Archive of films Phantom of the Convent / El fantasma del convento
1934, 85 min
Section: Tribute to The Film Foundation
Widely considered the first great Mexican horror, this spine-chilling gothic tale revolves around a married couple and their best friend who get lost in the woods before taking shelter in a mysterious monastery. Habitually compared to Carl Theodor Dreyer and his Vampyr, Fernando de Fuentes induces a protracted sense of dread in this dream-like fable of guilt and dark desires.
Widely considered the first great Mexican horror, this spine-chilling gothic tale by the hugely versatile Mexican director Fernando de Fuentes revolves around a married couple and their best friend who get lost in the woods before taking shelter in a mysterious, ominous-looking monastery. There they learn that the place is haunted by the spirit of a monk who sold his soul in exchange for his best friend’s wife, drawing reflections on the trio’s convoluted relationship. Habitually compared to Carl Theodor Dreyer and his Vampyr, de Fuentes brilliantly uses light and shadows alongside stark architecture to induce a protracted sense of dread in this dream-like fable of guilt and dark desires.
Restored by UCLA Film & Television Archive and The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project from the nitrate original camera negative held by the Permanencia Voluntaria Film Archive. Restoration funded by the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation in collaboration with Permanencia Voluntaria and Filmoteca de la UNAM. Special thanks to Viviana García Besné and Albino Álvarez Gómez.
About the director
Fernando de Fuentes (1885, Veracruz – 1958, Mexico City). Selected filmography: El anónimo (1933), Prisoner 13 (El prisionero 13, 1933), Godfather Mendoza (El compadre Mendoza, 1934), Let’s Go with Pancho Villa (Vámonos con Pancho Villa, 1936), Out on the Big Ranch (Allá en el Rancho Grande, 1936, remake 1949), Cradle Song (Canción de cuna, 1953), Three Encounters with Destiny (Tres citas con el destino, 1954).
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About the film
|Section:||Tribute to The Film Foundation|
|Director:||Fernando de Fuentes|
|Screenplay:||Fernando de Fuentes, Jorge Pezet, Juan Bustillo Oro|
|Dir. of Photography:||Ross Fisher|
|Editor:||Fernando de Fuentes|
|Art Director:||Fernando A. Rivero|
|Cast:||Marta Roel, Carlos Villatoro, Enrique del Campo|
|Contact:||UCLA Film & Television Archive|