UC Berkeley Library

Latinos in Film

A Better Life (2011)

Directed by Chris Weitz. Cast: Demian Bichir, Jose Julian, Joaquin Cosio, Eddie 'Piolin' Sotelo. Carlos Galindo, a gardener in East L.A., always dreamed of a better life for his wife and newborn son when he crossed the border into the U.S. But when his wife left him, Carlos's only goal became to keep his son away from gangs and immigration agents while trying to give him the opportunities he never had. A story that follows father and son as they embark on a physical and spiritual journey where they discover that family is the most important part of the American dream. 98 min.

A Day Without a Mexican (USA / Mexico / Spain, 2004)

Directed by Sergio Arau. Cast: Yarelli Arizmendi, John Getz, Maureen Flannigan, Muse Watson, Fernando Arau, Eduardo Palomo. California awakens one day to discover that one third of its population has vanished. A peculiar pink fog surrounds the state and communication outside its boundaries has completely shut down. As the day progresses, it becomes apparent the sole characteristic linking the missing 14 million is their Hispanic heritage.

A Million to Juan (1993)

Directed by Paul Rodriguez. Cast: Paul Rodriguez, Ruben Blades, Polly Draper, Gerardo, Cheech Marin, Edward James Olmos, Tony Plana, Paul Williams, Pepe Serna. Juan Lopez struggles to make an honest living and raise his son in the Los Angeles barrio. Threatened with deportation, dumped by his girlfriend and faced with losing his home, Juan seems unable to get a break when, suddenly, a mysterious stranger hands him a million-dollar check, with instructions that he must return it in one month.

Against All Odds (Contra todo) (2006)

Directed by Michel Franco, Karim Raoul, Dora Pena, and Yuri Makino. Contents: Cyclone -- Crazy life -- Entre dos -- Night breeze -- El Soldado. In the tradition of Amores Perros, the stories in "Contra todo" paint a tapestry of experiences depicting Latino American life in the US. Faced with various obstacles, the characters risk everything to survive. Cyclone tells the story of Miguel growing up on the tough streets of New York. In Crazy Life, LA native Dulce's love for Chuy makes her question right and wrong.

Alambrista! (The Illegal) (1977)

Directed by Robert M. Young. Cast: Domingo Ambriz, Trinidad Silva, Linda Gillin, Ned Beatty, Jerry Hardin, Julius Harris. After his daughter's birth, Roberto leaves his town in Michoacan to make money in the United States. He's "an illegal," crossing into California and taking work wherever he can: picking strawberries, grapes, lettuce, and cucumbers. He hitchhikes, rides freight trains, and depends on the kindness of strangers. Near Stockton, things look up when a sympathetic waitress gives him a place to live and he gets a better job washing helicopters.

America 101 (2005)

Directed by Mark A. Russell. Cast: Miguel Castro, Richard Azurdia, Christine Carlo, Gerald Brodin, Jordi Caballero, Louie Olivos Jr. When two brothers from a small Mexican town decide to cross the border and live the great "American Dream," they get far less than they bargained for. Double-crossed by a smuggler, they find themselves alone in the desert. What follows is a strange and hilarious adventure as they make their way to Tucson, working as day-laborers and sleeping in the park, living as social outcasts. Filled with crazy characters and eye-opening truths. 86 min.

America, The Encounter (2002)

Directed and edited by Jose Garrotte. Cast: Oscar Rojas, Mireia Negre, Victor Viveros, Paula Tejeda. Examines the human experience and the individual's struggle for the understanding of his own soul through the eyes of a recently arrived hispanic immigrant and his disillusionment with America. The film communicates its message through poetry, dance, songs and painting. Based on the theatrical play by Oscar Rojas. Presented at the International Latino Film Festival held in the San Francisco Bay Area. 26 min.

American Family. Season one (TV, 2002)

Created by Gregory Nava. American Family, the first drama series to air on broadcast television featuring a Latino cast, reveals the enduring strength of family in America today as it chronicles the lives of the Gonzalez's, residents of East Los Angeles.Cast: Edward James Olmos, Sonia Braga, Constance Marie, Esai Morales, Raquel Welch, A.J. Lamas, Rachel Ticotin, Austin Marques. Episodes 1-4. Contents: American family (Pilot) -- The sewing machine -- Crash boom love, parts 1 & 2. Creator/executive producer/director, Gregory Nava. ca. 180 min.

American Fusion (2005 )

Directed by Frank Lin. Cast: Esai Morales, Sylvia Chang, Pat Morita, Collin Chou. Yvonne is a divorced middle-aged Chinese immigrant who thinks her life is over, doomed to spend the rest of her days as a slave to her large and eccentric family. Suddenly, romance enters her life and Yvonne gets a long deferred chance for true love. Cultures collide as she falls for the last person a Chinese family would ever accept, Jose, a Mexican-American dentist. A warm-hearted satire of ethnic stereotypes and family relationships providing nonstop laughs. 94 min.

American Me (1992)

Directed by Edward James Olmos. Cast: Edward James Olmos, William Forsythe, Pepe Serna, Evelina Fernandez. Inspired by a true life story, this is the story of a vicious Latino prison gang leader, Santana, who becomes the leader of the Mexican Mafia while in Folsom prison and is doomed by his past to a life of harsh, unforgiving violence after his release from jail. 125 min. Credits and other information from Internet Movie Database

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