Film Review

After watching the movie La Bamba, I realized that there are many similarities, as well as many connections, between the movie and the readings for this class. There are many prime examples and issues that are expressed throughout the movie. One classic example is that of machismo, which is thoroughly expressed in the poem “Machisimo Is Part of Our Culture” by Marcela Christine Lucero-Trujillo. Richie’s brother, Bob, epitomizes this throughout the entire film. There is also a sense of pride expressed by Richie during the movie. In the film, he expresses his desire to sing the Mexican folk song La Bamba, and use it as his next hit. There is also the example that family is an extremely important part of Chicano culture. This idea is discussed in Chapter 1 of the book, Next of Kin by Richard Rodriguez.


Throughout the film, Richie’s brother, Bob, is a perfect example of an individual who is “macho” and a patriarch. It is implied in the movie through subtle clues that Bob views women as nothing more than objects and sexual conquests. Bob is not sympathetic towards his girl friend (who Richie initially had a crush on and was initially dating). This is even the case when his girl friend, Rosie, gets pregnant. Bob is never home, is usually out drinking, and is verbally and sexually abusive towards Rosie. At one point in the movie, Bob even admits that he almost has to rape her in order for her to have sex with him. This is a prime example of machismo. In the book Next of Kin by Rodriguez, he quotes sociologist Alma M. Garcia’s Chicana Feminist Thought: The Basic Historical Writings as comparing Chicano machismo to a form of sexism. Also included in his quote of her writings is sociologist Garcia attributing the formation of Chicana feminism to machismo, and even referring to machismo as “contributing significantly” to its formation.


When Richie suggests to Del-Fi Record’s owner Bob Keane that he would like to use the Mexican folk song La Bamba as his next song, Bob refuses and is skeptical of how it will be received by the American Rock n Roll fans. Richie is adamant that he wants to sing the song in Spanish, as he is extremely proud of his Mexican heritage, even despite the fact that he does not speak Spanish. In “El Plan De Aztlan”, the essay calls for the people of Aztlan to be conscious and proud of their historical heritage. In El Plan De Aztlan, it is stated that it is imperative that we do this in order to become successful and free ourselves of the “gabacho”.


Lastly, the importance of the family is obvious throughout the movie, La Bamba. Richie expresses many times in the movie his desire to be able to buy his mother a nice, beautiful home. That is his primary and ultimate goal. Another great example of how family is of the utmost importance is how close Richie and Bob are, even despite their differences, arguments, Bob’s jealousy of Richie’s success, and even Bob stealing Rosie from Richie. In the introduction section of the book Next of Kin by Rodriguez, there is a quote from Cherrie Moraga which states “The family is the place where, for better or worse, we learn how to love”. I believe that quote alone describes the ideology of family, especially a Chicano family. Another great quote is in Chapter 1 of the book, which is by Jose Armas, and states “It is impossible to understand the Chicano without understanding the importance of family”. Those two quotes alone speak volumes as to how important family is to Chicanos.

Curvas sin Frenos: Film Review of Real Women Have Curves


Real Women Have Curves is a coming-of-age, funny, and charming movie that deals with issues of gender by displaying the struggles of poor Hispanic women living in East Los Angeles. The Garcia family is portrayed as the nuclear heteropatriarchy Chicano famliy that Richard Rodriguez describes in Next of Kin which represents the wife-mother as a woma who’s sole purpose in life is to support her husband, raise her children, and be mindlessly obedient to everything she is expected to do as a woman. However, Rodriguez’s thoughts on the Chicano family is evidently interrupted by the character of Ana. Through Rodriguez’s eyes, Ana would most likely be viewed as “antifamilia” because she personally desires liberation from her family, despite her mother’s belief that a woman should not be allowed to think for herself. Throughout the film, Ana is seen stuck in a crossroads due to the fact that the sense of duty to her family, which has been instilled in her throughout her life by her mother, is keeping her from fulfilling her dreams of going to college. Thus, this obligation to fulfill her family duty consequently traps Ana to traditional Latina roles. Still, as the film progresses , Ana is slowly breaking away from these traditional Latin women roles.

