Latino Cinema in den USA

BALLAD OF AN UNSUNG HERO

Isaac Artenstein
USA 1984 | 27 Min. | BetaSP, OF

Pedro J. Gon­za­lez’ story, sym­bol­ic of the his­to­ry of people of Mex­i­can descent in the United States, begins in 1910 during the Mex­i­can Rev­o­lu­tion against the dic­ta­tor Por­firio Diaz. Pedro, a teenag­er, worked as a tele­graph oper­a­tor for the Gen­er­al Pancho Villa until 1922. After the rev­o­lu­tion ended, Gon­za­lez, his wife and chil­dren joined thou­sands of Mex­i­cans who migrat­ed north to the United States. In boom­ing Los Ange­les, Pedro even­tu­al­ly became a record­ing star and in 1928 one of the first Span­ish-speak­ing radio broad­cast­ers in the U.S. Through­out the South­west, thou­sands of Mex­i­cans, up at the crack of dawn to go to work in the can­ner­ies, fac­to­ries, and fields, tuned in their radios to hear their favorite announc­er and record­ing star. As the Great Depres­sion hit Los Ange­les, Mex­i­can Amer­i­cans increas­ing­ly became the target of racial fear and prej­u­dice. González believes his tremen­dous pop­u­lar­i­ty and his out­spo­ken protest against dis­crim­i­na­tion led to his arrest in 1934 on a trumped-up charge of rape. In spite of the recan­ta­tion of the »victim«, González was sen­tenced to 50 years in San Quentin. He was paroled after six years and deport­ed to Tijua­na, Mexico, where he was instru­men­tal in the devel­op­ment of radio in the border region. In 1971, González was allowed to re-enter the U.S. to be near his seven chil­dren. The old bal­ladeer and his wife Maria set­tled in San Diego. 

»Seeing how badly they treat­ed Mex­i­cans back in the days of my youth I could have start­ed a rebel­lion. But now there could be a cul­tur­al under­stand­ing, so that with­out firing one bullet, we might under­stand each other. We were here before they were, and we are not, as they still say, ‘unde­sir­ables’ or ‘wet­backs’. They say we come to this land and it’s not our home. Actu­al­ly, it’s the other way round.« (Pedro J. González)

BRINCANDO EL CHARCO - PORTRAIT OF A PUERTO RICAN

Frances Negrón Muntaner
USA 1994 | 55 Min. | 16 mm, OF
An exper­i­men­tal fea­ture film on con­tem­po­rary Puerto Rican iden­ti­ties. In a mix of fic­tion, archival footage, inter­views and soap opera drama, the film tells the story of Clau­dia Marin, a … read more

CALAVERAS

Denise Richards
USA 1996 | 30 Min. | OF, Umatic
CALAVERAS is a doc­u­men­tary on the altars that are built to remem­ber and honor the deceased on Novem­ber 1, known as ‚Dia de los Muer­tos’ (the Day of the Dead). … read more

CHULAS FRONTERAS

Les Blank
USA 1976 | 58 Min. | 16 mm, OF
The music of the Rio Grande-Valley - some call it Con­jun­to others Tex-Mex or Música Norteña – is a strong ener­getic music, based pri­mar­i­ly on the accor­dion and the dri­ving … read more

FEAR AND LEARNING IN AMERICA

Laura Angélica Simón
USA 1997 | 53 Min. | 35 mm, OF
Bill 187 of the Amer­i­can State of Cal­i­for­nia states that chil­dren of »ille­gal aliens« have no right to edu­ca­tion and health ben­e­fits. Film­mak­er Laura Angéli­ca Simón works as an immi­grant … read more

HOLY TORTILLA

Lauren Ivy Chiong
USA 1997 | 23 Min. | 16 mm, OF
A tor­tilla sea­soned with a dash of magic real­ism, sprin­kled with hope, and baked on faith for twenty-three min­utes. The result: Lauren Ivy Chiong’s short film Holy Tor­tilla. A cel­e­bra­tion … read more

HOMELESS DIARIES

Frances Negrón Muntaner
USA 1996 | 47 Min. | OF, Video
HOMELESS DIARIES is a video jour­ney into Tent City, a camp built by home­less orga­niz­ers and home­less people from Puerto Rico on an empty Philadel­phia lot in 1995. Negrón-Muntan­er inter­weaves … read more

MUNDO MILAGROSO

Michael van Wagenen, Monica Delgad
USA 1995 | 27 Min. | 16 mm, OF
Q&A with:
Michael van Wagenen
In Texan com­mu­ni­ties along the Rio Grande River, there is a vibrant mix­ture of Span­ish Catholi­cisim and Indian mys­ti­cisim. For hun­dreds of years var­i­ous saints and reli­gious fig­ures have made … read more

POLKA

Robert Boonzajer Flaes
Netherlands 1986 | 50 Min. | OmeU, Umatic
Polkas are played in many coun­tries all over the world and the dia­ton­ic accordeon is its clas­si­cal instru­ment. Where does this music come from and how did it change during … read more

STAND AND DELIVER

Ramón Menéndez
USA 1988 | 104 Min. | 35 mm, OF
Q&A with:
Paul Espinosa
The drama­ti­za­tion of the life of an extreme­ly demand­ing maths teacher at an East LA school in a Chi­cano neigh­bour­hood: Thanks to his sever­i­ty the pupils pass the exams and … read more

THE BALLAD OF GREGORIO CORTEZ

Robert M. Young
USA 1983 | 99 Min. | 35 mm, OmU
The life of Gre­go­rio Cortez, in the first years of the 20th cen­tu­ry in Texas, which has become legend through innu­mer­ous songs and writ­ings is recount­ed in a mix­ture of … read more

US-Mexican War 1846 -1848

Part 1

Ginny Martin
USA 1998 | 60 Min. | Betacam
Q&A with:
Paul Espinosa
While most Mex­i­cans are aware of the war, most Amer­i­cans know little, if noth­ing, about it. The out­come changed the des­tiny of both coun­tries. After 16 months of fierce fight­ing, … read more