Towards a Mexican Film Industry: 1896-1920

This article offers a panoramic description of the early development of the two main strands of the film business in Mexico: exhibition and distribution. The former emerged in 1896 with the arrival of the licensees of the Lumière brothers and continued as Mexican and French itinerant exhibitors took up the trade. The latter was created via commercial strategies involving local agencies and international firms such as Pathé, and led to the establishment in 1906 of distribution systems based on the rental of film prints. I conclude that the development of these businesses differed to similar processes in other countries, due to the late onset of sustained film production in Mexico (which only began with sound film), once the structures put in place for the distribution and exhibition of foreign films had consolidated. The article also addresses cinema’s reception by both popular and elite audiences in Mexico, drawing on contemporary newspaper accounts.

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Keywords: Mexico, early cinema, exhibition, distribution, consumption.

ISSN: 2469-0767



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