Cantinflas  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Fortino Mario Alfonso Moreno Reyes (August 12, 1911April 20, 1993) was a Mexican comedian and actor.

He earned wide popularity with his stage and film persona Cantinflas, usually portrayed as an impoverished campesino slumdweller of pelado origin. The character came to be associated with the national identity of Mexico, and allowed Moreno to establish a long, successful film career that included a foray into Hollywood. Charlie Chaplin once called him "the greatest comedian in the world", and Moreno is often referred to as the "Charlie Chaplin of Mexico".

As a pioneer of the cinema of Mexico, Moreno helped usher in its golden era. His success, as part of Mexico's cinematic blossoming, helped establish Mexico as the entertainment capital of Latin America. In addition to being a business leader, he also became involved in Mexico's tangled and often dangerous labor politics. Although he was himself politically conservative, his reputation as a spokesperson for the downtrodden gave his actions authenticity and became important in the early struggle against charrismo, the one-party government's practice of coopting and controlling unions.

Moreover, his character Cantinflas, whose identity became enmeshed with his own, was examined by media critics, philosophers, and linguists, who saw him variably as a danger to Mexican society, a bourgeois puppet, a kind philanthropist, a venture capitalist, a transgressor of gender roles, a pious Catholic, a verbal innovator, and a picaresque underdog. His character Cantinflas, in attempting to encompass the identity of an entire nation, developed the contradictions and complexities inherent in any attempt to epitomize a country as complex and contradictory as Mexico.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Cantinflas" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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