Still Talking About Cesar Chavez Movie
Yes, I'm still talking about the Cesar Chavez movie. If you haven't seen it, I still encourage you to go see it for two reasons:
1. Support Latino films.
2. CESAR CHAVEZ tells an important part of American history.
There are already many reviews swirling around on the 'interwebs'. Let's be honest. Is it going to win the Academy Award? Sorry, Diego but probably not. Still, why so much criticizm? Here's one reason I believe the criticizm is so harsh. IT'S THE ONLY MOVIE MADE BY LATINOS ABOUT LATINOS WITH A LATINO CAST. With it holding the candle for all Latinos films, it has a lot to live up to.
The movie does dramatically tell the story of civil rights leader Cesar E. Chavez. In comparison to major box office hits, yes, CESAR CHAVEZ makes for an inspiring and educational film rather than a feature drama. Don't get stuck on that or you will miss the bigger picture. (pun intended) Movies get to the silver screen when there is money behind them. There will be money behind them when the investors understand that the audience is willing to pay for these movies. Again, it's a simple act but if we want more movies made by Latinos about Latinos with a Latino cast, go buy a ticket.
Let me be clear that there are more Latino movies that are made independently. I'll share some of those with you soon.
If supporting Latino films at the box office doesn't encourage you to support the movie, go see it just to learn the history of Cesar E. Chavez and the movement he began with farm workers and other leaders like Dolores Huerta. It's a part of history that isn't being taught in schools. You don't need to be or want to be an activist to go see the movie. Hopefully, you are curious about this important part of American history. Chavez led a civil rights movement without violence.
Personally, I was moved when I saw the movie. I was sitting in the audience with my son whom I hope will have a lifetime of movies in which he can see himself. He noticed. He noticed all those brown-skinned leaders in the movie. That's something I did not see growing up. Call me an eternal optimist. I can live with that. I've taken him to see many movies without Latino leaders in them. Showing him at least one movie where the Mexican-American is the hero is the least I can do for him.
While I was moved both times I saw the movie, I can't imagine how the farm workers were moved when a large group of them were able to have their own private screening at the historic landmark – The Forty Acres in Delano, CA. What a way to experience the movie!
"This time the VIP guests were the real heroes of this story." If this movie is dwindled down to inspiring and educational, at least this VIP group was treated to see the film. I wonder how they felt after the movie. I wonder if they will continue to share thier own personal stories.
The Forty Acres preserves the legacy of the farm workers movement and César Chávez and helps tell their story. The buildings, the park, roads, and landscaping features are all intact. A visit to this National Historic Landmark provides visitors with the opportunity to see the buildings and grounds that developed as the UFW grew in importance and strength. (nps.gov)
START A CONVERSATION:
Ultimately, let's use the conversation around a movie to have a larger conversation. There are pieces left out of the movie, let's fill them in. The women could have been more complex and played larger roles (as they did in real life). How does the history of UFW play in the importance of farm workers today? Why aren't more Latinos going to see Latino movies? Below are some links to help get the conversation started. Follow me on Twitter @mendegonzales to continue the conversation or leave your comments below.