Five reasons to support the film “César Chávez” directed and co-produced by Diego Luna
It is an excellent film, very well acted, and directed in the style of cinéma-verité, effective, forceful. Luna takes us back in time and makes us face issues that are still relevant today.
The work of Michael Peña, in the role of Chávez, is great: Peña plays with impressive credibility an ordinary man doing extraordinary things.
We should be thankful to the producers for their commitment: Pablo Cruz, Diego Luna, Larry Meli, Gael García Bernal, Keir Pearson, Russell Smith, Lianne Halfon, John Malkovich —who co-stars as the owner of an industrial large grape farm who leads the opposition to Chavez’s organizing efforts. Malkovich’s character represents the moral duality of those who pushed themselves up from the bottom of the social ladder but, once at the top, refuse to accept the right of others to grow and prosper in the land of the free —it is an American psychological drama at its best.
4.América Ferrera who plays Chavez’s wife, Helen, said that when she met her, she felt overwhelmed by a person “who wears his heart on the surface,” and recognized her power and contributions to the movement.
Cannot accept the promotion of this film becoming a Democratic Party fan club tour. “Latino Vote,” the non-profit that organized the premier at the Newseum in DC is supposed to be a nonpartisan organization and should not make an event celebrating American democracy an opportunity for partisan politics.
When we are about to begin the second decade of the 21st century, the US Hispanic reality cannot be defined only through the lens of the exploited peasant, the undocumented immigrant, or the heroic unionist. As an audience, we have the right to ask more from the movie and media industries.
Having said that the film “César Chávez” represents a pinnacle for the modern history of US Hispanics, we should take this opportunity to request from the film industry stories that reflect the Latino experience in a balanced and comprehensive manner.
Who will help us go beyond Zorro, Ricky Ricardo, or Sofía Vergara? Who will dare tell the stories of a community as American as apple pie or as tamales or as enchiladas? When the Hispanic presence is an undeniable political, cultural, and demographic force, Why the English and Spanish language media still see our reality from an “immigrant”, “undocumented”, “conflictive,” and/or “foreign” perspective?
Will we be able to overcome one day the current “otherness” to be considered, without prejudice, co-drivers of the great new American reality? Sure, this is the US of A.
Avendaño is Executive Editor of El Tiempo Latino