The Wave

New 35mm Restoration

(Redes, a.k.a. Nets). In the 1930s, American photographer Paul Strand, an admirer of Mexican social reforms, was invited by the Mexican government to make a series of films reflecting the concerns of the country's Indians. Because of a change in government, The Wave was the only one produced. A dramatized documentary set in the fishing village of Alvarado on the Gulf of Veracruz, it recounts a fishermen's strike against an exploitative merchant following the death of a child. The young Austrian emigré Fred Zinnemann, whose work with the New York documentarians predated his Hollywood career, directed the cast of mostly nonprofessional actors, including many local fishermen and townspeople. The Wave, with its dramatic aesthetic drawn from the faces, sky, and sea of Alvarado-Strand's “resolute, obstinate respect for the thing in itself” (John Berger)-influenced the great cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa and helped initiate Mexico's so-called Indianist films, which became a national style in stark counterpoint to its European-style melodramas.

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