Maria Felix

The making of a myth

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Maria Felix

Program notes

The Fabulous Legend of the Actress Maria Felix, the "Mexican Panther."

"A shifting, multiple reality visible by all and elusive to all," that is how the writer Ottavio Paz evokes Maria Felix, the Mexican actress who became a legend in her lifetime. Born in 1914 in Los Alamos in a family of twelve children, she escaped from the tyranny of her father by getting married at the age of 16 and from that of her husband by leaving him one year later. She was noticed in the street by a film director and with the success of her first film she began a fabulous career as a star who collected admirers, lovers, husbands, jewels and toreros…

She lived in Europe and played in films by Jean Renoir (French Cancan), Luis Buñuel (Fever Mounts at El Pao) and with actors such as Yves Montand, Jean Gabin and Gérard Philipe. She had a dazzling beauty that inspired painters (Jean Cocteau said of her, "This woman is so beautiful, it's painful"), a fiery temperament which shook all those who met her, and a secret wound which she evokes at the beginning of the film. Tragedy was Maria Felix's closest friend.

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