Slowly but surely, Mexico’s rich tradition of horror, action and sci-fi cinema is finding appreciative audiences here in the United States. The A.V. Club was lucky enough to attend a well-received lecture on the subject by Morbido Film Festival’s Abraham Castillo Flores at Fantastic Fest earlier this year, and now we’re excited to announce that we’re giving away tickets to an event a little closer to home: A double feature of the Mexican genre classics Santo Contra El Cerebro Del Mal (Santo Vs. The Evil Brain) and Santo Contra Hombres Infernales (Santo Against The Hellish Men) at Chicago’s historic Music Box Theatre this coming Tuesday, December 3, at 7 PM!
Both features will be presented in new, subtitled 4K restorations, preserved and restored by archivist and filmmaker Viviana Garcia Besne with Peter Conheim, The Academy Film Archive and Nicolas Winding Refn. Besne will also be at the screening, for a conversation with Chicago film programmer Raul Benitez; the two will be discussing Besne’s life’s work at the Permanencia Voluntaria Film Archive, which Besne co-founded as a way to preserve not only her family history as producers of popular films, but also a cinematic tradition that’s largely ignored by the gatekeepers of culture in Mexico.
The archive concentrates on preserving B-movies from private collections stashed around the country, saving sometimes badly damaged prints of films that otherwise would end up disappearing forever along with photos, posters, and other ephemera. (If you’re familiar with AGFA here in the U.S., this is roughly its Mexican equivalent.) The archive was devastated by an earthquake in 2017, but is now back up and expanding its efforts into restoring films and screening them at its onsite cinema in the town of Tepoztlan, just south of Mexico City. And if you don’t know who El Santo was—well, you’ve got some reading to do.
To enter to win one of the two pairs of tickets we’re giving away to the El Santo Double Feature, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “The Saint” and your full name. (Winners will need to live in Chicago, obviously.) We’ll pick two pairs of winners this afternoon, at 1 PM CT on November 27, and notify them by email.
Tickets are still available for the Music Box’s El Santo Double Feature; you can buy those on the Music Box website, RSVP on Facebook here, and check out a video about the Permanencia Voluntaria Film Archive and Viviana Garcia Besne here.