In 1948, the Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito (May 7, 1892 - May 4, 1980) broke up with the Soviet leader Iosif Vissarionovich Stalin (Dec. 21, 1879 - March 5, 1953). Yugoslavia was suddenly between the two blocks (in the making). Tito's regime imprisoned many Soviet sympathizers (real or just suspected). Russian films were not so popular anymore.
Yugoslav authorities had to look somewhere else for film entertainment. They found a suitable country in Mexico: it was far away, the chances of Mexican tanks appearing on Yugoslav borders were slight and, best of all, in Mexican films they always talked about revolution in the highest terms. How could an average moviegoer know that it was not the Yugoslav revolution?
Emilio Fernández's Un Día de vida (1950) became so immensely popular that the old people in the former republics of Yugoslavia even today regard it as surely one of the most well known films in the world ever made although in truth it is probably unknown in every other country, even Mexican web pages don't mention it much.
The Mexican influence spread to all of the popular culture: fake Mexican bands were forming and their records still can be found at the flea markets nowadays.
Take a stroll through the gallery of record covers (and music samples); if you have time just for one of them, try this one. For those in a hurry: Mama Huanita was a song every mother loved to hear on the radio for her birthday. Ay .... Chabela the dance bands still sing in the hotels all over former YU countries. The most charming Mexicans were Nikola Karoviĉ and Slavko Peroviĉ; while the most determined was Ljubomir Miliĉ (with his whole family). Ana Milosavljeviĉ was the queen and the dark voice of Nevenka Arsova her first companion.
This is a small homage to hundreds of performers who covered themselves with sombreros to become Slavic Mexicans.
>> Enter the gallery of record covers (and music samples)!
Trailer done for the presentation at Balkan Fund at Thessaloniki Film Festival, 2005:
Since 2011 there is even a 4 CD box (101 song) available:
Sex! Drugs! Rock'n'roll! - and bizarre record covers