Moreover, throughout the film, the mother-daughter relationship that Rodriguez also highlights in his text is being testes. Ana is seen constantly arguing with her mothet Carmen over one another’s ideas of what a “real woman” is and looks like. The definition of “real woman” “is essentially the main theme of the film, as suggested in the title. While Carmen believes that a real woman is someone who is young and thin, and who is defined by her husband, Ana believes the opposite. She believes that a woman is more than her weight, sexuality, and her servitude to her husband. The movie displays a diverse group of Latinas, in regards to beauty, to try to determine this definition; yet, regardless, the movie ends up validating Ana’s perspective by allowing her to be accepted for who she is, and then attaining independence by defying her mother and departing from her family.

All in all, the character of Ana is used in the film as a feminist critique of Latin cultural norms that pressure women into serving the heteropatriarchy. For the most part, the women, in general, are portrayed as women who have given up on their dreams in exchange for patriarchal servitude. But, then, there’s Ana, who is the opposite, who is able to lead these women into slowly realizing the errors of their ways at the end. This is shown after the women follow in Ana’s lead in taking off their shirts as a way of liberation. Although, Carmen trys her best to convince Ana to compromise her personal independence and accept a traditional life of humble labor and enslavement to a man, fortunately, Ana is able to reinforce the feminist message that nothing and nobody can take a woman’s independence away. Therefore, Ana becomes a representative of the real woman that the film desires to define through liberating herself from patriarchy by pursuing personal fulfillment that patriarchy opposes.

My personal opinion of Real Women Have Curves is mostly positive. I can relate to Ana, both in her views of a “real woman” and by pursuing a college education instead of becoming another Latina cliché. It’s also refreshing to see a woman who is not white or thin in film who is just as talented as the actors who had defined beauty in Hollywood at the time of production. I would recommend this movie to all the young Latinas out there as inspiration to find themselves despite the pressure to stick to cultural or familial norms. Real Women Have Curves provides women the opportunity to open their eyes to the wickedness of patriarchy in the same way Ana opens her eyes.

La Bamba

La Bamba was one of my favorite movies when I was a kid. I fell in love with the music since the start. When I first watched it I simply saw it as a “biographical musical”. My parents explained to me that it was a movie telling the story of a real person. I never thought much of it just felt sad that such a great musical artist died so tragically. However, it is interesting how much more you see when you want to see beyond the simple story line.

La Bamba is a film that attempts to retell the life story of Ritchie Valens. He was more than a singer he was a pioneer for Chicanos! I pioneer who helped open the door for Chicanos in this country. Obviously, it was not that easy. Even though he was a man of a very obvious talent, being Latino was still an issue. His name was Richard Valenzuela but having a Latino name was going to probably stunt his growth outside the Latino community. So they “white washed” his name to Ritchie Valens. I understand that sometimes artists change their birth name to a completely different name on stage but this was something more racial. As if Latinos can’t have talent but then again that is the oppression of the Latinos.

We also see some Machismo that is portrayed through Ritchie’s brother Bob. This is the reality of our Latino culture like the poems and our readings have talked about thus far. Woman are constantly reminded of their roles as Latina woman. They have to be the submissive and Rosie is the perfect example of this.

Aside’s from the music and the insight of Ritchie’s life, the audience also gets insight on how “traditional” Latino families are. Not only with the machismo but with the discrimination of color like Donna’s dad on her relationship with Ritchie. Perhaps, people might think that absurd discrimination is no longer in existence but it is not. Chicanos, constantly have to battle being accepted for our brown skin not just yesterday but today as well. This was a great film a classic that I had never really over analyzed. I’m glad this assignment gave me this opportunity to do that. Ritchie might be gone but his music lives on as a reminder that Chicano’s can do it all if they don’t let things get past the skin.

