A Week in the Life of Gustavo

"Seems to think that if he fails to write, la migra will find him."--OC Weekly More merriment available at ronmaydon@yahoo.com

segunda-feira, janeiro 20, 2003

Yet another letter to LatinoLA.com regarding my "Real Cinemas are Controversial" story for OC Weekly...

After reading Arellano's article, which unfairly compares and contrasts American Chicano cinema with that of Mexican cinema, I felt compelled to write in defense of the latest crop of Chicano films that Arellano feels do not faithfully depict 'a community under siege.' I do not know which America Arellano is referring to in his article, but surely times have drastically changed since Cheech's 'Born in East L.A.' and Olmos' 'Stand & Deliver.' Why must all Chicano movies deal with our people being under siege? I am Chicano; I have been Chicano for twenty-five years (since I was born) and have not been under siege once. Granted, I am third generation, I was born here and I am very Americanized in my beliefs and ways, but maybe (just maybe) that is what current Chicano films are all about. I hate to burst Arellano's bubble (and that of anyone else who thinks this way) of true Chicano films and what they should or shouldn't depict. There is a new generation of Chicano filmmakers who are making films that truly depict the struggles and difficulties of our generation in an America where we are freer and more like 'Bill Cosby' than our predecessors were. We may not be going through the battle over immigration, being over-worked in grape fields or having to deal with the struggles of race and class as our parents and grandparents did -- but our concerns are just as viable and just as important to document in the genre of film as any. Our struggles may include middle-class life, family, relationships, etc., but, they are REAL struggles that most of us Chicanos are affected by on a daily basis. While I do not identify with the characters in 'Zoot Suit,' 'Born in East L.A.,' or 'Stand & Deliver' -- I totally see aspects of my life and today's Chicano society in movies like 'Real Women Have Curves' and 'Tortilla Soup.' In this respect, they have done the job of the true Chicano Cinema and that is to embody the battles and triumphs of Chicano society... whatever they may be."

Please. Middle-class life is not a struggle. And once again, nobody seems to remember the responsibilities that come with identifying oneself as a Chicano. To be Chicano is to struggle for your community every day and have a radical perspective. Don't want that? Call yourself Hispanic then. Just don't sully Chicano with your middle-class complacency.