Rosaura Revueltas: Champion of the Proletariat

Edwin Cordoba

Rosaura Revueltas was the second youngest Revueltas sibling. She is known for her appearances in various movies, but was also an accomplished dancer, author and teacher. However, she did not excel in any singular artistic endeavor like her brothers did- neither in music like Silvestre, nor in art like Fermin, not in writing like Jose. Perhaps it was because she was married so early, perhaps it was because she did not get the opportunity to study abraod. Her inability to study abroad may have been due to the fact that she was not running away from the war. She studied acting and ballet in Mexico City, made movies in Mexico, and her sole movie in the United States resulted in an arrest, deportation back to Mexico and her entry into a blacklist.

Many consider her work in “Salt of the Earth” (1953) a failure- but I think that her getting deported and still managing to find a way to finish the project in a clandestine studio in Mexico shows great resilience and integrity. Indeed, this work demonstrates her interest and dedication towards representing the working lower class, as “Salt of the Earth” reverses gender roles, introduces feminism and paints Mexicans (Mexican women… her character specifically) in a humane light. These ideals, accused of being “communist”, resulted in Rosaura’s exile. Furthermore, she was well aware of this role being professional suicide. In that sense, her selection of the role (a role rejected by many artists) was a choice that represents her commitment towards the lifting of the proletariat.  Perhaps her exile was a vindication of her hate of the American anti-communist rhetoric.

Revueltas was also the only Revueltas child not to be afflicted with alcoholism- this made her not only the champion of the proletariat (a staple of the Revueltas family), but also the Champion of the Revueltas family itself- her lack of alcoholism acting as a comfort in the Revuelta’s mom.

Bibliography:

Ceplair, Larry. “The Many 50th Anniversaries of “Salt of the Earth”” Cinéaste 29, no. 2 (2004): 8-9. http://0-www.jstor.org.lib.utep.edu/stable/41689702.

Pfaelzer, Jean. “Salt of the Earth: Women, Class, and the Utopian Imagination.” Legacy 16, no. 1 (1999): 120-31. http://0-www.jstor.org.lib.utep.edu/stable/25679294.

Riambau, Esteve, Casimiro Torreiro, and Rosaura Revueltas. “This Film Is Going to Make History: An Interview with Rosaura Revueltas.” Cinéaste 19, no. 2/3 (1992): 50-51. http://0-www.jstor.org.lib.utep.edu/stable/41687200.

Weinberg, Carl R. “”Salt of the Earth”: Labor, Film, and the Cold War.” OAH Magazine of History 24, no. 4 (2010): 41-45. http://0-www.jstor.org.lib.utep.edu/stable/23210200.

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