Embracing the Identity of Being a Real Woman with Real Curves


Real Women Have Curves is a film that focuses on the obstacles that a young woman faces within her traditional Latina/o household. Ana, the main character, is constantly trying to distance herself from the patriarchal ideologies her family was so used to living but her mother constantly shamed her for being ‘different.’ Carmen, her mother, thought that the ‘perfect’ woman was supposed to work and support her family. Ana rejected this lifestyle immediately and decided she wanted to build herself by pursuing an education and loving herself, but Carmen considered this a selfish thing to do. She always wondered why Ana chose to “rebel” against her and thought there was something wrong with her daughter.

From the very beginning of the movie, Ana’s independent persona made her family and other community members very uncomfortable. Carmen, Ana’s mother, was more mortified than anything. She could not stand how Ana was outspoken, blunt, raw, and so intelligent. Ana was not a pushover either so whenever her mother tried to talk down on her, she always stood up for herself. In her strange mind, Carmen believed that submissive women were a healthy tradition within the family. Deep down, I feel as though Carmen was jealous of Ana because she never had the courage to break away from a cycle that never made her happy. In the poem “Machismo Is Part Of Our Culture,” author Marcela Christine Lucero-Trujillo talks about how the presence of machismo is always reminded by Latinas/os everywhere you go. This made me think about the film because Carmen seemed to constantly bring up the “fact” that men had to be in control of everything in order for anything to be functional. She also made it seem as though women had to be the nurturers of the home so everyone’s well being fell on their hands, not the man’s. If anyone tried breaking this so-called tradition, she would shame them and make it seem as though they were the ones with bad hearts.

Ana’s mother is the perfect example of a misogynistic woman. Carmen always made Ana feel terrible about her weight because she would tell her that no man would ever love a woman with so many curves. I thought she was full of contradictions too because she slapped Ana once she had an idea that she was not a virgin anymore. I was so confused because I thought she wanted her daughter to find a man that would take care of her but I guess she wanted to keep the cycle of machismo going and she knew that the guy Ana was seeing was anything but “traditional.”

At the end of the film, I was so happy Ana got to live her dream of going to college far away from her family. I did not feel sorry for Carmen at all. I was so angry when she let her pride take over and did not bother saying bye to her daughter. I thought she was selfish throughout the entire film and she had no right to mentally and verbally abuse Ana the way she did. Sometimes we have to risk hurting others in order for us to live the life we deserve.

In “Imagined Borders: Locating Chicano Cinema in America/ América,” author Chon A. Noriega discusses the impact of cinema entertainment within the Chicano community. Cinema is used as a way to express struggle through a personal lens and it helps the audience relate to certain scenarios on a deeper level. This form of entertainment can be tricky because there are some Latina/o films that still promote the ideology of patriarchy, making it seem as traditional and normal. The reason why Real Women Have Curves is so special and moving is because it teaches people a lot about the negativity regarding patriarchy and masculinity, specifically in the Latina/o community. It also shows how women can internalize it and project it onto others. This is one of the few films in which women took over the lead roles and the men were just the supportive actors, which made it even more empowering and different.

I highly recommend this film to people of different cultures, backgrounds, ethnicities, and genders. The family portrayed in the film can apply to different communities because patriarchy affects almost every culture. Women can also find this film very beneficial and empowering because it helps us embrace the importance of building our identities and accepting our existence without the validation of anyone.

