Mexico’s most prominent and most loved film icon would have been celebrating his 100th birthday today. Mario Moreno, better known as Cantinflas, embodies Mexico’s spirit and amplified it through his movies and cartoons to the rest of the world. He definitely put Mexico’s film industry on the map, especially after his 1957 Golden Globe win as best actor in a comedy or musical, as he took his beloved country’s customs and social disparities to the global screen.
If you were to travel to Mexico this week you would be lucky enough to get a good dose of the homage being paid to Cantinflas on the 100th day of his birth. Several private and public cultural entities have put together events, film screenings, art exhibits, TV marathons, concerts and even a new book to keep Cantinflas´ collective memory alive 18 years after his death.
Mario Moreno Cantinflas 100 Años is a gorgeous photo exhibit at the Galerías Abiertas del Parque de Chapultepec. This is a public exhibit where giant pictures are hung on the fences that close off the famous Chapultepec Park and run along Paseo de la Reforma–one of Mexico City´s main arteries. This exhibit, inaugurated on July 25 and running through August 28, holds a collection of 126 photographies, caricatures and posters from all the films of Mexico´s most famous comic of all times.
Can you imagine standing inside a jam-packed metro train and all of a sudden you hear a familiar voice saying:
“No es lo uno ni lo otro, sino todo lo contrario”
“¿Cómo dice que me dijo que dijo?”
“El mundo debería reírse más, pero después de haber comido”
“Hay momentos en la vida que son realmente momentáneos”
“Algo malo debe tener el trabajo o los ricos ya lo habrían acaparado”
“Para mí todas las ideas son respetables aunque sean ideítas o ideotas”
Well that´s exactly what many Chilangos will be hearing today as Mario Moreno´s unforgettable voice as Cantinflas takes over Mexico City as renditions of his memorable movie lines will be played in loudspeakers in museums, the Auditorio Nacional and even in the city´s huge and chaotic Metro lines.
This is truly a grand celebration, in a grand city for a grand icon.
But even those of us who aren´t Mexican can relate to the joy Cantinflas brought to our lives growing up and join in the celebration. He effortlessly crossed borders to make us all feel how these SpanglishBaby friends expressed on our Facebook page yesterday when asked how Cantinflas had been a part of their lives:
Now you tell us, how was Cantinflas part of your life?
Disclosure: I am being compensated for my work in creating and managing content as a Community Manager for the México Today Program. I am also being invited to an all-expenses paid trip to Oaxaca as part of my role. All stories, opinions and passion for all things México shared here are completely my own.
Not only are Cantiflas pictures very enjoyable for all generations, for non-native speakers they’re also a great way to take Spanish to the next level, with the way people really talk, idioms and humor. Somehow a lot of humor doesn’t hold up when you have to slow it down and actually translate it in your brain, but Cantiflas’ jokes are always worthwhile to push rewind until I understood it!!!
We all grew up watching Cantinflas movies! Especially the black and white ones… those are the best!
Mi suegra tells us that in 1965, she spent a whole year in Spain and she would go to the movies with her family to watch Cantinflas. Well, you couldn´t hear the dialogues because the laughter was so loud! So she had to watch the same movie over and over (no problem!) just to get the idea of what he was actually saying. LOL!