The Calderón Family's Role in the Rise and Fall of Mexican Cinema Explored at OC Film Fiesta

The Calderón family, whose involvement in Mexican cinema dates back to 1910, built our southern neighbor's first grand movie houses that played the country's first big commercial hits. The Calderón family also produced ficheras, trashy films that many believe tarnished Mexican cinema.

Viviana Garcia-Besné 
learned both legacies growing up in the Calderón family, something she now explores in her documentary Perdida (“Lost in Time”) that rolls in Santa Ana Saturday afternoon as past of OC Film Fiesta.

Garcia-Besné embarked on a three-year quest to uncover the family film story, which began when her great-great-uncle José U. Calderón discovered the film industry at the 1904 World Fair in St. Louis, Missouri, continued through the rise of films starring wrestling star “El Santo” in the 1960s and on to the scandalous, cabaret-themed ficheras of the '80s.

The founding of the family's film and cinematography business accompanied the Mexican Revolution, and government indifference to maintaining movie houses led to the decline of the film industry and the Calderón family's involvement in it. (Visit Cinematográfica Calderón to learn more.)

Fortunately, both bounced back, if Perida can be viewed as a return to form for at least a distant Calderón relative. Garcia-Besné poured over old film reels, photographs, newspaper articles and clips from the family's
film vaults to create her documentary, which ultimately brought her peace about the Calderóns role in Mexican cinema. Find out why at 1 p.m. Saturday in the Santora Arts Building, 
211 North
Broadway, Santa Ana.

OC Film Fiesta Celebrates Cinema, Music, Food, Latino Jews and Rita Hayworth in Santa Ana

Also playing today . . .


The 1946 King Vidor classic about a sinister South American casino
boss who finds out his new wife (Rita Hayworth) already knows his right-hand man (Glenn Ford). Legend has it Hayworth would come to Santa Ana to practice dancing, away from the preying eyes of Hollywood. The Latina was so beautiful, and now for the so sad. Check out this old Santa Ana-datelined clip, about a conservator being named to handle her estate in 1977, when she was being treated at Hoag Hospital for alcoholism and mental illness. 3:30 p.m. at Santora with an accompanying fashion show courtesy of Santa Ana's Mi Moda and
Elegante Boutique that is inspired by the 1940s' cinema sexpot.


Food is served by Artists Village restaurants, including Memphis Cafe, Chapter One: The Modern Local, Lola
Gaspar's, Calacas Cafe, Country Garden Caterers and Pocho Catering. 6 p.m. at Santora. Tickets are $10.

Playing Sunday . . .


Presented in association with the Anti-Defamation League is this documentary about the European Jews who wound up settling in the border town. Throughout the early
20th century, thousands of European Jews sailed to America to escape
persecution and look for new opportunities, and some wound up in TJ. Director Isaac Artenstein attends. 1 p.m. at Santora.


The newly restored 1922 silent film is based on Anzia Yazierska's short stories about an immigrant Jewish
family living in New York City's Lower East Side. Composer and original score restorer David Spear attends. 2:30 p.m. at Santora.


Music and a Jewish-Latino fusion menu prepared by Pocho Catering. 4 p.m. at Santora.

Coming up next weekend . . .

Saturday, Sept. 15: The Greenhorns,
a documentary that explores the lives of America's young farmers that
is co-presented by The Road Less Traveled and The Grain Project, at 1
p.m. . . . Tin Tan, a documentary on Germán Cipriano Gómez Valdés Castillo's
famous titular character known for his “pachuco” style, use of
Spanglish and rapid comedy improv, at 3 p.m. . . . Followed by an
interactive Boogie Woogie dance demonstration, all in the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art.

Sunday, Sept. 16: Brilliant Soil, a documentary on Herlinda,
an indigenous Purepecha potter who uses alternative lead-free glazes
unlike others in her community, in the Yost Theatre, 307 N. Spurgeon
St., at 1 p.m. (and co-sponsored by the Yost, Grand Central Art Center
and Bulbo of Tijuana and Los Angeles). . . . El Santo en el museo de
(El Santo in the Wax Museum), starring everyone's favorite masked lucha libre film star, at 5:30 p.m. . . . Tales of Masked Men, a PBS documentary on Mexican-style wrestling, at 7 p.m. The lucha libre films are at the Orange County Center for
Contemporary Art.

Visit for more information.

Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *