Docudrama for the Emerging Postwar Order

By David J. M. Wood

This article focuses on the productive tensions between the competing ideological discourses of postwar internationalism, Mexican postrevolutionary nationalism and local indigenous representational paradigms in the activities of the film unit of the Unesco-sponsored adult education centre (CREFAL) in the town of Pátzcuaro, Mexico in the 1950s, which combined village screenings of educational, promotional and informative movies from the world over, with the local production of pedagogical documentary shorts by nonprofessional filmmakers from across Latin America.

Figure 1: From the skies of Mexico (upper image) to the skies of Thailand (lower image). Paul Rotha and Basil Wright, World Without End, 1953. Mexico/Thailand/UK. Frame grab.

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Figure 2. Treating Yaws with Penicillin in Thailand. Paul Rotha and Basil Wright, World Without End, 1953. Mexico/Thailand/UK. Frame grab.

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Figure 3. A CREFAL student teaches a Tarascan peasant to use DDT soap when washing clothes in the dirty lake water. Paul Rotha and Basil Wright, World Without End, 1953. Mexico/Thailand/UK. Frame grab.

Figure 4. Film screening in a community in the Lake Pátzcuaro area. CREFAL archive, n/d. Mexico. Copyright: CREFAL.

Figure 5. Hagen Hasselbach, Inauguración de CREFAL, 1951. Mexico. Frame grab.