Posted at 05.10.2018
In the 1948 film Nosotros Los Pobres the representation of maternal and paternal figures confirm Octavio Paz' theories of the Mexican identity crisis as well as ascribe to the stereotypes described by Monsiváis. Octavio Paz' states the Mexican race is subject to gsuspicion, dissimulation, irony, the courtesy that shuts us from the stranger, all the psychic oscillations with which, in eluding a strange glace, we elude ourselvesh. To Paz the Mexican race can be an oppressed one, a servant race hiding behind masks and smiles. The Mexican is of the subservient worker mentality, he/she always thinks of being brought down by external forces. These forces aren't external gthey are impalpable and invincible because they're not outside us but within ush. For Paz the totality of the Mexican existence is the fact gonly when they are alone, through the great moments of life do they dare to show themselves as they really areh. To both Paz and Monsiváis the Mexican (male) is a person of several contradictions somebody who is sensitive, angry, arrogant, wise, ignorant, dedicated, womanizing, distant, and emotional. The Mexican holds many of these things in himself simultaneously and in extreme occasions bursts out. Monsiváis makes the connection between your poor and the need for drama or melodrama; gthe audience could forget its economic woes with the discovery that so many shared its own misfortuneh. For the Mexican female and male, the earth and life makes the most sense when they are suffering. There is most likely no better representation of the suffering, the trials of life, the melodrama, the extreme emotional contradictions of the Mexican than in Nosotros Los Pobres.
By isolating the paternal figure to the character Pepe, we can examine how he's a textbook representation of the contradictory Mexican male in an identity crisis. Pedro Infante as Pepe involves be the archetypical Mexican male. Monsivais describes this male as " alternatively and simultaneously brave, generous, cruel, rakish, romantic, obscene, able to make the greatest sacrifice, family-oriented and a friend until death". Pepe as a father is a both times generous and cruel, this is evident throughout the film in various scenes along with his daughter. Pepe's dedicated paternalism comes out any time he has to console his daughter and reassure her that he will never replace her mother. His sweetness comes out in the scene in which he apologetically croons his daughter with a birthday song. His crooning for his daughter just employs one of is own cruelest moments in the film in which he slaps his daughter in response to her accusing him of killing her mother. In slapping his daughter Pepe literallizes Paz' quote, his daughter becomes "the person who suffers this action is passive, inert, and open, as opposed to the active, aggressive and closed one who inflicts it". Pepe is of course arrogant, prideful and closed, all because he wants to spare his daughter of the shame of knowing who her real mother is, by slapping his daughter Pepe all at one time trying to safeguard is daughter and is suffering from a moment of emotional outburst where he in Paz' conditions becomes the chingón. To say whether Pepe is a chingón is a paper topic in and of itself, for now his moments of being a chingón can be viewed as as part of himself, part of the bigger whole this is the Mexican identity, just one more part of the contradictory Mexican. Pepe's chingón comes out in a single other scene, the scene where his sister reveals herself as the girl's mother (to the audience) and begs for Pepe's forgiveness. As presented his sister doesn't seem to be to deserve the hatred and unforgiving emotional torment that Pepe heaps on her. It is as though his own pride, arrogance, and all-around Mexican identity keeps him from forgiving his sister. Pepe's unforgiving of his sister can be chalked up to serving the melodrama of the film.
The Mexican romantic in Pepe comes out in virtually any scene Pedro Infante shares the screen with the countless women who adore him. Pedro Infante's natural talent of singing comes into play as well. The whistling scene between him and his sweet innocent pure love interest Celia Pepe at his most romantic. Pepe reveals himself to be always a man of honor and dedication when resists the advances of "La Que Se Levanta Tarde", sometimes Pepe's verbal sparring borders on cruel. The scene where La Que Se Levanta Tarde forces Pepe's face into her bosom through comic action is of course played for laughs.
The last facet and stereotype of the Mexican male is that of machismo. Pepe displays this machismo in the film's later half which shows Pepe in prison and literally fighting for his life. Pepe violently beats the criminal in charge of the crime Pepe was accused of. Although this resolution is simplistic, it nonetheless serves the goal of the melodrama, Pepe proves his innocence by beating the crap out of the other guy. By showing each one of these facets of the Mexican identity and male, Pepe fits the stereotypes suggested by Paz and Monsivá. Pepe through all his contradictions and variety as a guy, he involves represent the whole of the Mexican identity crisis.
The female that involves represent maternity and the female stereotypes is the type of Celia. Celia is all at one time pure, sweet, vulnerable and mistreated. To Paz, Celia involves present the "chingada, female, who is pure passivity, defenseless against the exterior world". Celia's passivity comes out in a small scale in two scenes. The scene where her father forbids her from seeing Pepe or being courted by Pepe, her response is of course emotional openness which makes her vulnerable and ineffective against her father who holds power over her. The other scene where Celia is passive and open is the scene where she confront Pepe for the reality. Again, Pepe shows his emotional contradictions in this scene, as Celia through her love and openness is simply looking to get Pepe to be honest of Chanchita's mother Pepe subsequently treats Celia cruelty. She is vulnerable as soon as again Pepe is a chingón, prefers to be in solitude rather than be open and vulnerable to Celia, and Celia is the one have problems with it, she even throughly expresses her love and care for Pepe, who subsequently in only unreceptive not because he is because he's trying to save lots of Celia as well. Through his emotional cruelty Pepe is saving Celia from being with him, sparing her of being with the complex man who would rather be anyone but himself.
Both Pepe and Celia come to represent a "sketched portrait of any people: generous, prejudiced, and more emotional than rational; pious and fanatic; an enemy of bigotry and more liberal than it seemed; inhibited by Lord and Master". The people of Nosotros Los Pobres, whose nicknames define their personality traits, are folks of a community suffering from the Mexican identities, all these facets at one. It comes as now surprise why Nosotros Los Pobres is known as on the best Mexican films of all time. It really is a representation of universal truths specific to the Mexican and one of the finest examples of the Golden Age of Mexican Cinema.