In 1896, Salvador Toscano obtained a concession for the use of the cinematograph patented by the Lumière brothers. Thus, he presented this invention in our country, which was a camera and projector. Without knowing it, he took the first step towards the creation of the film. Memoirs of a Mexican.
Memoirs of a Mexican, historical monument
As of that year, Toscano, in addition to inaugurating the first movie theater in Mexico City, dedicated himself to collecting images of all kinds in the first half of the 20th century, creating one of the most important film archives in the country, the Salvador Toscano archive.
However, it would not be until 1942, that the writer Carmen Toscano, daughter of the filmmaker, he would decide to shape a monumental film, based on his father’s documentary work; and that it had Mexico as its protagonist, which was moving towards modernity.
Consequently, in 1950, the Memoirs of a Mexican, written by Carmen Toscano and narrated by the famous announcer Manuel Bernal; a film in which a fictitious character recounts his memories in flashback from 1950 to the past.
The 100-minute long film would emphasize both the last years of the Porfiriato and the Mexican Revolution; and it would also show the daily life of our country in those times: parties, changing rooms, streets and avenues, train stations, buildings.
Recognition as heritage
It seems that the premiere of the film at the Cine Chapultepec, in 1950, was highly commented in the newspapers of the time, since it was attended by prominent artists, politicians and intellectuals, such as José Vasconcelos, Diego Rivera and Vicente Lombardo Toledano.
Applause for the historical value of Memoirs of a Mexican was unanimous, since it was considered the best Mexican film that had been made up to that moment and a year later, it would win an Ariel Award for Film of Greater National Interest.
Finally, it would take 17 years for the National Institute of Anthropology and History, declared it in 1967 as a national historical monument, since, due to its historical and artistic value, it would be preserved for the knowledge and enjoyment of present and future generations.
Memoirs of a Mexican can be seen on Youtube.