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Lesson 11: What about that other Alien? Professor Daniel Bernardi/ Professor Michelle Martinez.

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Presentation on theme: "Lesson 11: What about that other Alien? Professor Daniel Bernardi/ Professor Michelle Martinez."— Presentation transcript:

1 Lesson 11: What about that other Alien? Professor Daniel Bernardi/ Professor Michelle Martinez

2 2 In the last lecture… –“Who are the reel aliens?” –Science Fiction Genre –White hero vs. Alien other –Alien invader as stand in for Latino immigrant –Blade Runner (1982)

3 3 In this Lecture… Documentary Films - As anthropology -As self-representation “What about that other alien?” -Criminalization of undocumented immigrants -Documenting the undocumented

4 4 Documentary Films Lesson 11: Part 1

5 5 Documentary Documentary film is a broad category of visual expression that is based on the attempt, in one fashion or another, to "document" reality. Although "documentary film" originally referred to movies shot on film stock, it has subsequently expanded to include video and digital productions. Documentary, as it applies here, works to identify a "filmmaking practice, a cinematic tradition, and mode of audience reception" that is continually evolving and is without clear boundaries. -Wikipedia Click here for more information on documentary films. Click here for more information on documentary films.

6 6 Paul Espinosa Noted documentarian ASU professor Emmy award winner Many works aired on PBS PhD in Anthropology Click here to read more about Paul Espinosa

7 7 From Anthropology “Anthropologists, as many of us know, typically go someplace far away, like the South Sea Islands, and study what the ‘natives’ do. After they finish their fieldwork, they return home, usually to a university in the First Worlds, and write up their observations about ‘what the natives do’.”

8 8 From Anthropology “I decided to go to a ‘village’ in southern California named Hollywood and study what the ‘natives’ do. I thought it could be productive to study this ‘village’ and train the anthropological lens on media makers themselves” -Interview with Paul Espinosa by Dr. Daniel Bernardi

9 9 To Documentary “As I surveyed the TV landscape in the late 1970s, another thing became glaringly apparent -- the way in which my own community, Mexican Americans and Latinos in general- were imaged in the media. Either the presentation was very stereotypical-- where the only Latino characters you saw were gang bangers, gardeners, maids or prostitutes -- or, Latinos were completely invisible. This reality, along with a budding relationship with the PBS affiliate in San Diego, led me to become actively involved in producing content about my own community.” -Interview with Paul Espinosa by Dr. Daniel Bernardi

10 10 Ballad of an Unsung Hero (1983) Biographical look at Pedro J. Gonzalez –Telegraph operator for Pancho Villa –Spanish language radio program out of Los Angeles, most successful of its time –Framed in 1934 and sent to San Quentin

11 11 Documenting the Latino Experience “I have come to appreciate the paramount importance of good storytelling. At the same time, I have also found so many absences in the media, in terms of stories about the Latino experience. I found myself wanting to pursue such stories, and finding often that these stories required a kind of excavation. You had to dig down, and often dig deep, in order to recuperate these stories.” - Interview with Paul Espinosa by Dr. Daniel Bernardi

12 12 The Lemon Grove Incident (1986) Focuses on one of the earliest school desegregation cases in U.S. history. Utilizes a combination of dramatized scenes, interviews, and historical footage.

13 13 Putting History on Film “Of course, most of us know the landmark case of Brown vs. Board of Education (1954) and when we think about school segregation, we usually think about it in black and white terms. But in fact, many early segregation cases occurred in the Southwest and they involved not just African American children but Mexican American, Native American, and Asian American children.”

14 14 Putting History on Film “The Lemon Grove Incident is the story of one of these cases. The film was part of a larger effort of recuperating aspects of the Mexican American historical experience, since so much of that experience had never made its way into the history book.” -Interview with Paul Espinosa by Dr. Daniel Bernardi

15 15 Uneasy Neighbors (1990) A documentary profile of growing tensions between migrant worker camps and affluent homeowners in north San Diego Chronicles the life and death of the Green Valley camp

16 16 Applied Anthropology “In a general sense, my work is an example of applied anthropology, taking insights about culture, conflict, and change and presenting stories with meaning for a broad general audience. Perhaps the way in which my work has differed most from traditional anthropology (whatever that is) is in the question of audience, my objective has been to reach a broad public audience, and to inform them about relevant social and cultural issues.” -Interview with Paul Espinosa by Dr. Daniel Bernardi

17 17 John Caldwell Professor of Film, Media and Television at UCLA Creative work centers on cultural investigations Particularly interested in “indigenism”

18 18 Academia = Tell “Blanket critical/theoretical prohibitions against representing the other are typically offered from positions of academic privilege. Most of these intellectual taboos ignore the sad fact that othering habits frequently emerge as integral part of local socio-political systems and conflicts. In most of these cross-cultural quagmires, indigenism is rarely evident in any pure, isolatable form; or accessible to the filmmaker in a stable or clean state.” -John Caldwell

