Gregorio Rocha

Gregorio Rocha: The Lost Reels of Pancho Villa

with Edmundo and Felix Padilla: The Vengeance of Pancho Villa

“Movie-history enthusiasts, among others, will be intrigued by Lost Reels’ quest for a cinematic ‘Holy Grail.’” Variety

Jack H. Skirball Series

Gregorio Rocha’s award-winning documentary Los rollos perdidos de Pancho Villa (Mexico/Canada/USA, 2003, 49 min., b/w and color) recounts his painstaking intercontinental search for one of film history’s most intriguing lost works: Raoul Walsh’s The Life of General Villa, a quasi-factual 1914 biography commissioned by the Mexican revolutionary strongman (in which Villa allowed cameramen to follow him into actual combat). While sleuthing in countless archives, vaults and institutional back rooms, the Mexico City-based filmmaker and media archivist uncovers a wider, decidedly conflicted legacy of how the general was depicted in the newsreels and movies of the silent film era—and locates in the process the heretofore little-known origins of border cinema. Los rollos perdidos screens with a newly restored 35mm print of Rocha’s most remarkable discovery, Edmundo and Felix Padilla’s La venganza de Pancho Villa (Mexico/USA, 1930–34, 50 min., b/w), which is receiving its Los Angeles premiere. Mixing found footage of the real Villa and his army with re-enactments, this anarchic collage by the father-and-son duo freely crosses the borders separating north from south and fiction from documentary.

In person: Gregorio Rocha

Curated by Jesse Lerner with Steve Anker.


Funded in part with generous support from Wendy Keys and Donald Pels.

Associated Images: 

MON 5/3
8:30 pm

G - General Audience

M - REDCAT Members

ST - Students

CA - CalArts Students/Faculty/Staff