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Mulata (1954)

Two mulatos, Mateo and Caridad, grow up together in a port in Havana, Cuba. Caridad is the daughter of a white man who died in a shipwreck and a black laundry-woman. As the years pass, ... See full synopsis »
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Cast

Credited cast:
Ninón Sevilla ... Caridad / María
Pedro Armendáriz ... Martín
René Cardona ... Guevara
Ricardo Román Ricardo Román ... Mateo
Fanny Schiller ... Doña Rosario
Jorge Mondragón Jorge Mondragón ... Esposo de Rosario
Lolita Santacruz Lolita Santacruz ... Estela
José Muñoz José Muñoz ... Manuel
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Digna Sevilla Digna Sevilla ... Caridad niña
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Storyline

Two mulatos, Mateo and Caridad, grow up together in a port in Havana, Cuba. Caridad is the daughter of a white man who died in a shipwreck and a black laundry-woman. As the years pass, Mateo falls in love with Caridad, but she falls in love with a Mexican captain, Martin. Martin falls into financial trouble and has to mortgage his boat to Guevara, owner of the cantina where Caridad dances. When Martin returns to Vera Cruz, Mexico, to resolve his troubles, Guevara feels he "owns" Caridad. What will Caridad do when Martin returns?

This film has great music and dancing, including a risque performance of African "bembe", in which women tear off their tops and roll around in the sand.

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Plot Keywords:

based on novel | See All (1) »

Genres:

Drama

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Details

Country:

Mexico

Language:

Spanish

Release Date:

16 July 1954 (Mexico) See more »

Also Known As:

La mulâtresse See more »

Filming Locations:

Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

 
A Rare Find
29 September 2014 | by EdgarSTSee all my reviews

"Mulata" is not one of Ninón Sevilla's celebrated melodramas. It does not contain the outrageous campy elements that make "Víctimas del pecado", "Aventurera" and "Sensualidad" such undeniable classics; it has not the spectacular musical numbers in big sets and complex choreographies, found in almost all of her films; and it contains no humor, as in "Club de Señoritas". But somehow "Mulata" is probably the motion picture that is closer to Sevilla's cultural roots, ethnic and social concerns, and the varied and different ways of love that made her life so rich. Adapted from "Mulatilla: Estampa negra", a novel by Uruguayan writer Roberto Olivencia Márquez, the action now takes place in Cuba and tells the story of Caridad (a name that echoes the name of the Virgin patron of the island), the beautiful daughter of a black slave, who has to struggle against those in high positions that exploit her, and the men who only desire her as a sexual object. Her life is marked by tragedy and she will be physically abused, betrayed and forced into prostitution. The story is told in retrospect, from the memories of the Mexican sailor who took Caridad from the port of Mariel where she was born and raised, to the city of La Habana, where she ends up dancing in a third-rate cabaret, and then to Mexico, causing her downfall upon their return to Mariel. The role is played in the usual brutish manner of actor Pedro Armendáriz (as in Buñuel's redundantly called "El bruto"), and his narration if filled with rhetorical expressions: there is a long sequence on the beach that interestingly covers a ritual dancing celebration of Santería, the Yoruba religion practiced by Ninón, which is also an important element in her films "Víctimas del pecado" and "Yambaó". It is through those dances that Caridad connects to her African origins, and feels free and joyful. For 1954 the sequence is a strange and daring mixture of ethnography and sensationalism, including the bare breasts of several dancers and actress Lolita Santacruz. (I can't tell if this is true, but I have been to many of those rituals, and it was very rare to have seven to eight women deliriously tear their blouses apart). What I find most irritating is Gilberto Martínez Solares' routine direction (being the usual director of Tin Tan's anarchic comedies, he was not the right choice) and his brother Agustín's cinematography, repeating framing and rarely moving the camera. If you pass these objections, you may enjoy the film (it is thankfully quite short), and if you are interested in Ninón Sevilla's screen career and on cultural survival and racial self-affirmation, you will doubly enjoy it.


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