Prentiss Riddle: Movies

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Con Che, sin mexicanos

Two movies to look forward to: The Motorcycle Diaries and A Day Without a Mexican.

Diarios de motocicleta is based on a trip the young Che Guevara took across South America with a friend -- or, as his family describes it, a trip taken by Ernesto Guevara before he became the revolutionary Che. You don't have to be a fidelista to be interested in that premise. The movie is directed by Brazilian Walter Salles (Central Station) and stars Gael García Bernal (Amores perros, Y tu mamá también). That a Brazilian would direct such an iconic movie about Hispanoamérica is intriguing; it reminds me of the statement of Guevara's travelling companion, Alberto Granado, that "Like most Argentineans at the time, we knew more about the Greeks and the Phoenicians than we knew about the Incas and Latin America." I get the feeling that most Brazilians know as little about Spanish-speaking Latin America as do we gringos.

Motorcycle Diaries

A world away in tone and geography is A Day Without a Mexican, a comedy in which anglo California gets its wish and all the latinos suddenly disappear. "I had to wash a dish!" exclaims a horrified restaurant owner. "I had to risk my life for a tomato!" cries a consumer. You get the idea. I expect the humor, though broad, to be pretty good -- it's directed by multitalented journalist/artist/musician Sergio Arau.

A Day Without a Mexican

Both movies' websites are pretty interesting, but if you want to be horrified, take a look at the forum for A Day Without a Mexican. You'll think you're at a Klan rally.

The Motorcycle Diaries just opened in Brazil and according to IMDB is scheduled for a limited US release in November. A Day Without a Mexican is counting down to a May 14 release, but the website lists only California theaters. Let's hope it makes it over to Texas. (And thanks to Ethno-queer for the link!)

movies 2004.05.08 link


Both sound interesting. I read somewhere about the billboards for the second one recently - "On May 14th there will be no Mexicans in California," was taken down after a complaint and another is "En Catorce de Mayo, Los Gringos Van a Llorar."

Progress Overtakes Movie, or Does It?

Guava [guava1 cxe care2 punkto com] • 2004.05.09
Yeah, I love the "gringos van a llorar" line! And thanks for the LA Times link.

(Don't have an account? Just look up a password at

Prentiss Riddle [riddle cxe io punkto com] • 2004.05.09
I don't like the gringos line. I know most Americans don't think of "gringo" as an insulting term, but you know, it sometimes is used that way, and I don't see the point of namecalling if the movie is supposed to address the myriad of ways Latinos are treated in the U.S. (of which, namecalling is one).

But still, looks like an entertaining (if probably overly comic) movie. I shall eagerly await its arrival in Austin.

kika [kika cxe expositionkink punkto com] • 2004.05.09
I'm aware that "gringo" can be a very insulting term, but I've also heard it used in a mild and even affectionate way. It's all in the attitude with which it's used.

Besides, the best way to take a sting out of an insult is to use it yourself. Cf. "queer".

I'm not sure that it's an application of this idea, but have you heard Molotov's song "Frijolero"? In it a racist white guy and an angry Mejicano call each other all manner of insults in English and Spanish. It's pretty dramatic. (Molotov is from Mexico but if I heard the story right their drummer is an anglo from California, which is why they can get the racist gringo part dead on.)

Prentiss Riddle [riddle cxe io punkto com] • 2004.05.10
I totally agree with you, now it's all about appropriating those derrogatory terms and using them to define one's identity. I mean, if you take their insults, what's left? how else can they hurt you? Anyways... I didn't know Molotov's drummer was gringüito, that's pretty cool...

seyd [seyd cxe ethno-queer punkto com] • 2004.05.10
Any word on if Diarios de Motocicleta will be in Spanish or English? I saw Gael embarass himself playing Che in the English-language movie, Fidel. It had an all star cast of Mexican actors that simply weren't comfortable in front of the camera speaking in English.

Tomorrow night we're gonna see either Un Dia Sin Mexicanos or the Uruguayan film, La Puta Vida.

oso [oso cxe el-oso punkto net] • 2004.05.15
IMDB says it's in Spanish. Whew! You had me worried there.

