Film: 5200

Social History | 1940 | Sound | B/W


1940s documentary about the urban and rural areas of Mexico and how govenrment reforms effected change in struggling agricultural communities. Commentary in English

Pan American Highway. Car with luggage on top. Couple inside a car driving. Point of view from inside the car. Arriving at a motel. Map of Mexico with route being planned. Commentary tells us that the Americans are the best travellers in the world. More and more Americans are travelling south using the Pan American Highway.
Mountains. Pan-America Highway. Sign of Mexico Km 1200. Mexican woman, boy and girl hitchhiking
Photograph of a volcano erupting. Shots of Paricutin volcano in eruption of1946. Lots of lava and smoke billow out of its top..

Poster Oaxaca-Mexico.
Mexican religious celebration held in a town square with a lot of people, ritual-dancing in traditional indigenous clothing and ornamentation. Commentary tell us that Mexico is very popular for its religious fiestas in which Aztec and Mayans traditions subsist.

Poster Tasco - Mexico
Elevated view of Tasco. Cathedral. Streets with people walking. Carrousel.

Poster Mexico
Elevated view of Mexico City, introduced by the narrator as the centre of tourism and with a nice balance of modern conveniences and old sites . Cathedral. Street with trucks, cattle and people. Modern streets. Street with buses. Tall building. Light signs of night clubs: 'Sans Souci', Ciro's. Interior night club, couples dancing. Orchestra playing. Man and woman sit talking, she makes an ill judged comment about Mexican stereotypes to her male Mexican friend who patiently corrects her. People sitting at tables, drinking, smoking and chatting.
Commentary tells us that Mexico City is very cosmopolitan but that there is the real Mexico as well…

Stils of the Mexican Revolution 1910
Square with a lot of people. Book shops. Books of History of Mexico, Mexican Revolution, etc. Exhibition of Photographs of Mexican revolution. Photograph of Porfirio Diaz. Photographs of : Francisco Madero, Pancho Villa and Zapata, Eulalio Gutiérrez, Venustantio Carranza, Alvaro Obregon. People watching exhibition.
Commentary tells us about social upheaval… the Mexican people rose up in arms, led by General Emiliano Zapata, and the Mexican Revolution of 1910 toppled the dictator Porfirio Diaz (for 30 years exploited Mexican resources and sold them to foreigners). Several people shape the revolution: Francisco Madero who supplanted Diaz, Zapata, Villa, Gutierrez, Carranza, Obregon.
President Lazaro Cardenas arriving to main square in an opened car. Lots of people and policemen. Oil fields. Barrells. Trucks leaving 'Pierce'. Interior Stock Market building. Cattle. Farms. Peasants working the land. Oxen. Peasant family life.
Commentary: Cardenas became president in 1934… reclaimed the Mexican Oil… wealthy landowners owned 90% of the soil… peasants were badly paid…
Exterior presidential palace. President Cardenas and Ministers. Booklet 'Agriculture Federal Constitution. Surveyors checking haciendas. Tractors. Modern machines. Peasants working on the farms of weathly land owners..
Irrigation plants. People working. Crane.
Commentary: Cardenas ordered the haciendas to be broken up by surveyors… cooperative farms… government irrigation plans. As part of agricultural reforms. Dam building.

Booklet 'Educational Constitution'. School. Children enter school, walking past teacher standing outisde the entrance.
Commentary: … thousands of schools were built…
Cardenas sitting down in a big table full of people. Peasants. Cardenas talking to people.
Commentary: …meeting the peasants and listening to their problems, Cardenas became an idol..
Booklet 'Subsoil Constitution'. People working in offices. Man pasting posters of Cardenas. A man pasting on top of a sign 'California Standard Company of Mexico'. Mexicans marching with banners. Aerial view of march.
Commentary: … sent government agents to check on foreign oil companies… brought strong protest from the English and Americans… he brought a new sense of pride to his people...
Exterior Camara de Diputados. Interior. President Camacho takes government. Applause. Camacho reading a discourse. Poster 'El grito de Guerra' (Scream of War). People on the streets shouting, flags. Trains. Industry. People working. Miners. Rubber industry (tyres) with brand Goodrich and USA in chalk.
Commentary: President Manuel Avila Camacho was elected in 1940…Mexico declared war to the Axis… the Mexicans were fighting side by side with the USA… industry for War effort… USA helped to build the Mexican Industry during and after the war… Mexican mines… zinc, lead…
Meeting of Mexican foreign Minister Ezequiel Padilla and USA Ambassador George S. Messersmith.
Commentary: USA and Mexico… Good neighbour policy…
Railway Mission in Mexico building. Several shots of people working on railway. Trains passing by. Construction works.
Commentary: Mexico welcomed the help of USA in the Industrial… the railways… will help economic growth and transportation… Mexicans received technical advice… Industrial expansion into the modern world.
Airplanes. Tanks in the streets. Military parade in Main Square.
Commentary: Military and industrial strength… better relations with the neighbours… they gained respect.
But with war's end… Mexico faced again the shortcoming of its national economy.
Modern Mexico city with big buildings and traffic. Lots of people in the streets. People going to church. Church's interior. Several good shots of men and women praying. Candles in altar.
Different Political Parties
Accion Nacional ( minority political group of the rich and reactionaries) premises. Interior: man talking. Elegant men applauding.
Interior of a meeting in the Sinarquista Movement premises.
Communist Party of Mexico. Poster and people reunited.
P.R.I. (Political machine of the Revolution). Lots of people in this meeting. Is the socialist party of the Mexicans.
1946 elections. P.R.I. President Miguel Aleman elected. Aleman gives his speech. Lots of people listening.
Train. Peasants working
Commentary:… still a long way to go… peasants still without land…
Posters to Improve Education. National campaign against illiteracy. Books being printed. Books being sold very cheaply. Kiosks selling books at one peso. One adult teaching another adult by law. Technical Schools, Colleges. Universities.
Streets and square full of people.

The End

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