Archive for category Entertainment
09/12/12 – On Saturday, September 8, the Trans-Border Institute (TBI) hosted the screening of the film “Al otro lado” (“To the Other Side”) as part of the border region film series, “Ambulante Border: New Perspectives on Gun Policy, Arms Trafficking, Violence and Immigration, Freedom of Expression, and Violence Towards Journalists.”
Produced and directed by Natalia Almada, the 2005 documentary narrates the story of 23-year-old Magdiel, a Mexican fisherman that dreams of having a better a life. Through Magdiel’s story, the movie shows that the reason many Mexicans want to migrate to the United States is for a better future–for the opportunities to study and to improve their economic conditions by finding better-paying jobs–even if it means crossing illegally.
Not only does the film focus on immigration, it weaves in topics of drug-trafficking and day-to-day realities that many Mexicans face. Given the economic hardships and lack of opportunity present for many Mexicans, and the difficulties one endures if attempting to cross the border, the movie shows that many turn to drug trafficking as a source of income and resources to solve their financial problems. This ever-present reality in Mexico is often captured in the popular “corridos,” a type of Mexican music that has embraced the narco-lifestyle and that narrates, for example, the stories of average Mexicans struggling to survive and to overcome financial hardships, even if that means crossing the border without documents or drug trafficking. The film relies on such “corridos” to help tell their story, as well as showcase their importance in Mexican culture and the influence that drug-trafficking has had on this genre of music and thus on Mexican culture.
In sum, “Al otro lado” explores these broader topics of immigration, economic hardships, drug trafficking, and “corridos” through its protagonist, Magdiel.
While Cinco de Mayo may be more heavily celebrated in the United States its roots and celebration seem to one of contradictions. Cinco de Mayo is a celebration commemorating the Mexican militia win over the better equipped French in 1860, the 5th of May and is mostly celebrated in the United States. Many people in the United States either do not know or believe it is the celebration of Mexico’s independence day. Many Mexican’s do not celebrate Cinco de Mayo and are not aware of how big vastly celebrated it is in the United States.
What is Cinco de Mayo? Cinco de Mayo is a celebration to commemorate Battle of Puebla. The battle erupted after Emperor Napoleon III had sent French troops to Mexico to regain control over the former Spanish colony and place Archduke Maximilian of Austria, as its ruler. At the Battle of Puebla the Mexican militia lead by General Ignacio Zaragoza defeated the French forces. They eventually lost the war though and Maximilian became the emperor for three years before Mexico reclaimed its independence.
So, why is Cinco de Mayo so heavily celebrated in the States as opposed to Mexico? There have been several reasons put forth to explain this phenomenon. One explanation involves the American Civil war that was fought between the Union and the Confederacy. The French seeing that the U.S. was too internally weak to oppose foreign conquest of its strategic neighbor, took the advantage to colonize Mexico. The Mexican Americans sided with the Union because the French sympathized with the Confederacy who was trying to keep slavery and elitism. Mexican Americans thus fighting for the Union could see the war with the French and the Confederacy as a single war with two fronts; a war for democracy and freedom. After the Battle of Puebla was won, California newspapers published headlines congratulating and praising Mexico’s victory. After the implementation of the United
State’s Good Neighbor Policy, the celebration started expanding to act as a bridge between cultures and celebrating Chicano power. After becoming a celebration of empowerment and community, U.S. corporations were eager to tap into the expanding U.S. Latino market. Thus came about the commercialization of Cinco de Mayo the expansion of the uninformed drinking holiday that is celebrated throughout the United States as opposed to Mexico.
In Mexico City, authorities are considering a law to end bullfighting, as Mexican public opinion seems to be divided. The arguments for not pursuing the ban are that bullfighting has a long tradition in Mexico and is considered an art form. It is also argued that the ban could hurt the local economy. It is true that bullfighting has been a long tradition in Mexico; it dates back some 500 years back to when back to when Spain colonized the country. It is also said Mexico is the second most important bastion for bullfighting in the world, but with over 9,000 bulls killed a year and other countries outlawing bullfighting (Barcelona, Chile and Argentina) it is can be seen why the movement has progressed.
