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BY ALEX RIVERA
“A fresh and witty video...a personally ambitious example of how guerilla film making can thrive.”
-The New York Times
“In Alex Rivera’s whimsically wanton Papapapá, the artist tracks his father’s immigration northwards from Peru, paralleled by a similar journey endured by the simple potato. Once esconced in the U.S., his father becomes a potato himself, but of a different order, a couch potato, as he saturates himself with images of affluence, mobility, and nostalgia- nostalgia for the place he had left, now a set of beckoning images. While the father undergoes his cultural transformation, the potato continues it’s journey through the fast food industry, reconstituting into a chip that bears no mark of its origin. At the conclusion of this riotous tape, both South American immigrants, father and tuber, have been thoroughly absorbed by the image industry that has capitalized on their own ethnicity.”
-Steve Seid for Festival Videobrasil
Papapapá (U.S.A., 1995) is an experimental documentary about immigration. Looking at the potato (la papa), which was first cultivated in Peru as an Inca food staple, Papapapá paints a picture of a tuber which has traveled, and been transformed. The video follows this immigrating vegetable north as it eventually becomes the potato chip, the couch potato, and the ‘French Fry.’ Simultaneously, Papapapá follows another Peruvian in motion, Augusto Rivera. The filmmaker’s father (el papá), Augusto Rivera was raised in Lima, Peru, but moved to the United States forty years ago.
Papapapá is a humorous look at race and immigration, television and nostalgia, distance and the many ways people deal with it. Papapapá examines how bodies (people and vegetable) are remade within the new societies they encounter.