A new movie venture has been manufactured and simulated for the American masses by Televisa-Lionsgate Latino project Pantilion. This group of people decided to form this union in an attempt to get our hard-earned Hispanic/Latino dollars. As it is we hardly see our likeness in major motion pictures and Hollywood has notoriously been labeled as Anti-Hispanic by viewers and participants in the movie industry. Lionsgate and Televisa’s attempt to entertain Latinos in America, and in turn “educate” the rest of America, about our culture is a step in the right direction in this turmultious time. In the light of g287, sb 1070, and the hundreds of unjust immigration issues occuring around the country, thousands of American Latinos are feeling racially profiled, targeted, and misunderstood.
I watched the trailer for a movie called “From Prada to Nada” directed by Angel Gracia and starring Camilla Belle, Alexa Vega, Wilmer Valderrama, Kuno Becker and Academy Award nominee Adriana Barraza. This movie shows Mexican Americans of Boyle Heights in lowrider cars, chomping churros, and thickly accented old ladies in peasant dresses. The main characters lose their wealthy status due to a cheating father and the rude awakening begins because another man/brother cheats them out of what is rightfully theirs. What does this teach our young women? What assumptions about Mexican American men are being drawn by the public?
Alexa Vega’s character also sports bleached blonde hair and denies her heritage until she is scared to death in coming face to face with a chola who has painted her skin whiter than any thing and calling Vega “a white girl”! I was horrified at that particular move of “white” made-up Latina’s facing off. Just what is the director implying here?! This glimpse into what the movie will look like, hurts my feelings. I implore the makers of this film: “WHY didn’t you call Josefina Lopez? or Michele Serros to make a movie for you?! They are real deal Chicanas FROM Los Angeles!!”
International filmmaker Gracia is from Venenzuela, but what could he really know about being a Chicano in East LA? I was raised in the barrios of Denver Harbor, Houston and the Westlawn area of San Antonio, Texas. I feel that I can say with accuracy that lowrider neighborhoods look nothing like the movie indicates. Also, it is heartbreaking that despite all of our civil rights movement efforts, our culture is reduced to these caricatures of what they think we look like. While I agree that the United States needs to recognize and pay us Latinos for our vision and culture, I think this first attempt is a miss and a great injustice for us all. How does your Latino heritage in contemporary Hollywood play out? What is your take on this movie?
By guest contributor, Viktoria Valenzuela.