La Bamba Film Review


The film “La Bamba” written and directed by Luis Valdez, known to be the founder of modern Chicano film showcased several themes that we have been reading in our text the last few weeks. The themes of machismo, and family are seen, as well as things like discrimination and gender roles. In one of the opening scenes Valens mother is talking to the farm women and says “I’m tired of being hit by men already,” I knew the theme of machismo would be showcased in this film when she said that. We see the theme of machismo in the film best through the character of Bob, Valen’s older brother. Bob is a tough guy, who initially just wanted to provide for his family and get them out of the campos. We see Bob struggle with alcoholism throughout the film causing him to grow violent, especially towards his girlfriend Rosie. There was also a very triggering scene when Bob basically rapes Rosie after they had an argument and she had locked herself in the room saying she just wanted to get some rest. Bob himself later tells his brother that he basically has to rape Rosie in order to have sex. This is something I felt important to bring up that even though they were in a relationship, consent is still necessary. Rosie even tells Bob is this all you want me for? Referring to sex, and also states that he thinks she’s his love slave that he can kick around. A scene between Bob and Ritchie where they are both fighting, Ritchie punches Bob and says “I’m not Rosie asshole” which he meant that he wasn’t going to allow being pushed around, or being someone he could push around. Both Rosie and Valen’s mothers showcase gender roles that women had to be the ones cooking and cleaning, but Valen’s mother also went to work which is untraditional as we have seen in our readings of Next of Kin, as women were supposed to stay at home and take care of the children. There was a scene in which Rosie looked at a pile of dirty plates stacked high in disappointment because of course she was the one who was going to have to wash the plates. We’ve also been reading in Next of Kin the importance of family unity in the movement and we see this theme in the film. The family was really close regardless of the drama, they all came together to help Ritchie in a scene when the whole family is gathered around making posters and then going around town spreading the word of his concert. When Valens music producer ask him to pick what’s most important to him music or his friendship he says family. At the end of the film we even see him making up with his brother and both of them saying “I’m still your brother”. Family is essential in Chicano culture. The theme of discrimination was see with Donna’s disapproving father, I thought it was hilarious when he asked his daughter of Ritchie was Italian. I think Donna’s father’s disapproval was both being that Ritchie was Chicano and because of his class status, because he was poor. This made me think to my personal life, I’ve been in a relationship with a gringo for two years and his father still disapproves, which is really sad. His dad is extremely racist and hates Mexicans which has caused issues in our relationship and unfortunately I don’t have a strong bond with his side of the family due to it, but luckily my family is accepting and has welcomed him into our family. I had never seen this film before, and didn’t know too much about Ritchie Valens but I really enjoyed the film and the music. At the end of the film it made me reflect and think about the huge contribution that Ritchie Valen left on the Chicano community after just 8 months of his rock and roll career. I think about Selena and the huge contribution she left for Chicanas and how both of these artist are still a big part of the community. It makes me wonder what more they could have offered to the Chicana/o community.

Real Women Have Curves!!!!

The film “Real Women Have Curves”, illustrates several of the things we have been reading, and learning so far. Ana is a young woman that is very open mined, and knows how to stand up for herself. However, her mother is always on her way pushing her around not letting her strive for what she believes. Yet, in the film we can really see how Ana fights against patriarchy, and what is suppose to be the “norm” for a women. Another main concept in the film is about the “Chicano family”, and education is also a main point in the film.


I will begin discussing the ways in which Ana fights against patriarchy. Ana does not let herself from the mean things her mom says to her. She is demonstrating the opposite of patriarchy. She is not submissive to no one, which is how she challenges patriarchy in society. For example, there was a scene in the film where Ana gets upset with her sister for all the work they put into the garment clothe, so that in the end it can be sold for a way more amount of money than the cents the workers are getting paid. Ana sees the inequality there is, and does not put up with it. This also goes hand in hand to as what the “norm” for women is to do. In the Chicano culture women are grown up with the main idea that they are the ones that have to cook, clean, and take care of the children. However, Ana does none of that which is why her mother is frustrated. There is the other example where a woman is to be a “virgin” until they marry, and God forbid they do because then they will be in the mouths of everyone. Like Norma, when Ana’s mom found out that she had sexual relationship before the day of her wedding all the ladies in the factory start gossiping about her in a negative way. The part in the film that stood out the most was the part where Ana and the workers from the factory took off their clothe, and were happy dancing around. This demonstrated how they no longer cared about what others think, and fought against the “norm” of being a woman.


