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In this document, we find a synopsis of the prologue and the four episodes in the film Raíces [Roots], shot by the filmmaker Benito Alazraki in 1954 with Fernando Gamboa as art director. Based on four indigenous stories adapted from El diosero, by Francisco Rojas González, the film focuses on “the virtues intrinsic in race: abnegation, a sense of beauty, stoicism and dignity.” Its producer, Manuel Barbachano Ponce, presented the work at the Fifteenth Venice International Film Festival.
In 1954, Fernando Gamboa (1908-1990) was just back from London, the current site of a traveling Mexican art exhibition organized by the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes (INBA). Gamboa had already done some work with the private filmmaking company Tele-producciones S.A., serving as an advisor on the filming of some shorts and newsreels. At the Venice Film Festival, which he attended as Mexico’s representative, Gamboa exhibited Raíces outside the official program. The screening was an enormous critical success, awakening the enthusiasm of directors of the stature of Vitorio de Sica. The film was considered “Neo-Realistic,” which led Gamboa to try to produce a film in cooperation with the Italian film industry.