El Automóvil Gris, clásico del cine mexicano

pelicula-el-automovil-gris

En 1919, en el contexto de la revolución mexicana, se exhibió un serial de doce episodios donde se narran la historia de una peculiar banda de asaltantes; robaban casas vestidos con atuendo militar y bajo una orden de cateo. El automóvil gris es una de las películas más importantes del cine silente mexicano.

Dirigida por Enrique Rosas y estrenada en 1919 en veinte cines durante tres días, El automóvil gris muestra la cotidianidad de la Ciudad de México. Las casas, las calles, las ropas, los automóviles… son algunas pinturas sociales que plasman las acciones de los delincuentes. Ellos entran a los hogares con una orden de cateo robada de los altos mandos de la jefatura. Cada casa que embisten es de la burguesía mexicana. El tono provinciano que tiñe las ropas de los personajes secundarios, del niño baleado cuya muerte es incierta o de las mujeres secuestradas; así como la arquitectura de las casas, evidencian la forma de vida de aquel México.

El tinte revolucionario forja la personalidad de los protagonistas, Juan Canals de Homs quien interpreta a Higinio Granda; de Joaquín Coss como Don Vicente González y por supuesto, de Juan Manuel Cabrera, interpretándose a sí mismo como el detective inspector Cabrera.

El automóvil gris: propaganda fílmica en la revolución.

Al mismo tiempo, la película —compuesta de 24 rollos y dirigida entre marzo y noviembre de 1919— recuerda al mexicano la corrupción y la lucha por el poder. Arrebata de una realidad lejana, a casi un siglo de su existencia, los elementos históricos de un período de lucha política.

Esta serie atravesó por diversas ediciones para formar un largometraje de 111 minutos, cuyo final es un hecho verídico, el fusilamiento de los asaltantes del automóvil gris el 24 de diciembre de 1915. El suceso fue tomado por Enrique Rosas con fines documentales. Asimismo, fue la raíz para fundamentar la historia, y también la antesala propagandística en el campo de batalla por la candidatura a la silla presidencial.

Cuando las fuerzas beligerantes ocupaban la ciudad por breves períodos, las consecuencias sociales afectaron ampliamente a los habitantes. La pobreza extrema, la tifoidea (1914) —generada por el consumo de carne de rata—, el ocultamiento y carestía de alimentos concibieron una sociedad vulnerable. En ello participó Pablo González, poderoso general que primero se posicionó como maderista y después como carrancista, cuyo interés era arribar al puesto presidencial a costa de oponerse a Venustiano Carranza.

En manos del general que dio muerte a Emiliano Zapata también quedó el patrocinio de El automóvil gris.  Pablo González utilizó este filme para demostrar la solución a la inseguridad social. No obstante, se le ha acusado de autor intelectual y beneficiario de los desfalcos de la banda como estrategia propagandística, pues a consecuencia resolvería el supuesto problema.

De acuerdo con el historiador Ricardo Gamboa,  los asaltos presentados en la película muestran que fueron producto de la ocupación zapatista; sin embargo, a partir de la irrupción a la casa del Señor Martel acontecen durante la ocupación del ejército carrancista.

“La película busca justificar la actuación de Pablo González. Tiende a decir que fue obra de los zapatistas y que hasta que no llegan los constitucionalistas no se pone orden, cuando se demuestra lo contrario”, explicó el maestro.

Extrañamente, la película se estrenó el mismo día que Pablo González presenta su licencia al ejército para contender como candidato a la presidencia. Además,  Francisco Oviedo y Rafael Mercadante —personificados por Ángel Esquivel y Miguel Ángel Ferriz, respectivamente—, quienes actúan como los líderes de la banda, en la historia real, decidieron declarar lo que sabían. Para Pablo González lo que pudieran decir era muy comprometedor, por lo que son asesinados con pocas semanas de diferencia en el año de 1918.

Rescate de la historia fílmica.

Tras diversas ediciones, con apoyo de la Filmoteca de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) y el Centro Universitario de Estudios Cinematográficos (CUEC), una versión editada en DVD se encontrará próximamente en venta.

Con objeto de preservar la historia fílmica de la revolución, la Filmoteca logró recrear dos escenas de la película, cada una de ocho minutos, de cómo era hace 90 años. Según Armando Casas, director del CUEC, gracias a la nieta de Enrique Rosas se rescataron los intertítulos. Es un material más o menos restaurado, las escenas se ven con música, presumiblemente contemporánea, tocada por una pianista brasileña.

De acuerdo con el Casas, es el primer documental de ficción que tiene emplazamientos notables;  posee profundidad de campo —personajes en distintos planos cinematográficos, característica que se llevó acabo hasta 1940 con Orson Welles—; y pierde la tradición del teatro filmado, es decir, emplea diversos planos.

Estos recursos no se ostentan en otras producciones de ese entonces, lo cual la hace más valiosa no sólo como testimonio involuntario de la historia, sino como producción cinematográfica.

AM/RL

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