Education also plays an important role because as Chicanos education is not often what many people try to aspire. This was clearly demonstrated within the film because Ana had the opportunity to go to college; however, because her mother manipulated her with so many things she did not see the possibility. She did not want to leave her family because she was so attached to them. Many of us as we get older we decide not to leave because we are so attached to our family. However, in the end she realizes that education is very important for someone especially people of color. The film really did a good job at demonstrating concepts from the film. I also liked how this film demonstrated a good concept of the struggles of being a CHICANA.

They don’t know who they’re dealing with!


The film La Bamba tells the story of the rise to stardom and sudden death of Ritchie Valens. Film centers on how Ritchie comes from a working poor dysfunctional family. As the story unfolds we see many archetypes in the movie that aim to reflect the truth about Chicano families. Connie, is the female that had to take on macho characteristics in the absence of a husband. We see Bob as the macho who is also a drunkard and in trouble with the law. We see Rosie as the mother who is dominated by her husband. Ritchie is bashed for not conforming to Chicano norms of aggressive masculinity.  In “Next of Kin” author Richard T. Rodriguez writes that while films like La Bamba appeal to the Chicano and Latino communities but that they are “governed by the necessity of ‘crossover’ appeal for a ‘broader audience’”.  Is demonstrated as Richie is forced to change his  name to Ritchie Valens in an attempt to sound more “professional” in my opinion it is an attempt to make his name sound less ethnic and therefore more palatable to the masses. Furthermore, these films continue to portray families that “evoke the stereotype that Chicano and Latino families are inherently ruled by patriarchy”.  This is demonstrated though the relationship between Bob and Rosie, Bob is the strong macho and Rosie is the submissive mother. I also argue that filmmakers have to appease the executives in charge of production by reinforcing the stereotypes, on this Rodriguez writes “as African American filmmaker Spike Lee puts it, ‘the gatekeepers-these are the people that decide what goes on television, what movies are made, what gets heard on the radio, what’s getting written in the magazines- I can tell you those are all exclusively white males’”. When that is taken into consideration I am not surprised that the film portrays Bob as an abusive alcoholic who is in trouble with the law. I am not surprised that Connie is the typical femme macho who plays both mom and dad for the boys and simultaneously keeps her femininity. I am not surprised that Rosie is the Chicana mother who does not need to be liberated and will raise another generation of Chicanos who will be considered dysfunctional. It is also important to note that the family portrayed in La Bamba is also symbolic of the “sacred institution in which gender roles are fixed in the name of tradition”. At the same time though the film reveals how Chicano films create “figurations of la familia that simultaneously ‘shoot back’ at the stereotypical portrayals”. In that sense we see that Ritchie is naturally talented and manages to rise to fame. We also see that Bob is capable of rehabilitation, we see Bob flourish and become successful in his own means. We too see Rosie gather the strength to stand up to Bob. My favorite part is where Connie yells out at the club manager who refused to let Ritchie play “They don’t know who they’re dealing with. My granddaddy was a full-blooded Yaqui Indian!” which is in my mind a perfect example of how Chicano films aim “to rescue the past from oblivion, to raise the historical sense, to instill a sense of longing for the whole Mexican heritage”.


Film Review-Real Women Have Curves- “Shooting the Patriarchy”


Upon watching the film Real Women Have Curves (Cardoso, 2002), I captured the interlocking systems of oppression (sexism and classism) that many Chicanas are subjected to in relation to the Chicana/o Family Structure and dominant society. The film cast characters that fulfill the stereotypical Chicana/o family structure with the Male at the center of “la familia,” and Chicanas relegated to domesticity and menial occupations, something that Rodriguez discusses when he touches on Hollywood’s portrayal of Chicana/os in films. However, in this film, the producer decided to show Anna, the youngest daughter of the two, challenging and “Shooting the Patriarchy” that Rodriguez talks about in his book Next of Kin: The Family in Chicano/a Cultural Politics. In short, Anna does not intend on fulfilling constructed traditional female gender roles that reinforce this idea of patriarchy. My film review will focus on three segments of the film that capture Chicanas multi-faceted challenges directly associated with sexism, classism, and sexuality.

