BY EFRAÍN GUTIÉRREZ
“This independent film, a slice-of-barrio- life that was shot and exhibited in South Texas, outperformed All the President’s Men in some small towns, while it singlehandedly broke Mexico’s monopoly over the four-hundred Spanish-language theaters in the United States. The film inspired an independent film movement in Mexico, where the state controlled the industry, and among Chicano filmmakers in the United States, who further refined Gutiérrez’s successful grassroots marketing strategy. The film is important as an instance of regional filmmaking, as a bicultural and bilingual narrative, and as a precedent that expanded the way that films got made in two nations. It is a compelling film [about the dilemmas facing a young Chicano in the spring of 1972 amid the Chicano Movement, one] made on a dream and a shoestring! In this respect, Gutiérrez is a pivotal figure in the same way as Oscar Micheaux, who directed “race movies” for black audiences from the 1920s to the 1940s; or Maya Deren, whose films, writings, and advocacy efforts provided a paradigm for the development of American avant-garde film from the 1940s to the 1970s; or the multiracial generation of documentary filmmakers who went to the UCLA Ethno-Communications Program in the early 1970s.” -Chon A. Noriega, “The Aztlán Film Institute’s Top 100 List,” Aztlan: A Journal of Chicano Studies 23, no. 2 (Fall 1998).
Cast includes Efrain Gutierrez, Josefina Paz, David Moss, Abel Franco, Oscar Escamilla, Jose and Margarita Armando de Hoyos. DVD includes documentary interview with the director.
Directed by Efraín Gutiérrez
Written by Sabino Garza
In English and Spanish with subtitles
Chicano Cinema and Media Art Series, Volume 6
UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center Press, May 2007
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