Political Violence and Fiction in Mexican Film: the Case of Carlos Bolado's Colosio: el asesinato / Colosio: the Assassination (2012)

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The year 2014 marked the twentieth anniversary of the assassination of Luis Donaldo Colosio, presidential candidate for the ruling Partido Revolucionario Institucional / Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). The impact of this event on perceptions of the PRI and the Mexican political system has prevailed within the public imaginary, and continues to fuel conspiracy theories in relation to the possible motives for the candidate’s assassination. This article examines a filmic exploration of this traumatic moment in recent Mexican history, an event that changed the way the nation viewed its then President, Carlos Salinas de Gortari’s, and subsequent PRI governments. At this moment the public mood was transformed, from a prevailing sense of false security, driven by the dictums of neoliberal policies under the banner of Salinismo, to a state of shock and fear of a society spiralling into increasing violence and an economic downturn, with repercussions for years to follow. Framing Colosio: el asesinato (Colosio: the Assassination) within discourses of the thriller genre, and borrowing from theoretical notions of ‘conspiracism’, I explore the significance of Carlos Bolado’s film in light of the timing of its release (prior to the 2012 presidential elections), and the contents of its narrative. Moreover, the article explores the role of history and fiction in this detective story, alongside the way in which film as a medium processes traumatic events. Ultimately, I examine how the film’s metanarrative format provides the exploratory premise from which to access otherwise un-visualized and complex theories surrounding the case.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)453-473
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Latin American Cultural Studies: Travesia
Issue number4
Early online date4 Jan 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Jan 2016


  • political thriller; Mexico; Colosio; film

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