Presentation on theme: "Lecture 6: To assimilate or not to assimilate?"— Presentation transcript:
1 Lecture 6: To assimilate or not to assimilate? Professor Daniel Bernardi /Professor Michelle Martinez
2 In the last lecture… Stereotypes & Story Six Latino Stereotypes Resistance is PossibleProgressive ImagesLatinos Playing LatinosDolores Del Rio
3 In this lecture… Genre & the Social Problem Film Bordertown (1933) & Assimilation NarrativeSalt of the Earth (1954) & ResistanceYou can pause the lecture at any point, click on one of the hyperlinks (text that is underlined) to visit a site or view a clip , and then return to the same point in the lecture when you’re ready.
4 Genre & the Social Problem Film Lecture 6: Part 1
5 El Bandido Harlot Male Buffoon Female Clown Latin Lover Dark Lady Remember The Six TypesEl BandidoHarlotMale BuffoonFemale ClownLatin LoverDark Lady
6 Remember Key Concepts Denotative Features Change Connotative Feature Remain Consistent Across Hollywood Film HistoryVisual FormulaNarrative FormulaLeo Carrillo in The Cisco Kid (1950)Alfonso Arau in ¡Three Amigos! (1986)
7 Stereotypes Specific Representations Entrenched Storytelling ConventionsGoal-Oriented ProtagonistWhite, Handsome, Straight, ProtestantStereotypes and Minor CharactersVillains, Sidekicks, TemptressesProvide Hero w/ Opportunities to Display Moral, Physical and Intellectual Preeminence
8 What is genre? Collection of Visual Features MotifsChronotopesIconographyRecreation of Narrative ElementsSettingTime and SpaceFacilitate Audience Expectations
9 Basic Definition“Stated simply, genre movies are those commercial feature films which, through repetition and variation, tell familiar stories with familiar characters in familiar situations. They also encourage expectations and experiences similar to those of similar films we have already seen.”- Berry Keith Grant
10 Sampling of Hollywood Genres Key Genres We ConsiderWesternScience FictionChicano/a FilmKey Questions to Ask:What are the visual features/motifs?What are the narrative features/discourses?What are audience expectationsHow are they triangled?
11 Social Problem Combines Social Analyses Dramatic Conflict Prejudice Anti-SemitismAlcoholismDrug AddictionWarLabor UnionsDramatic ConflictHeroes and VillainsFamilies and Nations
12 Chicano/a Social Problem Bordertown (1935)Right Cross (1950)The Lawless (1950)My Man and I (1952)The Ring (1952)Salt of the Earth (1954)Trial (1955)Giant (1956)
13 The Problem Chicano Faces Poverty Chicano Confronts Discrimination Chicano Rejects Family to Fight for RightsChicano Stumbles in the FightWhites Help ChicanoChicano Returns to BarrioFamily is More Important than AssimilationChicano Cannot Assimilate, but Whites Shouldn’t Discriminate
14 Thesis“More often than not they endorse the very system they set out to criticize. Their obligatory happy ending metaphorically or actually sends the Chicano back to the barrio where he began, leaving him to cope with the negligible opportunity that exists for him there. In an alternative ending, the Chicano overcomes the barriers to assimilation and mainstream success only after he purges himself of the (from the patriarchal WASP point of view) more problematic aspects of his character.”– Charles Ramírez Berg.
15 Bordertown (1933) & Assimilation Narrative John Ramirez (Paul Muni) in Bordertown (1935)Lecture 6: Part 2
16 Shot from Bordertown (1935) CreditsReleased in 1935Directed by Archie MayoStars Paul Muni & Bette DavisSet on the BorderShot from Bordertown (1935)
17 Plot Summary“Bordertown follows the standard rags-to-riches-to-rags assimilation narrative. Johnny Ramírez, a tough kid from East Los Angeles, matures into a responsible adult and acquires ambition and dedication when, as the judge who delivers his school commencement address puts it, ‘he realized his opportunities and duties as an American citizen.’” He is betrayed by a white woman, eventually using the money he has earned to “endow a law school in the barrio, and returns, in his words, ‘back where I belong… with my own people’.”This film is difficult to secure for screening. Review Ramírez Berg’s synopsis (pg ). What’s important is that you understand his argument about the film and the evidence from the film that supports that argument.
18 Evidence Stereotypical Inversion Undiminished Stereotyping Male Chicano ProtagonistOverprotective MamaAbsent FatherAbsent ChicanaAlluring but Flawed Anglo WomanReductive Definition of Success
19 Stereotypical Inversion Boost Ethnics by Denigrating AnglosOversexed Blondes / Materialistic SocialitesHarsh and Inflexible Authority FiguresConflict Bases of NarrativeWhite Hero (Paternal) / Hero Mediates“Naturally the Chicano protagonist makes the sound ethical choice when he recoils from such a thoroughly venal Anglo universe and retires to the moral haven of the barrio.”– Charles Ramírez Berg
20 Undiminished Stereotyping Complicated Ethnic Type Mediated by Simplistic Stereotype of Other EthnicsRationalizes Oppression Despite Sympathetic Plight of Ethnic AssimilationDances with Wolves (1990)SiouxPawneeBordertownChinese ServantMexican Defense LawyerShot from Dances with Wolves (1990)
21 Male Chicano Protagonist Palatable to Mainstream AudiencesMale Lead (Salt of the Earth is an exception)Casting Anglo in Role (Touch of Evil)Giving Character Upper-Class Status“Since in Hollywood films, an ethnic woman can be only an overprotective matriarch, the ‘other woman,’ or a harlot, this practice automatically relegates Chicanas to stereotypical roles.”– Charles Ramírez Berg.
