Hidden Chicano Cinema examines how New Mexico, situated within the boundaries of the United States, became a stand-in for the exotic non-western world that tourists, artists, scientists, and others sought to possess at the dawn of early filmmaking, a disposition stretching from the silent era to today as filmmakers screen their fantasies of what they wished the Southwest Borderlands to be.
The book highlights “film moments” in this region’s history including the “filmic turn” ushered in by Chicano/a filmmakers who created new ways to represent their community and region. A. Gabriel Meléndez narrates the drama, intrigue, and politics of these moments and accounts for the specific cinematic practices and the sociocultural detail that explains how the camera itself brought filmmakers and their subjects to unexpected encounters on and off the screen. Such films as Adventures in Kit Carson Land, The Rattlesnake, and Red Sky at Morning, among others, provide examples of movies that have both educated and misinformed us about a place that remains a “distant locale” in the mind of most film audiences.
"With clear and concise analysis, extensive archival work, and sound scholarship, Hidden Chicano Cinema makes a significant contribution to the field."
—María Herrera-Sobek, University of California, Santa Barbara
"Brilliantly exploring a century of narrative, documentary, and hybrid films set in the Southwest Borderlands, A. Gabriel Meléndez reveals the Chicano presence 'hidden' at the core of the American imagination."
—Chon Noriega, author of Shot in America: Television, the State, and the Rise of Chicano Cinema
"Based on archival research, oral histories, and secondary literature, this book documents film and photographic representations of Mexican Americans in New Mexico from the late 19th century to the start of the 21st century. This book fills a significant gap in the literature on the region. Recommended."
Author / Editor Bio
A. GABRIEL MELÉNDEZ is a professor and chair of the Department of American Studies at the University of New Mexico. He is the author of numerous books, including So All Is Not Lost: The Poetics of Print in Nuevomexicano Communities, 1836–1958.
Table Of Contents
Preface and Acknowledgments
1. Borderlands Cinema and the Proxemics of Hidden and Manifest Film Encounters
2. Ill Will Hunting (Penitentes)
3. A Life Halfway around the World
4. Lives and Faces Plying through Exotica
5. Red Sky at Morning, a Borderlands Interlude
6. The King Tiger Awakens the Sleeping Giant of the Southwest
7. Filming Bernalillo: Post-Civil Rights Chicano Film Subjects
8. Toward a New Proxemics: Historical, Mythopoetic, and Autoethnographic Works