, shaping the local movie-going experience. We found that 10 films and 6 distributors were banned – some of them later unbanned – in the city during this period for one of three reasons: denigrating Mexico, denigrating allied nations, and undermining the regime. In all cases, it was the Department of the Interior that ordered the ban, while the city’s mayor and his theater inspectors were ultimately responsible for enforcing it. In the case of movies that were ‘uncomfortable’ for the regime, the correspondence was more urgent and simply ordered a stop to exhibition without mentioning any legal or diplomatic precedent.

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