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, … read more

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 teacher at a school that acco­mo­dates many ille­gal pupils, mostly eco­nom­ic and polit­i­cal refugees from Mexico, Guatemala and El Sal­vador. The Hoover Ele­men­tary school is sit­u­at­ed right on the bor­der­line between rival gang ter­ri­to­ries within the Pico Union neigh­bor­hood, the »Ellis Island« of Los Ange­les and its poor­est com­mu­ni­ty. It is also the city’s black market, with guns, drugs and fake green cards read­i­ly avail­able, and with L.A.’s high­est homi­cide rate. Simón talked to fellow-teach­ers and their pupils. By doing so, she was able to expose the racial dis­par­i­ties from the inside. The film cen­tres around the emo­tion­al story of a ten-year-old girl from El Sal­vador. Sup­port­ers and oppo­nents of Bill 187 express their views. Thus the dis­sents within the school pop­u­la­tion and the entire Amer­i­can soci­ety are clear­ly revealed. 

»I was born in Mexico. When we came to the United States, I didn’t real­ize we had gone to anoth­er coun­try until I went to school. Sud­den­ly, every­one around me was dress­ing dif­fer­ent­ly. Every­one around me was speak­ing a dif­fer­ent lan­guage. The hard­est thing was being called a wet­back. On the way home from school, I remem­ber, lit­er­al­ly how kids would yell at me and my mother: ‘Wet­back, wet­backs!’. And these little kids knew how to say it in Span­ish: ‘Moja­dos go back’ and it was very painful. Not so much for me, but for my mother. Those words took away all her dig­ni­ty, all her self-esteem, all her entire sense of mean­ing. And I didn’t have the lan­guage to defend her. I wanted to have a voice des­per­ate­ly in this coun­try. When I was 6, it became very clear that I had to speak Eng­lish. I made a con­tract with myself to not only to learn it, but to become very devot­ed to school, to become very devot­ed to what­ev­er it is that would allow me to get my mother’s dig­ni­ty back. 

All my kids under­stand what it means to be a Latino and not wanted. Almost every child in my room has had an expe­ri­ence where some­body has told them some­thing very ugly. We actu­al­ly had a sub­sti­tute come into my room and tell my read­ing groups – chil­dren are in groups called Har­vard, Yale, Smith and so on – ‘Oh my gosh, you’re never going to get into one of these col­leges. You’re just going to end up sell­ing stuff on a corner like your par­ents do.’ I’m some­one who actu­al­ly came from that. My family did sell things on the street corner. I sold pop­si­cles in East Los Ange­les, right in front of El Mer­ca­do. But I also did go to Clare­mont. That’s why I’m almost roman­tic about the idea of edu­ca­tion. It changed my life. Edu­ca­tion to me was the mir­a­cle of America…This may sound arro­gant, but the expe­ri­ence of making this film rein­forced in me how much I love being an immi­grant. It’s a really hard time to be a Latino in Amer­i­ca. Yet, never in my entire life have I felt so proud and so lucky to have that. To come here and to have the point of view that I have from two worlds. – to be able to easily go back and forth between lan­guages, between cul­tures, to have that sort of hybrid. I just love being Mex­i­can. I love being an immi­grant. I love being an Amer­i­can.« (Laura Angéli­ca Simón in Los Ange­les Times, May 7, 1997)

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