Sunday, August 22, 2010


Research breakthroughs can come in unexpected ways. Stray sheets in the archive, serendipitous connections, flashes of inspiration...

In the late 1940s, a pair of films were released in Mexico offering a dramatic--and slightly comedic--portrayal of the bus industry in Mexico City. These films, although a part of the golden age of Mexican cinema, are nearly impossible to find. Though I knew of their existence, I had no idea how to track them down.

As a regular customer at the Sunday market, I have come to know many of the vendors. The three butchers were particularly friendly. One morning as I explained what I was doing in Mexico, the youngest of the three, Gabriel, stopped me and asked if I knew about the film "Esquina, Bajan." Surprised, I exclaimed that I knew of it, but had never seen it. "I can get it for you," he replied. So it was that a few weeks later, I was handed a half-kilo of tenderloin and two much-sought-after DVDs.

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