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Mexico’s Unlikely and Unlucky Emperor

By David Johanssen

In 1863, Napoleon III of France took advantage of the events of the American Civil War to challenge the Monroe Doctrine and expand his power in this hemisphere. In an effort to maintain control of Mexico, Napoleon installed the loyal Ferdinand Maximilian Joseph, younger brother of the Austrian emperor Francis Joseph I, to help wrest power from Benito Juárez, Mexico’s democratically-elected president and serve as the young country’s second “emperor.” As an unelected foreigner lacking support of the people and with weak support from far away Napoleon, the hapless Maximilian was perhaps doomed from the start. His story is one of romance, naiveté, arrogance, and bravado, making for one of Hollywood’s most interesting historical films.

Zero Days: The Age of Cyberwar
Fri, Aug 5, 5pm
100 pesos (includes drink)

Classic Film
Juárez (1939)
Wed, Aug 10, 5pm
100 pesos (includes drink)

Eisenstein in Guanajuato
Fri, Aug 12, 5pm
100 pesos (includes drink)

Documentary and Discussion
Lost King of the Maya
Sat, Aug 13, 5pm
50 pesos

All events at: Shelter Theater
Vicente Guerrero 4
154 7524

Join us for a screening of the rare classic Juárez (1939) starring Bette Davis and Paul Muni as Maximillian and his strong-willed wife, Carlotta. According to The New York Times, “Their story remains alive and fascinating . . . strangely contemporary, revitalized and significant.” 100 pesos (includes drink). Discussion of 19th-century Mexican history follows.

Zero Days: The Age of Cyberwar, Friday, August 5, at 5pm. This feature-length documentary thriller about the world of cyber-warfare tells the story of Stuxnet and other self-replicating intentionally-destructive software that spun out of its creators’ control—a cautionary tale of opening the Pandora’s Box of cyber-warfare. You’ll wonder if the Terminator’s “Skynet” is already here! 100 pesos (includes drink). Discussion of cyberwar (and, yes, email hacks!) to follow.

Eisenstein in Guanajuato, Friday August 12 at 5pm. After being shunned by Hollywood, renowned film-maker Sergei Eisenstein arrives in Guanajuato, Mexico, and seeks out comparative religions scholar Palomino Canedo to explain the local death rites and teach him about homosexual love. “Visually dazzling art-house pantomime that gleefully deflates a maestro’s myth while poking scabrous fun at his homophobic homeland.”—Empire Magazine. 100 pesos (includes drink).

Shelter Theater is part of the Shelter VG4 Cultural Center, located at Vicente Guerrero 4, a short walk from the Jardín down Insurgentes. Telephone 154 7524 or visit to see upcoming events. Shelter VG4’s theater and class/performance space are available for rent. Events subject to cancellation if minimum attendance not met.


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