Latinos, Politics, and American Cinema

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Latinos, Politics, and American Cinema

Feature films in the United States influence American viewers' attitudes on a wide variety of topics. Americans attitudes toward politics are shaped by films, and specifically the politics of racial interaction. The history of modern feature films begins with Birth of a Nation (1915), a film that misrepresents the Black race by justifying the existence and role of the Ku Klux Klan in American society. From this racist precedent, producers and directors understood that visual messages, however latent, were a useful means of communicating a political message to a large audience. After this epiphany, a myriad of films were made for different political causes. Most films had multiple messages, and among them were conservative themes against the Hispanic race. A prime example of a filmmaker who had numerous ideas as to the problems and solutions of race issues in America was Orson Welles. His Touch of Evil (1958) represents many other films in that epoch that had different presentations of race issues. The film utilizes imagery that provokes viewers' ideas of race politics; viewers' attitudes are challenged in many scenes. The reason for this political and racial wavering spawns from the fact that Welles' race politics were not clearly defined. In fact other films, similar to the contradictory nature of Touch of Evil, presented multiple themes precisely because the filmmakers' racial attitudes were blurred. The clearly distinguishable dichotomies of racism were not present, giving way to shades of gray.

Richard Stam argues that the study of racial issues in film has been bombarded by critics who reject certain films on the basis of misrepresentation. That is to say that stereotypes, sh...

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...omplish political goals. The liberal politics of Latino cinema endure to this day, in the land of Aztlan and throughout the United States.

Carringer, Robert L.1976. "Rosebud, Dead or Alive: Narrative and Symbiolic Structure in Citizen Kane," PMLA 91, no.2.

Fregoso, Rosa Linda. "Chicana Film Practices: Confronting the 'Many-Headed Demon of Oppression.'" New York, NY: University of Minnesota Press.

Gutierrez-Jones, Carl. "Legislating Languages:The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez and the English Language Amendment." New York, NY: University of Minnesota Press.

Limon, Jose E. 1973. "Stereotyping and Chicano Resistance An Historical Dimension." New York, NY: University of Minnesota Press.

Shohat, Ella. Year. "Ethnicities-in-Relation: Toward a Multicultural Reading of American Cinema." City, State: Publisher.

Stam,Richard. Year.Unspeakable Images. City, State: Publisher.
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