April 26, 2016 | Theatre,
Mexican Noir Film: A Look into Premeditation’s Influences
A woman and a man meet at a hotel room to plan a murder. Esmeralda wants to kill her husband; Mauricio is the hit-man she hires to carry out the task. In the parking lot of the same hotel, Esmeralda’s husband, Fernando, and Lydia, the hit-man’s wife, meet to find out the truth behind their spouses’ mysterious rendezvous. When the four characters find themselves in the same room, all hell breaks loose.
Premeditation invites audiences into a noir-inspired comedy that reflects on the reality many married couples have to face after years of being together. When we talked to Premeditation’s writer and actress Evelina Fernandez, she told us that Premeditation’s style was highly influenced by old-school Mexican noir films. Mexican noir films feature stories about crimes of passion, jealousy and betrayal. Among Mexico’s Golden Age classics that influenced Premeditation are “Crepúsculo,” “La Otra,” and “La Diosa Arrodillada.”
Julio Bracho directed “Crepúsculo” (Twilight) in 1945, and two years later it became one of the first Mexican noir films to make it to the Venice Film Festival. Bracho’s “moody psychological thriller starred [actor Arturo] de Córdova as a famous surgeon in thrall to the femme fatale who married his best friend, on whom he is forced to operate, even while caught in a love triangle with the woman and her sister.” Did someone say melodrama? Because this Mexican classic overflows with it!
“La Otra” (The Other) is a 1946 Mexican film directed by Roberto Gavaldón, and starred by acclaimed Mexican actress Dolores del Río. In “La Otra” del Río masterfully plays the roles of two twin sisters “with wildly different temperaments in a melodrama as claustrophobic as it is morbid.” This movie portrays strong female characters who are willing to go to extremes in order to survive—a theme that is deeply rooted in Premeditation. In Premeditation the character of Esmeralda feels frustrated in her marriage, and in an attempt to escape her monotonous and restrictive life she plans the murder of her husband. Like in “La Otra,” Premeditation in packed with murder plots and strong female characters that are ready to take action into their own hands.
Another film that influenced Premeditation is “La Diosa Arrodillada” (The Kneeling Goddess), a movie filled with “flagrant symbols, blatant coincidences and astounding scenes.” In the movie, Mexican film star María Félix, who is known as “la devoradora de hombres” or the man-eater, portrays the figure of femme fatale as she seduces the character of Arturo de Córdova and takes him on a path filled with degradation, lies, and crimes of passion. This film resonates with Premeditation in that it portrays feminine betrayal and marriage crisis. Esmeralda and Lydia are both passionate women who are ready to stand up for themselves, and demand from their husbands what they think will make them happier in their respective marriages.
Premeditation offers the audience strong, determined, and flawed female characters who feel frustrated in their respective marriages—something we all can relate to. Fernandez’s mastery to create relatable scenarios combined with humor and playful language makes Premeditation a play you won’t want to miss. Premeditation opens May 4 and runs until May 14 at ArtsEmerson.