Some even argue that there seems to be a culture of violence coming from the drug war and that bullfighting contributes to it. The petition circulating on change.org states, “There is no art or culture when a sentient animal is mobbed by a gang of men, confused and terrified, repeatedly stabbed with spears, harpoons and a sword, exhausted and dying from his wounds and blood loss.” About 1,000 animal rights activist staged a demonstration for the proposed law in front of City hall in Mexico City this past Sunday. They showed up partially clothed, dripped in fake blood and imbedded with imitation barbed darts to represent the killing of bulls that takes place during a bullfight. The bill is to be heard by the general assembly in the third session which ends the 30th of April. The demonstration took place simultaneously with other states states in Mexico; many bullfighters fear the law expanding across the country. Colombia, Peru and Ecuador also have deep rooted traditions of bullfighting.
04/04/2012- Last week (March 26-29), the Trans-Border Institute was proud to put on its fifth Border Film Week. Building on past Border Film Week success, this year’s BFW was an especially exciting event because this was the first year where the event was truly bi-national. Partnering with the Universidad Iberoamericana in Tijuana, TBI held the Film Week as a shadow event on both sides of the border.
Some of the highlights from the event include a visit from actor Jose Yenque for the screening of “Miss Bala” on the opening night of BFW. Tuesday, documentary filmmaker Isaac Artenstein presented 25 years of documentary footage centering around the border region. On Wednesday, Mr. Artenstein held a four hour documentary workshop where participants were able to work with the equipment in the production studio at the Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice. Wednesday evening’s festivities opened with the BINACOM student showcase, where student videos were presented. Submissions came from students at both San Diego City College and California State University, Northridge. After the showcase, there was a “Work in Progress” panel discussion with filmmakers Lisa Franek, of the San Diego Media Arts Center, and Russel Redmond and Jennifer Silva Redmond, of Work With Me Films. The evening concluded with a viewing of “A Better Life” starring Oscar Nominee Demián Bichir. For closing night on Thursday, the documentary “Presunto Culpable” was shown both at USD and the Universidad Iberoamericana in Tijuana. Two of the directors of the film, Roberto Hernández and Layda Negrete, went with TBI staff, including Director David Shirk, to Tijuana for the film screening.
What you need to know:
Who? The University of San Diego will be hosting Chivas USA vs. Club Tijuana
When? Tonight at 8:00pm
Where? Torero Stadium.
How Much? Tickets go for 45, 35 and 25 dollars. (purchase tickets here)
What else? Traffic expected to start from Linda Vista by 6:00pm, get here early! If any special assistance is needed call parking services at 619-260-4518.
Chivas USA is a professional American soccer club based out of Carson, California that competes in Major Soccer League (MLS). Club Tijuana (or more properly Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente) is a Mexican association football team from Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. They were promoted last year to compete in Mexico’s first division. This is Chivas USA’s first preseason friendly, before the March MLS season begins. *OJO* Club Tijuana’s midfielder, Joe Corona was just awarded rookie of the year in Mexico. He is a San Diego native and played collegiate soccer at San Diego State University for a year. Also two players recently associated with Chivas USA have recently signed with Club Tijuana, forward Bryan del la Fuente and Esteban “Stevie” Rodriguez.
On Friday, February 17, 2012, Charlie Minn’s new documentary, “Murder Capital of the World,” premiered in El Paso, Texas and Las Cruces, New Mexico. Minn is the director of a number of other documentaries such as “8 Murders a Day” and “A Nightmare in Las Cruces.”
“Murder Capital of the World” calls attention to the fact that there have been thousands of murders in Cuidad Juarez, and it concentrates on the events that took place in Juarez in 2011. Some of the highlights of the new documentary include the pot smuggling operation, the chaos at Cereso Prison, Police Chief Julian Leyzaola, Mayor Hector Murguia, the violence spillover, and the 2012 presidential election.
According to an article from Borderzine, Minn’s films are made to stick up for the “voiceless,” to represent them, and to give them “a voice.” The interviews focus on the plight of the innocent victims, which makes the documentary more human, and steers away from choosing sides. Minn believes a major reason why no one knows there is a problem in Juarez is because of discrimination, and he states, “I think after violence, discrimination is the second biggest problem in our world and the film sticks up for the innocent Mexican people.”
The film will show for a minimum of a week in El Paso and Las Cruces before expanding to other cities.
For more information on the film go to, www.murdercapitalfilm.com.