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Film/Documentary Response Papers (10% of Final Grade): We will have at least 5 documentary/film
screenings in which we will examine some of the themes in the class. You are to write a response paper
[2-3 pages] to the films shown in a manner that illustrates critical engagement of the material/literature
from class discussions, assigned readings, and content of the films. This is not a summary of the films,
but rather a serious and critical analysis of the film.
Below is a partial list of films/documentaries:
Adelante, Mujeres! National Women’s History Project, 1992.
“Focuses on the history of Mexican-American/Chicana women. The major themes, organizations and
personalities are introduced chronologically in a tribute to the strengths and resilience of women at the
center of their families, as activists in their communities and as contributors to American history.” The
American Experience: Zoot Suit Riots. Boston, Mass.: WGBH Educational Foundation: PBS Home Video,
Anatomía de un vestido, Director Flora Pérez Garay, 2014.
Barrio Logan: Youth Voices, Community Stories.
Media Arts Center San Diego, 2006 “… a storytelling project that helps sustain, support, celebrate and
maintain community identity and pride in an area that is widely regarded as a center for Latino civic
engagement. This project is a partnership between the City of San Diego Public Library and Media Arts
Center San Diego.”
Bettina Gray Speaks with Luis Valdez. Films for the Humanities & Sciences, 1993.
Beyond the Border = más allá de la frontera. Dos Vatos Production, 2001. “… with tenderness and
beauty, follows the immigrant experience with Marcelo Ayala, who leaves his family on a risky journey
to the United States. Beyond the Border rounds out the immigration’s effect on family in Marcelo’s
home town of Michoacan, Mexico.”
Bilingualism : A True Advantage. Films for the Humanities & Sciences, 1994 “The first segment focuses
on the bilingual education program at San Antonio’s De Zavala Elementary school. Segment two focuses
on Hispanic American college students who were raised as English speakers but are rediscovering the
cultural and economic benefits of bilingualism. Segment three is an interview with Hispanic American
entertainer Cheech Marin.”
The Blending of Culture: Latino Influence on America. Films for the Humanities & Sciences, 2002.
Birth write: Growing up Hispanic. Cinema Guild, 2006,
“Takes a look at the work of several Hispanic-American writers and how their poems, short stories, and
novels reflect what it means and what it is like to grow up Hispanic in America.”
La Boda = The Wedding. Women Make Movies, 2000.
“Filmed in Nuevo Leon, Mexico, in Mission, Texas and Shafter, California, this movie follows the 6 | P a g
e [No duplication of material without written consent of Reynaldo Ortiz-Minaya.] life of a migrant
community, primarily through the eyes of Elizabeth, whose wedding to Artemio concludes the
The Boxer. Bullfrog Films, 2000 “Part 6 of a series on how the globalized world economy affects ordinary
people. This film follows Luis Rodriguez, who lives in a remote peasant village in southern Mexico, who
hopes to become a boxing champion in the United States. This film follows him as he travels north to the
US- Mexican border, joining other migrants determined to outwit the U.S. border guards. Eventually he
succeeds in crossing the border and finds work as an illegal alien.”
The Borinqueneers. Cinema Guild, Regiment.
Break of Dawn: A True Story. San Diego: Cinewest Productions; Platform Releasing, 1988. “Based on the
life story of Pedro J. Gonzalez who championed the cause of Mexican-Americans in California during the
Depression years and who worked for the reform of the California penal system.”
The Bronze Screen. Bronze Screen Productions in with the Latino Entertainment Media Institute.
Chicago, IL: Questar, 2002.
“The Bronze screen honors the past, illuminates the present, and opens a window to the future of
Latinos in motion pictures. From silent movies to urban gang films, stereotypes of the Greaser, the Lazy
Mexican, the Latin lover and the Dark lady are examined. Rare and extensive footage traces the
progression of this distorted screen image to the increased prominence of today’s Latino actors, writers
Challenging Hispanic Stereotypes: Arturo Madrid. Films for the Humanities, 2004. “Moyers and Madrid
discuss the controversy surrounding bilingual education and the state of education, in general, for
Chavez Ravine: A Los Angeles Story Bullfrogs films, 2004. “This documentary captures how a community
was betrayed by greed, political hypocrisy, and good intentions gone astray. Don Normark’s haunting
photographs evoke a lost Mexican- American village in the heart of downtown LA, razed in the 1950’s to
build an enormous low- income housing project. Instead, the federally purchased land was used for
Chicana. Women Make Movies, 2005? “Chicana traces the history of Chicana and Mexican women from
pre-Columbian times to the present. It covers women’s role in Aztec society, their participation in the
1810 struggle for Mexican independence, their involvement in the US labor strikes in 1872, their
contributions to the 1910 Mexican revolution and their leadership in contemporary civil rights causes.