The first segment of the film that I will focus on is sexism and female gender roles and expectations. The beginning of the film captures Anna’s mom lying in bed sick. Anna’s mom expects her to miss the last day of school because she needs to attend to her duties, which consist of “cooking breakfast for the males.” Because Anna is the daughter, a female, she is expected to take on the role of her mother. Here, we capture the sexist ideologies that relegate women to domesticity- a role that Chicanas/Mexicans are expected to take on in the Chicana/o family. However, Anna challenges the patriarchal sexist ideology and stands up to her mother. Here, the producer of the film captures the negotiation process that Chicanas go though when challenging traditional gender roles that reinforce patriarchy. In a typical Chicana/o/Mexicana/o family structure, young adolescent girls find it difficult to stand up to “la familia” so they reinforce the expected sociocultural values and traditions. But, not Anna, she reflects a strong willed Chicana who crosses borders stepping into territories that “la familia” would never expect.

The next segment of the film that I will focus on is Anna’s constant negotiation to survive her family’s class position. In the film, Anna is expected to “work” to help “la familia” instead of pursuing her college education. Anna works without pay, even realizing Bloomingdales exploitation of their labor. Here, Anna challenges the capitalistic structure of our society by confronting the people who contract their work. Anna, who is expected to be passive and docile due to her gender (female), takes agency, crossing borders that some Chicanas would never imagine crossing. She speaks up to a person in a position of power addressing the exploitation happening in the factory-something Chicanas are not expected to do. Her sister, Estella, on the other hand, plays the submissive role, something Chicanas are suppose to do, especially when it comes to challenging their bosses in the workplace. Anna’s heavy conscious does not allow her to ignore the injustices happening and seeks socioeconomic justice for the family and workers at the factory. Like Rodriguez, in Chapter 2 of Next of Kin: The Family in Chicano, Anna “Shoots the Patriarchy” challenging the classism, and the capitalistic nature of our society.

The last segment of the film that I focus on reveals Anna embracing the “brown body” and her sexuality, something Chicanas are forbidden to do. She takes agency over her life when it comes to her sexuality crossing borders that she is not suppose to. She challenges the sociocultural traditions and the notion that young Chicanas must be virgins until they marry. She even dates a White boy, something that is not widely accepted in Chicana/o families. So, we also the intersection of race that plays out in the film. But, in the midst of taking agency over her sexuality, her mother condemns her and calls her a “puta,” even slapping her across the face.

Through these different segments of the film, we capture the interlocking systems of oppression rooted in patriarchy that Anna encounters in relation to the Chicana/o family and dominant society. However, the filmmakers change the trajectory, and end the film with Anna putting herself first, not fulfilling stereotypical gender roles that she is expected to fulfill in the Chicana/o family structure. Anna aspires to pursue her college education at Columbia, one of the top universities in the nation, she does not let the patriarchal structure of “la famlia” and society dictate her destiny- she “Shoots the Patriarch”-Pow Pow, another Chicana off to college!!!!!!!!!

One thing I liked about the film is that it captures so many different layers of the Chicana experience, both the tradional aspects of what Chicanas are suppose to aspire to, and the more contemporary Chicana who challenges the gender expectations and patriarchy. It’s evident that the film industry has made progress, creating spaces for Chicana filmmakers (this film was created by women of color), something that wasn’t widely accepted when Noriega wrote his piece on “Imagined Borders: Locating Chicano Cinema in America/America.” In that chapter, Noriega maps out the origins of Chicano media, which definitely, in the beginning, was very gendered. We have made some progress, YAAAAAYYYYY- “Shoot the Patriarchy,” for the gazaliionth time LOL

la Bamba Film Review

La Bamba

The film La Bamba, is based on Ricardo Valenzuela also known as Ritchie Valens. The movie is about the uprisings of Ritchie and how he became famous. But the movie also showed how life was back in the 50’s. The film depicts, race, gender, social class and how that all tied in with Ritchie and other Chicano’s in the United States.

