A roller-skating nun spray paints prophecies of the death of rock and roll on the walls of Mexico City high-rises. The angular leaves of the maguey plant dance to the rhythm of Shostakovich’s 11th Symphony. A feminist prankster wreaks havoc in a monastic order by adding LSD to the friars’ drinking supply. Experimental Mexican cinema jests with established forms and anarchically subverts the conventional. The Mexperimental Cinema begins in the aftermath of the Mexican Revolution, when the movie camera became a tool for the nationalistic, utopian projects of artists and intellectuals. The series extends the traditionally exclusive North American and European focus of avant-garde film and features a range of alternative filmmaking practices in Mexico, tracing the influence of Sergei Eisenstein and Luis Buñuel’s Mexican periods and examining Mexican experimental cinema’s affinities to the films of European Surrealists, abstract animation, and more recent oppositional film practices from Latin America and beyond. The series moves from the countercultural works of the 1960s to the newest generation of noncommercial, formal experiments and also features works by U.S. experimental filmmakers for whom Mexico was a site of exploration and a source of mythic imagery.

The Mexperimental Cinema is guest-curated by Jesse Lerner, a documentary filmmaker based in Los Angeles and an instructor at Pitzer College, a member of the Claremont Colleges; and Rita González, a videomaker and a student in UCLA’s Ph.D. program in Critical Studies at the School of Cinema/Television. The program is organized by John G. Hanhardt, Senior Curator of Film and Media Arts, and Maria-Christina Villaseñor, Assistant Curator of Film and Media Arts, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

above: Corazón sangrante (1995), Ximena Cuevas