Using murals, engravings and historical footage, Chicana shows how women, despite their poverty, have
become an active and vocal part of the political and work life in both Mexico and the United States.”
Chicano Art: Resistance and Affirmation, 1965-1985. Regents of the University of California; UCLA
Wight Art Gallery, 1990.
Chicano Federation 30th Anniversary. Chicano Federation of San Diego County, 1999. VTC-1947
Chicano Park. Cinema Guild, 1994, 1988. 7
Chulas fronteras and Del mero corazon : Roots of Tex-Mex Music. Brazos Films, 2003. DVD- 2559
Counseling Latina/Latino clients. American Psychological Association, 2005. “…Demonstrares the
cultural issues of the Latina/Latino community in counseling.”
Crosses = Cruces. Maravilla Productions, 2002.
Crossing Arizona. Cinema Guild, 2006. “Examines the border crisis as seen through the eyes of Arizona
ranchers, border patrol agents, politicans, farmers, humanitarians, and Mexican migrants.”
Day of the Dead. Films for the Humanities & Sciences, 1999 “Presents the annual commemoration of
the Day of the Dead as it is celebrated on the island of La Picanda.”
A Day Without a Mexican: A Mockumentary. AraU-AriZmendi, 1997.
De colores: Lesbian & Gay Latinos: Stories of Strength, Family and Love = lesbianas y gays Latinos:
historias de fuerza, familia y amor. EyeBite Productions, 2001. “This documentary examines the
struggles of Hispanic gays and lesbians coming out to their parents, especially in a culture that places
value on “family tradition” above all else. Through interviews and commentaries, the stories of this
largely ignored community are contrasted against similar experiences by Anglo-Americans.”
Death on a Friendly Border. Filmakers Library, 2001. “The border that runs between Tijuana and San
Diego is the most heavily militarized border between “friendly” countries anywhere in the world under
the U.S. Border Patrol’s “Operation Gatekeeper” policy.”
Dying to Live: A Migrant’s Journey A profound look at the human face of the migrant, this film explores
who these people are, why they leave their homes and what they face in their journey. It also explores
the places of conflict, pain and hope along the U.S.-Mexico border2005. 33 min.
El Dia la noche y los muertos. Calavera Productions, 1998. “Filmed in the village of Patzcuaro, this is a
dramatization of a pilgrimage on October 31, All Souls’ Day in Mexico, when people celebrate their
ancestors and communicate with long dead loved ones.
Escuela: A Documentary. Women Make Movies, 2002. “This film documents the experiences of the
children of Hispanic migrant farm workers in trying to complete their education.” Filmed in California,
Texas, and Mexico.
Farmingville. Docudrama, 2004. “Documentary film about the next group of immigrants, the Mexicans
that are following in our long history of immigration. It looks at the people of Farmingville, New York,
and at how they are dealing with the influx of about 1,500 Mexican workers.”
Fear and Learning at Hoover Elementary. Transit Media, 1997. “A documentary by Los Angeles teacher
Laura Angelica Simón, exploring the impact of California’s Proposition 187 on the immigrant 8 | P a g e
[No duplication of material without written consent of Reynaldo Ortiz-Minaya.] community. The subject
is Hoover Street Elementary School, where Simón candidly explores the attitudes and emotions of
teachers, students and parents, focusing on a ten year old Salvadorian girl.”
The Fight in the Fields: Cesar Chavez and the Farmworkers’ Struggle. Paradigm Productions, 1997.
The Golden Cage: A Story of California’s Farmworkers. Filmakers Library, 1992.
The Guestworker. Filmakers Library, 2006 “Documents the story of Mexican farm workers who enter
the United States legally as part of the H- 2A guest worker program, and looks at the issues surrounding
the program. Focuses on a 66- year-old man who has worked on North Carolina farms for forty years,
both legally and illegally, and on his employer, who is dependent upon foreign laborers to sustain his
Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America, 2012.
