María Félix – on happenstance and segueways in online research

I am writing a chapter on women in world cinema taking Mexico as a case study. No doubt, I will write more on this anon. Here, I want to post a short reflection on a brief segueway in my research.

In the chapter I am planning on including an analysis of the actor Diana Bracho and her performative style (this may change in the edit). While quickly scanning her imdb page to check the English title of a film, I spotted an entry that says she plays María Félix in a short called “María Bonita” that purportedly was released in 2015. As I have carried out considerable work on Félix, I was intrigued. I set about trying to see if I could source it. According to reports online the film is about an episode in the director, Amanda de la Rosa Frisccione’s life, when Félix stayed in her parent’s house in Veracruz in the 1990s. At the time, the former was in her mid-teens and the latter in her 80s. Unlike what the imdb page says, in the reports the 20 minute short is called “Belleza eterna” [Eternal Beauty]. I tried to find the film online and came across an interesting interview with Bracho who discusses taking on the role of Félix and bringing to it her own recollections of who Félix was. I also came across two short videos made of the shoot, that are both under 30 seconds. Their brevity reveal little about the film and could be counted both as teasers, because of the brief glimpses of Bracho as Félix in the recognisable wardrobe of late-period Félix, and as paratextual ephemera typical of YouTube.

In part, I am writing this as a way of logging a short deviation from a project I am working on and my delight in how apparently disparate routes can take me somewhere new with ongoing long-term projects. It is also a way of briefly describing how the Internet is a productive, if flawed, research tool, and can lead me towards work that exists but I cannot access. Knowing what is out there is great, not being able to watch it is a constant frustration. This is not a full stop. I will pursue this and see what can be uncovered by other means. If I’m successful I will update my discoveries here. In the meantime, I must get back to the chapter at hand.

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