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 middle-class, light-skinned Puerto Rican, les­bian and pho­tog­ra­ph­er who is attempt­ing to con­struct a sense of com­mu­ni­ty in the U.S. Depict­ing the con­trast and con­tra­dic­tion of both her priv­i­lege and oppres­sion, BRINCANDO EL CHARCO becomes a med­i­ta­tion on class, race and sex­u­al­i­ty. The voices of Afro-Puerto Rican women, third-gen­er­a­tion Puerto Rican young men, middle-class Island-born intel­lec­tu­als, and gay men pro­duce a mosaic pic­ture that cannot be reduced to only one ele­ment – be it nation­al, demo­graph­ic or ideological. 

»What we don’t see is as sig­nif­i­cant as what we do see. What is miss­ing, is a public forum of dis­cus­sion of the full range of Puerto Rican social, cul­tur­al and polit­i­cal prac­tices. What does it mean to be Puerto Rican in its diver­si­ty? In the barrio, out­side the barrio, light-skinned, dark-skinned, middle class, work­ing class, straight, queer. In a way, the whole iden­ti­ty dis­course com­plete­ly swal­lows up all those dif­fer­ences, making all Puerto Ricans a blur of stereo­types and predi­gest­ed assump­tions (…)« When I arrived in the United States, my self-image as a 19-year-old, middle-classed stu­dent was shat­tered. I real­ized that I was per­ceived by most Amer­i­cans as only one thing – a Puerto Rican, and Puerto Rican for them meant a shady , dis­ease-car­ry­ing, alwas preg­nant, des­ti­tute, reck­less, killer spic – what they saw in the movies… In the train of these words, I com­plete­ly lost who I was but gained a new des­tiny. I turned the TV off in search of an image I’d never seen but knew existed.

Iden­ti­ty dis­course is so rigid in many ways: what your iden­ti­ty is and what it isn’t; what you are and what you are not. It’s so linear. It’s very dif­fi­cult to encom­pass simul­tane­ity of even oppo­site feel­ings in a dis­course of iden­ti­ty. For exam­ple, while I polit­i­cal­ly tend to iden­ti­fy as a les­bian, saying I’m a les­bian doesn’t tell you any­thing about any­thing. It doesn’t speak to ways of rela­tion in a spe­cif­ic cul­tur­al con­text. It doesn’t tell you about my sex­u­al­i­ty which is more com­plex than »les­bian« seems to imply. What I’m trying to say is the expe­ri­ence will exceed the label.

In BRINCANDO EL CHARCO the nar­ra­tive form was a way of deal­ing with non-homo­gene­ity of expe­ri­ence. You have soap opera con­ven­tions for cer­tain scenes, such as the scene with the father when he con­fronts his daughter’s sex­u­al­i­ty and there’s a fight. Then you have a kind of a lit­er­ary voiceover that’s poetic and plays with image that comes from a dif­fer­ent doc­u­men­tary tra­di­tion. You have all this archival footage that’s used pretty tra­di­tion­al­ly except the story being told is very dif­fer­ent. Then there is the con­tem­po­rary gay and les­bian demon­stra­tion footage. Part of the reason I put it there was you never see that. In Puerto Rico, gay and straight, most people are not aware that there are Puerto Ricans who go in the street and demon­strate around these issues. In that sense, to a post Act Up Anglo film cul­ture these kinds of demon­stra­tions may seem passé. But in a con­text where they have never been seen to begin with it’s some­thing else.« (Frances Negrón Muntaner)

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