19 19 Academia = Tell “We called attention to the privileged position which anthropologists has traditionally held- knowing that they usually came from First World countries and studies in Third World communities which were relatively powerless in comparison to where they came from” -Interview with Paul Espinosa by Dr. Daniel Bernardi

20 20 Documentary = Show “Filmmakers, academics, and activists owe it to themselves and their constituents to more carefully pick apart the layers of outside interest that typically broach, exploit, and manage indigenous racial identities in public” -John Caldwell

21 21 Kuije Kanan: Managalase Tattooing (1985) Ethnographic documentary Explores the prohibition of an ancient practice/art through interviews and re- enactments

22 22 Documenting Culture as Preservation “The documentary represented a rather simple and direct attempt to allow the surviving elders to demonstrate and resurrect this culture-defining practice for other villagers, their families and children.” -John Caldwell

23 23 From Freak Street to Goa Freak Street -Released in 1989 -Filmed from 1980-1986 Tracks privileged westerners as they explore and “reverse immigrant” to third world cultures.

24 24 Filming Up “With nationalism and colonialism apparently at passe, indigenism has emerged as a favored rhetorical ploy that is used and misused by all sorts of cross- cultural players. Earnest free-thinkers invoke ‘their’ indigenism to ‘counter’ exploitive U.S. culture, European commercialism, and globalization.” - John Caldwell

25 25 Rancho California (por favor) Exposed how the suburban migrant indigenous lived in the San Diego margins Chronicles the struggles and attempts to maintain culture, rights in third world conditions in heart of first world neighborhood

26 26 Visualizing the Invisible “Several of my UCSD students from the area denied that such camps existed. These (fairly symptomatic) denials made me look for how racial identities were being conventionalized as natural phenomena in Southern California’s ‘picturesque’ landscape.” -John Caldwell

27 27 The Big Point The use of documentary becomes a means to speak alternatively about what society and mainstream media keeps ‘invisible’ such as issues of ‘otherness’, anything that may upset the status quo. Documentary filmmaking allows for self- representation and criticism of power structure in a media available to a wide audience.

28 28 The “Other” Alien Lesson 11: Part 2

29 29 Uneasy Neighbors (1990) By Paul Espinosa Profiles growing tensions between migrant worker camps and affluent homeowners in north San Diego Seeks to de-criminalize and subvert the notion of immigrant as alien

30 30 Rancho California (por favor) (2002) By John Caldwell Exposed how the suburban migrant indigenous lived in the San Diego margins Highlighted the differences regarding indigenous migrant vs. Mexican migrant experience

31 31 From Heat “Back in the early 1980s, and even today, the topic was often framed around the issue of criminal activity. And the media contributed to this framing by generating a large amount of coverage of immigrants being apprehended at the border.” -Interview with Paul Espinosa by Dr. Daniel Bernardi

32 32 To Light “The iconic image was a nighttime scene of poor Mexican immigrants, hands held high, as border patrol agents with night scopes and helicopters arrested them and sent them back to Mexico. This was a classic case of media shedding lots of heat but no light on a topic. I believed that to gain even a basic understanding of immigration, you had to know who these people were and why they were coming north.” -Interview with Paul Espinosa by Dr. Daniel Bernardi

33 33 A Third World Hidden within the First “Third world conditions were the norm and pervaded scores of camps throughout north San Diego county. But by what logic had these conditions been made socially acceptable in the region?” -John Caldwell

34 34 Managed Oppression “In Rancho California (por favor), I decided to shift away from any attempt at creating a pure ethnic space for expression in order to try to articulate the many material layers and symbolic boundaries that the public uses to construct and assign race. What emerged, on camera, and in interviews, was a very real sense that the rural- suburban landscape in the area of the camps was meticulously managed.” -John Caldwell

35 35 The Other within the Other “Anti-immigration rhetoric demonized all migrants as “Mexicans” and “illegals”. At the same time, resurgent, flag-waving Mexican nationalism evident in the anti Prop-187 rallies in Los Angeles and San Diego totalized immigration in a different way -- one that created a monolithic nationalist block that covered over all sorts of cultural heterogeneity within the migrant worker communities. Yet, the Mixtecos we interviewed in the camps saw themselves as a self-governing and indigenous -- not as Mexicans.” -John Caldwell

36 36 The Big Point By filming their documentaries, Espinosa ad Caldwell use the media to expose societies criminalization and participation in the reinforcement of racial and social stratification. Both filmmakers show how complex and fluid the construction of the ‘other’ can be and seek to show an accurate portrayal of an issue that often gets demonized in the mainstream media.

37 37 End of Lecture 11 Next Lecture: Is Authenticity Possible?

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