Columnist Paul Julian Smith puts a Mexican TV hit that has gone global into perspective for FQ's readers. Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, the seventeenth-century poet and nun, has a good claim to be the best-known woman in the history of Mexico. Looking scholarly on the two-hundred-peso banknote, where she is depicted with an ink quill and a volume of her collected works, she has long been an incongruous presence among the virile Aztecs, revolutionaries, and presidents that grace the rest of Mexican currency. But only now has she been awarded that special honor: a biographical television series on her richly resonant and mysterious life. Patricia Arriaga Jordán, perhaps the most distinguished television producer in the country, created Juana Inés for Canal 11, the free public broadcast channel owned by the Instituto Politécnico Nacional university with which she has long collaborated. The seven-hour-long episodes were broadcast nationally twice a week in prime time beginning on March 26, 2016, and subsequently sold for international distribution to Netflix where, at the time of writing, they are available in the United States.
Screenings: Letter from Mexico City: Juana Inés, the Miniseries
Paul Julian Smith, a Fellow of the British Academy, is Distinguished Professor in the Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Program at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). He is the author of nineteen books including Desire Unlimited: The Cinema of Pedro Almodóvar (Verso, 1994) and Dramatized Societies: Quality Television in Spain and Mexico (Liverpool University Press, 2016), and the forthcoming Queer Mexico: Cinema and Television since 2000 (Wayne State University Press). He has served on the juries of the San Sebastián International Film Festival in Spain and the Morelia International Film Festival in Mexico. Follow him on twitter @pauljuliansmith.
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Paul Julian Smith; Screenings: Letter from Mexico City: Juana Inés, the Miniseries. Film Quarterly 1 June 2017; 70 (4): 83–87. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fq.2017.70.4.83
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