Hispanic Americans: One or Many Cultures. Films for the Humanities & Sciences, 2002. “Examines what
unites and divides various cultural groups comprising Hispanic Americans. Three Hispanic Americans are
spotlighted: a Puerto Rican American, New York Justice Frank Torres, a Cuban American, former Miami
mayor Xavier Suarez, and a Mexican American restauranteur, Gordino Velesco. Also, journalist Felipe
Luciano discusses the importance of voting by the Hispanic American community as the means for
achieving common political goals.”
Hispanic Americans: The Second Generation. Films for the Humanities & Sciences, 1998. “Examines
how the second generation Hispanics are adapting to American society, and how they are maintaining
their Latino roots while assimilating into the American cultural mainstream. A variety of Hispanic
Americans are interviewed, including pop film director Robert Rodriguez. The program explores how
they view themselves and how they view each other.”
Hispanics and the Medal of Honor. A & E Television Networks, 2004, 2002. ‘Unsung Heroes explores an
important aspect of America’s military past. They have served in conflicts dating back to the 19th
century, and they are an increasingly important and growing part of the U.S. military. But the role of
Hispanics in the armed services is largely overlooked, despite the fact that many Hispanic soldiers have
won the highest military award the nation bestows, the Medal of Honor.”
Hispanics in the Media. Films for the Humanities & Sciences, 1998. “Explores the current role of
Hispanics in the media including interviews with Geraldo Rivera, Moctesuma Esparza, David Valdez, Rita
Moreno, Elizabeth Peña, Jimmy Smits and Isiah Morales.”
Images of Mexican Los Angeles : Views of the Social and Cultural History of the Mexican Community of
Los Angeles, 1781-1990s. Cinema Guild, 1991.
In search of Aztlán. Cinema Guild, 2002.
In the Land of Plenty. Filmakers Library, 1999. “Documentary follows Mexican migrant agricultural
laborers in the strawberry fields of Watsonville, California. With lively music and an appreciation of
border culture, this video provides a human portrait of workers at the mercy of a greedy system.”
Issues of Latino Identity: The Yearning to be … Films for the Humanities & Sciences, 2002. “A detailed
look at the fastest-growing minority in the United States, and what it means to be Latino and American.
The film contrasts the experience of being a Latino in a flourishing ethnic neighborhood of a big city with
living in a small town, where many Latinos feel isolated.”
La granja, Director Angel Manuel Soto, 2015.
The Last Colony, Director Juan Agustín Márquez, 2015.
Las vacas con gafas, Director Alex Santiago Perez, 2014.
The Latino Family. Films for the Humanities & Sciences, 2003. “Shows both the changes in and the
endurance of traditional Latino families. Follows the paths of three generations of one MexicanAmerican family. Shows how the traditional roles of the elderly are being altered by their families’
A Legacy of Shame. CBS News, 1995. “An investigative report on the working conditions of migrant farm
laborers in the United States. Interviews farmers, workers, attorneys, and government officials about
housing conditions, government regulations, working conditions, and pesticide hazards and poisonings.
Also interviews owners of Duda Farms which has an exemplary reputation and provides benefits to its
migrant farm workers.”
Legacy of the Mexican Revolution. Films for the Humanities & Sciences, 1995.
The Lemon Grove Incident. Cinema Guild, 2005.
Maquila : A Tale of Two Mexicos. Pomona : College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences and Media
Vision, at California State Polytechnic University, Cinema Guild, 2000. Pros and cons of the maquiladora
program established by the Mexican Government in the 1960’s are presented In a documentary film
Maquilapolis = City of Factories. California Newsreel, 2006. “Explores the environmental devastation
and urban chaos of Tijuana’s assembly factories and the female laborers who have organized
themselves for social action.”
Mexico: Back Door to the Promised Land. Films for the Humanities and Sciences, 2000. “In this
program, children of desperately poor families share stories of their hardships and the choices they have
made. For some, childhood means heavy labor as migrant workers in northern Mexico, while for others
it means gang life on the streets of Tijuana. Yet for all-economic refugees for whom dollars are more
valuable than education- the dream of life in America is like a vision of the promised land.”
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