I hadn't heard of Fidel. Sounds like I didn't miss much.

Another Che movie, titled simply Che, is scheduled for a 2005 release, with Benicio Del Toro in the title role and Steven Soderbergh directing. I can't decide whether that one will be sublime or a train wreck.

Prentiss Riddle [riddle cxe io punkto com] • 2004.05.15
Here's an interesting NYT piece about Latin American films appearing this year at Cannes. It opens with critic F.X. Feeney's pet theory that local film renaissances occur about 15 years after social upheavals.

Whether you accept that theory or not, the piece mentions some interesting upcoming movies. But one thing that bothers me about it is that it lumps all of Latin America together. Aside from the influence of telenovelas, it doesn't seem to my casual eye like there's that much cross-fertilization between Brazil and Spanish-speaking countries. And to a lesser extent, Argentina seems a long way off from Mexico. If I'm right, the influence of Hollywood, Europe and perhaps Hong Kong would be greater than that of other Latin American countries, especially across the Portuguese-Spanish language divide.

But I could be completely wrong. Perhaps young directors throughout Latin America see Central Station, City of God, Amores Perros and Y tu mamá también as their models. Certainly if they have any sense they're watching each other closely.

Prentiss Riddle [riddle cxe io punkto com] • 2004.05.21
I would love to see the movie "un dia sin mexicanos" be released in the east coast.

Alfredo Aguilar [alfredo cxe lascazuelas punkto net] • 2004.07.03
hey guysss take it easy with the day without a mexican movie!:. its just a moviee...!! you have to accept that you "americans" are sometimes very racist with latinoss. thats reality..!!! enjoooy the movie!
PS. viva mexicooooo ca*oness!

the mexican • 2004.07.29
All right, all right! - -this movie is just A FUNNY MOVIE! - - no need to get upset about name calling, we all should be proud of our heritage whatever it might be as well as the successes reached in U.S.

Anonymous • 2004.08.07
creo Que estas pelicuala es para los gringos para que miren que los mexicanos somos mas cabrones que ellos jajaj bueno esto esta bueno hata la vista gringos..,..ellos deverian de trabajar como uno ,,,

armando [mando281 cxe msn punkto com] • 2004.09.08
muy buena pelicula alfonso arajo

miguel angel trejo ordoñez [miguel] • 2004.09.18
just understand that hollywood is a corporate mastermind determined to sway the opinion of the public and to make you think ...maybe even to lean an opinion subtly upon you. As these young directors come through with their films, never forget to take the movie with a grain of salt and look at it as a piece of art...not something to take literally over into the world of reality..unless the art was inspired from something very real...then perhaps we can learn the lesson the past is trying to teach us. Through all types of art and reading deeper into the philosophies behind them we can grow to understand more about world concept and define the meanings within ourselves ... undermyvoodoo77 at aol dot com if anyone really wants to leave a final comment. Until then i hope i have left you all with a true peace of mind. Hasta la victoria siempre....

Guillermo Osorio [undermyvoodoo77 cxe aol punkto com] • 2004.09.26
Armando, se dice que la película ha logrado mucho más éxito en México que aquí en gringolandia.

Guillermo, I haven't seen the movie but from what I hear there's nothing subtle about it. It's a satire with a strong political point of view, as is perfectly appropriate for a satire.

Alas the Chronicle hated it, as did most other critics, so I think I'll wait for it on video.

Prentiss Riddle [riddle cxe io punkto com] • 2004.09.26
The USA Today rates the motorcycle diaries as a 3 and a half out four star i hope the movie makes its way outward in november. Perhaps it will recieve a better showing once its popularity reaches a higher number.

Guillermo Osorio [undermyvoodoo77 cxe aol punkto com] • 2004.09.27
that movie is great

Raquel [raquel_princessa cxe yahoo punkto com punkto mx] • 2005.01.31
I love This movie Psych tee hee hee

Sergio Barbabas [Sergio cxe 1] • 2005.02.11
esta pelicula es para los gueros que se fijen que ellos no son nada sin nosotros pinches gueros desabridos jaa jaaa jaa jaaa

Carlos Carbo [123] • 2005.02.11
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