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Deep Thoughts on Chican@ Films by YOU!

by Tony D on 06/21/14

Mexican American Studies (MAS) will spread like wildfire because people love it.

One example is all the great feed back to my last essay: Top Ten Chicano Films for M.A.S.  It's included in the MAS Texas Tool Kit to help teachers implement MAS or use MAS for a lesson plan.

For me it's a practical guide to use for my Mexican American Literature Course at Lone Star College-North Harris. I wanted to find out what our community really wanted to learn about, so I crowd sourced my syllabus. 

The reaction has been great, and had evolved into 2 other interesting lists that can also help teachers conduct MAS, but which folks really want to talk about.

List one: Top 10 Chicana Films.

List two: (This one): Deep Thoughts on Chican@ Films.

Below I've cut and paste the great questions folks have brought up.  I'm going to use them in class to lead discussion. Thanks for all your input. It's thrilling to use technology to fuel our passion for cultura.

1. Armando Bernal: Distinguish between feature films and documentaries.

I love your film list. I've used film in my classes to initiate discussion. I think you might have to split your list into Feature film and Documentary.

I would think that a feature would be a film with a story line, whether true or fiction. For example, the film 'Walk Out,' even though true or based on true events would be a feature, as would be the movie Selena. Where as, 'Real Women Have Curves' definitely fiction (but very true as far as it concerned life). Features would have a story. Documentaries are narrated films where the facts and information are documented as in 'Class Apart.' Of course, biographies stand out all their own. Bio-pics like 'Chavez' could be a short augmented list. I think something like this could be a great published pamphlet.

I might be wrong but I don't think there are not many film biographies. So it could be a short list. However would you include the film 1939 film Juarez

the concern here is "is it a Mexican film" or strictly a Chicano film.

2. Tony S Martinez Don't forget the silent era. We actually had people change their names to Spanish surnames to get jobs. Latinos where hot, then wwII, and Macarthy changed things. Also, let's look at small indie films. As bad as they are, they represent the current cognition of our youth. I'm talking about the constant portrayal of gang bangers, drugs, and machismo. Why? Interesting discourse. Maybe it's because that's how they see themselves on the big screen and there's no balance. How minorities are portrayed in films. Not just Latinos. Remember Bruce Lee came in and changed the way Chinese where portrayed. Rid us of the Charlie Chan stereotype. Then Chuck Norris came in and made them enemies. There's a lot you can do with this. That's why it seriously needs a curriculum. Good luck. I'm glad to see this happen. That's why I believe an Interdisciplinary approach needs to be implemented in film schools. Women and ethnic studies. That way we won't be viewed as the other, but rather, those others will embrace our similarities and honor our differences.

3. More are coming. If I overlooked your deep thought on Chican@ Film please send it to me again. THANKS!

Comments (1)

1. Armando Bernal said on 6/21/14 - 03:33PM
I was going to suggest Salt of the Earth as it is on a strike where Chicano mineworkers fought to get wage parity with Anglo workers for the same jobs but I noticed it was already on a list as number 11. Apparently the body of good Chicano films is too big to be limited to ten.

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