Amorous Pancho Villa, Romance & Revolution
A man of passion fought a revolution for his improvised gente and for the women he so loved
Elia Esparza, Latin Heat Entertainment
"Amorous Pancho Villa", is a gem of a film beautifully shot that seamlessly pulls us into the mind, heart and soul of Mexican Revolution's most infamous general, Jose Doroteo Arango Arambula aka Pancho Villa.
Published on LatinoLA: March 15, 2014
Filmmakers Juan Andres Bueno and Lourdes Deschamps have made a film that is unlike any other about the international icon--and there have been dozens--yet no other story has ever captured the depth of Pancho Villa's passion to live and die for his ideals. Amorous Pancho Villa, a Spanish-language film with English subtitles, has garnered many awards in the film festival circuit (St. Tropez Film Festival won "Best Foreign Language Feature," Best Costume," and " Best Film of Festival", and at Madrid International Film Festival won "Best Foreign Film".) With the recent success of Mexican film, Instructions Not Included, there is no doubt that the captivating Amorous Pancho Villa is a film that will also appeal to the U.S. general and global markets.
The film opens at the a funeral wake where the residents of Parral, Chihuahua have gathered to mourn the murder of their revolution hero, Pancho Villa. Among the mourners are four of Villa's wives, where in an awkward confrontation between Luz Corral (Gabriela Canudas) and another wife Lichita (Veronica Jaspeado). Corral, Villa's first wife and the one recognized by such by both the Mexican and U.S. governments, starts to recount her husband's life. The wake, which has a feel of a classic dark film noir, alternates to full color flashbacks as Luz and Lichita take us back to their husband's life journey, exposing his strengths and weaknesses.
Amorous Pancho Villa resurrects the life a man of humble beginnings, Jose Doroteo Arango Arambula who as a young boy killed the rich ranch owner who was in the process of to kidnapping his sister. He goes on the run hiding with relatives in mountains of Durango where he hung out as an outlaw. Thus begins the journey to becoming the fearless and courageous leader who would emerge 17 years later as Francisco Villa.
Mexican actor Alejandro Navarrete not only looks and sounds like the charismatic Villa, his representation is more like a channeling of his spirit. His convincing performance only adds to the integrity of the film. Navarrete's narration transports us into this man's mind, heart and soul. We can't help but feel so much empathy for him--his ideals, beliefs and passion for women, family and education. The film also features four of Mexico's most important actresses: Diana Bracho, Paola N????ez, Dominica Paleta y Alejandra Barros whose brilliant performances tug at our heartstrings.
Amorous Pancho Villa is based on a Mexican best selling book, "Itinerario de una Pasion ÔÇô Los Amores de mi General", written by Villa's great granddaughter.
I tracked down one the director/producers, Juan Andres Bueno to ask how in the heck they were able to make a film on what Hollywood would consider a low budget even for Mexican cinema.
As we got to know Juan Andres Bueno, we learn that he arrived to the U.S. at the age of 12 when his father moved the family from Mexico to Beverly Hills when he was named president of Azteca Films, the distribution company founded by Alberto Salas Porras, who is credited to bringing together Mutual Films and the legendary Pancho Villa. Bueno attended 90210's middle and high schools and became totally immersed in everything Hollywood.
"My father was involved in all aspects of film, production, distribution and exhibition," said Bueno, "I was fortunate enough to be involved in all aspects and learned from him and with him. He gave me the first opportunity to write and direct in my early films."
It was in Beverly Hills where as a young man Bueno had the good fortune to meet Sid Sollow, then president of Consolidated Film Industries. "Sid," said Bueno, "would affect my life immensely both as a role model and mentor." And, so it was that Consolidated Film Industries became Bueno's first film school and initiation to the film art form. "It was also with Sid's help that Herb Browar brought me to the cutting rooms of Filmways T.V.," he added.
As a result of Sollow and Browar friendships, Bueno would work on such iconic shows as The Addams Family, The Beverly Hillbillies and Green Acres. In 1967, he was admitted to local 776 of the IASTE Film Editors Union.
Juan Andres Bueno knows how to tell a story on film and through the collaboration of several key individuals like Lourdes Deschamps, Jorge Rubio, Elias Godoy Ortiz Mario Hernandez, Mayra Mendoza Villa, Rafael Carlos Moreno Garcia, Arturo Tekayuenhuatzin Perez, Antonella Sanmaiego and cinematographer, Arturo de la Rosa, it is no wonder that Amorous Pancho Villa has completely enchanted us.
LatinHeat: Why Amorous Pancho Villa when there are already so many films about the infamous general made throughout the decades?
Juan Andres Bueno: I have always admired Villa. His integrity and sense of social justice makes sense to me--his passion for a better life for all--is an inspiring thought.
Approximately 10 years ago, I was teaching screenwriting and direction at a small film school in Mexico City when one of my students, Mayra Mendoza Villa, [later became editor and post-producer of Amorous Pancho Villa], brought to my attention a novel written by her aunt and granddaughter of Pancho Villa. The book, "Itinerario de una Pasion ÔÇô Los Amores de mi General" dealt more with the personal life of the revolutionary hero who had for scores of years been maligned by the very people who murdered him.
I found factual information in the book to be fascinating since it brought to light a totally different concept of the man and his life. This Villa is a man who laughs, cries, hates alcohol and loves ice cream, candy, Coca-Cola and canned asparagus. A Villa who adores children and takes care of hundreds of orphans, sending many of them to the U.S. to study; a Villa who married 18 times and cared for all those women, but destiny denied him a lasting relationship--this was a different story angle I felt strongly needed to be told. The research facet became perhaps as thrilling as the making of the film itself.
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