Mexican Jail Footage

Rental Format(s): 16mm film

Paranoid surreptitious in-jail camera held in prisoners' hands documents daily events and posturings of 25 gringos (and Mexican jailmates) arrested at Puerto Vallarta March1968 without charge. Was there Mexico, DF-Washington, DC collusion behind this round-up from Yelapa ferry boats, private town houses and palm-roofed wall-less jungle huts? It took place during national polarization (of youth culture, official culture) in US; older US tourists were shocked to find more new generation they thought they'd left behind, and official Mexico was already paranoid in the face of coming Olympics (police would shoot 108 demonstrators) six months later. Narration's a dense web of comedy, horror and Kafkaesque grotesque behind a succession of raw sunlit images of comely youths imprisoned, male and female.

"MEXICAN JAIL FOOTAGE reminds me of standing by the tracks and watching a train go by-- it is so strong, it lasts so long, and it is over so quickly."--Tom Whiteside

"I can't forget this film."--Robert Frank

"`MEXICAN JAIL FOOTAGE' is the best jail film I've seen."-Jonas Mekas

...with all its unplanned nature or the lack of studio lighting and sound, this film by Gordon Ball achieves--more than most any film to come out of Hollywood--a more realized vision of a youth and a certain culture where people know how to be alive....No special effects could compare to our seeing them, for example, performing yoga in the prison courtyard or kissing each other avidly through the cell bars. -Peter Neofotis,

Awards: Juror's Choice, North Carolina Film Festival, 1981; Director's Choice, Atlanta Film and Video Festival and SF Art Institute Film Festival, 1982; Honorable Mention, Big Muddy Film Festival, 1982.

Collection: Independent Media Artists of Georgia

Rental Fees

16mm film $72.00  

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