1968 was a year of social and political turmoil around the world. Mexico was not the exception. On October 2nd, a few days before the opening of the Olympic Games, several hundreds of university students were killed by government forces, others went missing. The day left a scar on Mexico’s contemporary history.
To shed light over those tumultuous times, the Cinematek has organized a cycle of movies that invite the public to know more about the student movement, its context and subsequent repression, and the traces it all left in Mexican society.
A brief description of the program is shown below.
The cycle is made possible in collaboration with Instituto Cervantes Bruselas, UNAM Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ambassade du Mexique en Belgique – UE, Cinea & Centro de Estudios Mexicanos – Centrum voor Mexicaanse Studies
Memorial del 68 is a documentary about the events occurred on October 2, 1968 in the Plaza de las Tres Culturas in Tlatelolco, Mexico, its background, its development, its culminating moments, its outcome; about what was gained and what was lost and, above all, what future generations obtained from it, perhaps the most important social movement that took place in Mexico after the Mexican Revolution. After 50 years, the film brings an extensive account of the movement that marked the country and laid the foundations of many changes in Mexican society.
With this documentary, funded by the UNAM Film Library, we introduce the documentary cycle dedicated to the events of October 2, 1968, exactly 50 years ago. The film by director Nicolás Echeverría includes a large number of testimonies by key figures of the events.
Introduction in English by Sarah Stokes (author of Paris and Mexico City: 1968 Student Activism)
All films are subtitled in English only.
As part of the Special Showings that commemorate the Anniversary of 1968, we present a selection of short films by renowned Mexican filmmaker Óscar Menéndez. Dos de Octubre: Aquí México, Historia de un Documento: Los Presos Políticos del 68 en la Cárcel de Lecumberri and Únete Pueblo.
In the summer of revolt, student Leobardo López Aretche captured the protests in Mexico City, and the state’s brutal response, up close – and like many of his subjects and fellow comrades, would pay a high price for his audacity. Fifty years later, his movie is no longer a secret.
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Plaza principal de la Villa Olímpica, "que albergará sin distinción de nacionalidades, color de la piel, grado de desarrollo económico, lengua, credo político o religioso, a los atletas de todo el mundo…" (en: "Noticiero olímpico", num. 68) // Main square of the Olympic Village, "which will house athletes from all over the world without distinction of nationalities, skin color, degree of economic development, language, political or religious creed…" (in: "Olympic News", 68th issue) ©Bob Schalkwijk #olympicgames1968 #olympischespelen1968 #mexico68 MX-BS-N-025428 
El Grito is frequently listed as one of the most important Mexican films, and the influential Mexican film critic Jorge Ayala Blanco called it “the most complete and coherent filmic testimony that exists of the Movement, seen from the inside and in contrast to the calumnies put out by the rest of the mass media.” If the end of that quote sounds a little overblown, it’s worth remembering the stranglehold that the PRI had on the media back then, and for years afterwards – the day after perhaps as many as 400 innocent people had been shot in a public square, almost every Mexican newspaper without fail reported the government’s line that student “sharpshooters” had fired on the authorities in Tlatelolco, and that just 27 people had been killed in the ensuing shoot-out. At the time Aretche was virtually the only filmmaker providing a real riposte to the government’s official history, at great personal risk.
Three more documentaries
Details of the cycle can be found here