22 Overprotective Mama & Absent Father Naïve, Good-Natured, Long-Suffering MomThe Jazz Singer (1927)The Godfather (1972)Anglo Family Complete/Ethnic Family Dysfunctional Often due to Absent DadBordertownLa Bamba (1987)
23 Absent Father as Catalytic “From the patriarchal perspective, the missing father is indicative of abnormal Oedipal development. Never able to identify fully with the father, the Chicano male cannot symbolically become like him, nor can he take his productive, ‘masculine’ place in society. This interrupted transition for pleasure principle to reality principle, from the familial order to the social one, helps explain his antisocial behavior.”– Charles Ramírez Berg
24 Absent ChicanaExcept for Mother, Chicana is Almost Non-Existent (she is background color)Note Chicano Love InterestWhen Present, Chicana is a HelperOften a Love Interest of Anglo Male (remnants of the Dark Lady stereotype)
25 Alluring but Flawed Anglo Woman Chicano Male’s Only Option for RomanceAs Love Interest, “Anglo Woman” Must Be FlawedEmotional ProblemsPsychological ProblemsMoral Problems“By the use of an insidiously controlled self-preserving logic, Anglo patriarchy maintains its genetic ‘purity’ in part by negatively stereotyping Anglo women as childish miscreants.”– Charles Ramírez Berg
26 Reductive Definition of Success “Hollywood’s providing Mexican American protagonists in the Chicano-centered social problem film (save for Salt of the Earth) does not really improve the situation. A principle reason is that the heroes in these movies do not enjoy the sort of unbridled success available to Anglo protagonists. They get greatly scaled-down versions of Anglo success or they get failure.”– Charles Ramírez Berg
27 The Big Point“Given the constraints of the ideological patterns just described, it is obvious that the deck is stacked in significant ways against Chicanos in these films. Add to this the structure of the Hollywood formula, which demands that an accessible hero find a happy resolution to the conflicts animated by these narratives, and we can appreciate why many of these social problem films deprecate the group they mean to celebrate.”– Charles Ramírez Berg
28 Salt of the Earth (1954) & Resistance Ramon Quintero (Juan Chacón) in Salt of the Earth (1954)Lecture 6: Part 3
29 Credits Released in 1954 Directed by Herbert Biberman Stars Rosaura RevueltasSet in New Mexico
30 Plot Summary“Against a backdrop of social injustice, a riveting family drama is played out by the characters of Ramon and Esperanza Quintero, a Mexican-American miner and his wife. In the course of the strike, Ramon and Esperanza find their roles reversed: an injunction against the male strikers moves the women to take over the picket line, leaving the men to domestic duties. The women evolve from men's subordinates into their allies and equals.”
31 Real Story“The Salt project was born when the filmmakers were told of a strike by Mexican-American mine workers against the Empire Zinc Corporation in Bayard, New Mexico. The issues at stake included racist "dual wage rates" that allotted higher pay to Anglo workers over Mexican-Americans, and Empire Zinc’s ‘policy of hiring only Mexican-Americans for underground work’. The film was scripted and shot on location in Bayard within months of the strike’s settlement. Workers and wives who had walked the picket lines took prominent roles in the movie and helped to shape Michael Wilson’s screenplay.”- Bob Wake
32 Conditions of Production Written, Directed and Produced by Members of the “Hollywood Ten”Declined to Testify Before the House Un-American Activities CommitteeBiberman Spent 6 Months in JailWorked Independently to Beat the BlacklistCast Included Actors and “Real” FolksMexican Star, Rosaura RevueltasMiners and Wives
33 Harassment & Censorship Hollywood Reporter = “Commie Film”International Alliance of Theatrical Employees Made it Difficult to Hire Union Crews (one reported to be FBI Informant)Labs Refused to Process FilmExhibitors Refused to Screen ItRosaura Revueltas’s Visa Revoked
34 Confluence of Oppression Oppression of WorkersOppression of Mexicans and ChicanosChicano Oppression of WomenClick Here to See Scene from Salt of the Earth (1954)
35 Reinforces Solidarity Rich and PoorWhite and BrownMen and WomenFemale Heroine Played by Mexican ActressChicano Lead Played by Real MinerClick Here to See Scene from Salt of the Earth (1954)
36 Thesis Chicano & Chicana Protagonists No Stereotypical Inversion No Undiminished StereotypingNo Overprotective MamaFather is PresentChicana is PresentNo Alluring but Flawed Anglo WomanNo Reductive Definition of Success
37 Why? Political Film Engages Complexity of Political Situation Directed to EntertainDirected to Make Viewer Think CriticallyEngages Complexity of Political SituationCritique of Red Scare IdeologyClass Warfare (strike)Race Oppression (Chicanos)Gender Oppression (lead is a woman)Explanations Are NOT ReductiveWhites are Not StereotypedMen are Not Stereotyped
38 Next Lecture: How are Latinos/as Represented in the Western? End of Lecture 6Next Lecture:How are Latinos/as Represented in the Western?