A Semiotic Interpretation of Death in the Film Macario (1960)

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Set in Colonial Mexico, Macario is a film adaptation of B. Traven’s literary work The Third Guest (1950), which is also based on a fairy tale by the Grimm brothers, “Godfather Death”. The main character, Macario, a very poor woodcutter, is granted healing powers to some extent through a magic potion that Death gives him, as a compensation for having shared his turkey meal on the eve of the Day of the Death. This paper focuses on a semiotic interpretation of death in the Mexican film Macario (1960), by Roberto Gavaldón (1909–1977), through the concepts of semiosphere, semiotic border, and intertextuality, from Lotman’s theoretical perspective. The study aims to analyze in the film the concept of death on two intertwined semiospheres of Mexican culture: Colonial Mexico as represented in the film, with the pre-Hispanic and Spanish views of the time, and on the other hand, mid-twentieth century Mexico, as the time period when Macario was filmed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSemiotics 2019 : New Frontiers of Semiotics
EditorsGeoffrey Owens
Place of PublicationUnited States
PublisherSemiotic Society of America
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2020

Publication series

NameThe Semiotic Society Yearbook Series


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