It’s Hispanic Heritage Month! And while I usually spend my days writing over at the GBH Drama Club desk, I’m delighted to take some time away from Mr. Darcy to celebrate my own Latinx heritage. Lucky for me — and you, dear reader — there's a slate of excellent programming coming up to celebrate the Latinx community, this month and all year long.
While the many races and ethnicities that make up the United States deserve to be thought of year round, we at WGBH are always excited to use these ‘focus’ months to take more in-depth looks at our communities. And this September/October, we can’t wait to bring you documentaries and shorts that spotlight some of the aspects of those communities that get overlooked: from the hidden tolls of immigration, to communities that are finally moving out from under colonialist points of view.
So get comfy and join us in watching these beautiful, complex, and inspiring films. Enjoy, mi gente!
In the United States, it’s an unfortunate fact that the so-called immigration ‘problem’ is amongst people’s first thoughts linked with Latinx culture. There is no question that there are a host of issues around Latinx immigration to the U.S. — but those issues are often not the ones that are portrayed in the mainstream media. Border South, from WORLD Channel, digs deep into the many brutal experiences that face the men and women striving to find a life for themselves in the US. By exploring the stories of migrants past and present and following the people stateside who are striving to make their journey safer, Border South builds an in-depth, powerful look at a crisis that is so often misrepresented in the media. Coming Sunday, October 11, at 10:00 pm to WORLD Channel.
If Cities Could Dance: Puerto Rico’s Bomba
KQED’s series If Cities Could Dance is an elegant framework for looking at the beautiful and diverse cultures that make up the United States. There are many episodes that highlight Latinx culture, but it’s their short film on Puerto Rico that taps into an oft-overlooked aspect of that culture: the intersection of Spanish colonists, African Slaves and Indigenous peoples. Through the island's Bomba dance culture, If Cities Could Dance touches on the issue of colorism in the Latinx community, the long-lasting effects of slavery, as well as the pride that Latinos of all colors feel for their rich, complicated heritage. This storyline is told in the voice of those involved in the dance culture, and overlaid with the gorgeous scenery, talented musicians and the vibrant dance of Puerto Rico. Stream now
Siqueiros: Walls of Passion
Coming to WORLD Channel’s Doc World is this multi-faceted documentary on the life and legacy of painter David Alfaro Siqueiros. “We want to make art for all,” was his famous declaration on behalf of himself and his contemporaries. A co-founder of the Syndicate of Revolutionary Mexican Painters, Sculptors and Engravers, Siqueiros was a leading figure in the Mexican muralist movement, along with Diego Rivera and José Orozco. But unlike his cohort, Siqueiros’ revolutionary work often took precedence over his art, leading to his imprisonment and exile time and again. An eloquent documentary, Siqueiros: Walls of Passion tells the master’s tale through archival footage, contemporary interviews, and beautiful tours of some of his most iconic murals. Stream now.
The indigenous Mexican town of Juchitán de Zaragoza serves as a model for what has been termed ‘post-colonial queer’ — moving away from the gendered perspectives brought by the Spanish, and returning to a perspective closer to their native mindset. This hauntingly beautiful short couples documentary footage with lushly performative shots to draw you into the world of Juchitán’s three genders: men, women and muxes. Similar to what the English language terms genderqueer or non-binary, muxes are a gender that embraces both the masculine and feminine identities. Muxes takes you into this world, through the voices and perspectives of Juchitán’s many muxes, in a film that will stay with you long past its short run time. Stream now
Voces: Building the American Dream
All across the country, new housing developments seemingly pop up overnight, overtaking old neighborhoods and previously vacant lots. While the discussion around these developments tends to center on gentrification and urban sprawl — huge problems in their own right — they frequently miss another important issue: that of the safety and well-being of the workers building these homes and complexes. The Voces special, Building the American Dream, presented by PBS and Latino Public Broadcasting, takes us into the world of the immigrant labor frequently used by the construction industry and the abuse that runs rampant within their workplace. A tale of heartbreak and hope, Building the American Dream takes an intimate look at this community and its members' lives, troubles, and triumphs. Stream now