Category Archives: Chicano

Top 10 moments in Chicano Cinema according to this Chicano

Out of sheer boredom I started to think of my favorite moments from Chicano films – there are many. This took me on a trip down memory lane. This also took a lot longer than I expected and was a lot more difficult than I imagined. One, because the number of films is limited and many of the actors are the same, but also because there’s too many moments in the few films to choose from to squeeze into a list of just 10. Everyone has their own favorites, these are some of mine. 

This is not meant to be an all encompassing list as I’m sure I’ve forgotten some and overlooked others. There are many moments in mainstream films that feature a Chicano actor that could have been included as well. 

Without going into a huge dissertation about the finer points of Chicano film (and I could if I tried), for me, many of these scenes and characters resonate because we see ourselves and our experiences in them. It is related to the experience of why I started publishing books to begin with –  I wanted to see myself and those like me, on a bookshelf – because, sadly, that experience is so rare. It is the same in film. Don’t believe the Hollywood “woke” hype – we are still invisible in Hollywierd.  

When you see yourself reflected on the big screen it makes an impression on you – at least it did me. I don’t think that is as prevalent in other cultures because it is such a rarity in Chicano film, and when it’s done right, a treasure. 

As one of my readers pointed out:

It was more interesting, for me, to see what I was living portrayed on screen, because I wasn’t really seeing anything like how I lived/talked on a movie screen.” – Voodoodrew78

Note: These are personal choices that were either striking, memorable or related to my own personal experiences as a Chicano. As always, opinions will vary so I don’t expect people to agree with all or any of my choices. I included a brief (Ha!) reason why I chose the scene underneath the clip.   

I also included some runners up and responses from my Instagram post asking people what their favorite moments were – they’re at the bottom. Feel free to leave your choices/thoughts as well in the comments. 

Enjoy.

Continue reading Top 10 moments in Chicano Cinema according to this Chicano

The more things change

Photo by Merrick Morton

I found the above image on Instagram the other day. If you’re not familiar, it’s Damian Chapa, an actor. Chapa is most famous for his portrayal of a Chicano prison gang leader. Surprisingly, despite the film being an underground cult classic in niche circles, the characters continue to float around in the Chicano mythos as heroes and icons. 

For decades now, Hollywood, the media, and now even ourselves, have used these characters to brainwash far too many young minds that Chapa’s character is something to aspire to. He is a bizarre antihero based on real-life tragedy that no one should aspire to emulate.  

The film, Blood In, Blood Out, made in 1993, continues to this day as some kind of benchmark for Chicano film, which is sad in itself, but the film also serves as a surrogate folktale for young people to admire and pass on. These characters have survived beyond the screen and forged themselves as some kind of weird and pathetic cultural trademark for kids to immerse themselves in. Continue reading The more things change

Tired

If you go to poets dot org and type the word ‘Chicano’ into the search bar there, the results are dismal. Sure, a couple of names come back – just as you will find the same five or six names at each and every big box book store’s “Hispanic” section. This is, of course, a gross misrepresentation.  Continue reading Tired