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Redes Film Alvarado Religious Art

Among Ned Scott's 5 x 7 nitrate negatives saved from his photographic experience with the crew of REDES in 1934 are a number of images which depict the environs of the town Alvarado where the film production took place. These scenes which Ned Scott photographed during the summertime midday hours capture the many different flavors of the little fishing pueblo. That the citizens held close to a strong Catholic religious faith may be seen in staunchness of these figurines amid the romanesque arches and pediments of the local church. These figures are suffused with the suffering and pain of humanity, and they recall the influence of the hard-line Jesuit missionaries in Mexican culture post AD 1521. To be real and relevant, one has to suffer, just like Christ and Mary. Ned Scott was drawn to these no doubt because few items of like kind existed in churches in the United States, and certainly this was true of New York City where Ned had just spent the last four years of his life prior to the REDES film expedition. It was no mistake that Paul Strand, producer of the film, had spent the prior year within Mexico itself traveling and photographing as opportunities were presented, and he had grabbed similar images in other churches in his wanderings. Whether Ned Scott was influenced by Strand's experience or not makes no difference. These images are Ned Scott's statement of the religious life and deeply set tradition of the fishermen in Alvarado.

Redes Film Production Stills

These images from the film REDES chronicle the story from the beginning to the ending. There are stills which portray the distrust and anger felt by the fishermen of Alvarado for their fish buyers and their masters. One gets the sense that life was hard for the crews of the fishing boats, that their accommodations on land left lots to be desired and that few if any pleasures came their way. Death is but another way of life for these men, as the burial procession of Miro attests. Paul Strand shows up in these images behind the hand-cranked Akeley 16 mm movie camera. Fred Zinnemann appears as the film's director in several scenes. Henwar Rodakiewicz shows up here, the man who wrote the script, edited the film along with Gunther von Fritsch and helped hold things together when times were tricky during filming. One of the things which Fred Zinnemann wrote about Ned Scott's stills of this movie in his autobiography was a huge tribute. He said that these stills were "classics". Many of these have found their way into publications over the years, the latest being the Aperture Foundation book "Paul Strand in Mexico" by James Krippner (2010).

Redes film Fred Zinnemann, Paul Strand

Redes Film Alvarado Fishermen's Life

The life of the fisherman of Alvarado was simple. The chief item on the menu was haddock, and great schools arrived in the area of Alvarado every few months. The fishermen would spring to life, work like crazy for a week, and then lapse back into a lethargic existence. As director Fred Zinnemann described them in his autobiography, they would drink "aguardiente" and when drunk enough, they would swear in paragraphs and occasionally take up machetes against each other. Adding to the ribald background of fishermen of Alvarado was a notable strain of black blood from Africa, according to Diego Rivera in his autobiography, who was a native of Alvarado. Here in these photographs a casual but definite glimpse of their daily lives may be gathered. Here's the bar where they would gather to drink, here's the dwelling where many called home and here are the riverside scenes which encompass their daily lives with drying nets, beached fishing boats and thatched overhangs where they escaped the rays of the harsh midday sun.