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Perdida

Mexican film history gets an amusing and surprisingly personal overhaul in "Perdida," as Viviana Garcia Besne -- granddaughter of the Calderon dynasty -- gleefully liberates skeletons from closets and apocryphal footage from forbidden vaults in an earnest albeit frequently hilarious effort to clear things up about her family's unorthodox contributions to the art.

With:
With: Guillermo Calderon Stell, Maria Teresa Calderon Stell, Rafael Calderon Jr., Alma Montemayor, Pedro C. Perico, Ricardo Montalban, Jorge Garcia Besne, Armando Silvestre, David Ramon, Enrique Vidal, Antonio de Hud, Ana Luisa Peluffo, Joaquin Cordero, Sasha Montenegro, Lyn May, Rafael Inclan.

Mexican film history gets an amusing and surprisingly personal overhaul in “Perdida,” as Viviana Garcia Besne — granddaughter of the Calderon dynasty — gleefully liberates skeletons from closets and apocryphal footage from forbidden vaults in an earnest albeit frequently hilarious effort to clear things up about her family’s unorthodox contributions to the art. For Mexican auds, the doc offers wild, revisionist fun. Apart from the pic’s inclusion in this year’s Telluride lineup, U.S. release seems unlikely, and yet this unique artifact may actually be more entertaining to those with no knowledge of the subject.

For south-of-the-border cinephiles, the Calderon name is synonymous with the lowbrow Santos series and ultra-popular “ficheras” genre — bawdy sex comedies that, in their own sub-Corman way, sustained the Mexican film industry at its ebb. Through a dizzying array of stills, archival footage and contempo interviews with surviving relatives (a whirlwind that makes subtitle reading a chore), Garcia Besne reclaims respect for the family’s myriad contributions, while putting to rest such mysteries as why her grandmother still carries a flame for Ricardo Montalban and what became of a Vatican-defying nudie version of cult hit “El vampiro y el sexo.”

Perdida

Mexico

Production: An Alistair Tremps production in association with Arte, Musica y Video and Imcine with the support of Agrasanchez Film Archive. Produced by Tremps. Directed by Viviana Garcia Besne. Co-director, Alistair Tremps.

Crew: Camera (color/B&W, HD), Garcia Besne; editor, Besne; music, Anahit Simonian. Reviewed at Telluride Film Festival, Sept. 3, 2011. Running time: 94 MIN.

With: With: Guillermo Calderon Stell, Maria Teresa Calderon Stell, Rafael Calderon Jr., Alma Montemayor, Pedro C. Perico, Ricardo Montalban, Jorge Garcia Besne, Armando Silvestre, David Ramon, Enrique Vidal, Antonio de Hud, Ana Luisa Peluffo, Joaquin Cordero, Sasha Montenegro, Lyn May, Rafael Inclan.

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