The film’s main characters were Ritchie Valens, Bob the brother, Rosie which is Bob’s girlfriend, Connie mother of Bob and Ritchie, and lastly Donna as Ritchie’s girlfriend. The family dynamic is the first thing I notice to be interesting, Ritchie and Connie both lived in a small farm and worked as agricultures. This is something we see often now, woman with children supporting themselves without the help or support of a man figure. From the start, this represented a gender role, Connie was not a stay at home mom, but she was the sole provider. Ritchie without the presence of his older brother, or father was the male role for his mom and his sister, he too worked hard along with his mom. Since Ritchie was the only male figure, he assumed the position of “the man figure” for his family. Many daughters and son, assume the role of mom or dad when a parent is absent. I related to Ritchie in that part of the movie, I have both parents, but at times I take the role of my parents for younger brother. This role of being one of oldest siblings, means you take responsibility when a parent is absent or can’t be there.

Class was a present factor in the movie. Ritchie and his family would be classified as working class. They worked and lived in a type of farm or ranch. And the Valenzuela family moves because Bob was able to afford a house in Pacoima for the family. Later in the movie we see Bob works for a garbage facility, also selling drugs that he gets from Tijuana. Not all Latinos have to sell drugs to make a living, so the movie showed the working class to be in need of money that Latinos would do anything to make more money. On the other hand we have Donna who lives in a very nice neighborhood, her mother seems to be a stay at home mom, and her dad is a car salesman. Class in the movie is either poor or comfortable. In Ritchie’s family, Connie and Bob work to support the family while Ritchie goes to school. But when Ritchie signs his contract with the record label, he buys his mom a house and he is also gifted with a car. The class status for the Valenzuela family changed drastically with the help of Ritchie’s career.

The issue with race was not so obvious, it was at times subtle but was still there. Donna’s dad assumes Ritchie was Italian, I don’t see why he thought that, but I assume it was because Ritchie was of a lighter but still tan complexion. When Ritchie signs for the label with Bob Keane, he assumes being Mexican is the reason he changes his songs while recording the music, which has nothing to tie in with him being Mexican. Bob also changed Ricardo’s name to Ritchie Valens because Ricardo Valenzuela was not going to “sell”. Bob Keane’s intentions with Ritchie never seemed malicious, but he tried changing Ritchie to becoming more Americanized, and less Chicano, it was going to sell more if people didn’t read the name Valenzuela.

A side note of the film that was interesting was Ritchie inability to speak Spanish. Ricardo Valenzuela is Mexican and Chicano, I assume him to be maybe 2nd or 3rd generation in the United States. Many non-Latinos, assume all Latinos/Chicanos can speak fluent Spanish, but it’s not the case for all. I enjoyed watching a Chicano film were not character spoke Spanish. Why you may ask? Because it’s a misinterpretation of Latinos, it’s a bad stereotype. And Ritchie was one of many Chicano’s who don’t understand the language, but it perfectly normal. Let’s end the stigma. Not all Latinos or Chicanos can speak write or talk Spanish, but we are still Latino’s. The film La Bamba was a very enjoyable Chicano film, and showed a real working Chicano family in the 50’s.

Quinceañera Movie Review


As a girl in a Latina/o or Chicana/o family, having a Quinceañera is every girls dream. For some it means the transition from “niña a mujer” (childhood to womanhood) while for others it is just a religious celebration. As a young Latinas or Chicanas we see some of our sisters, friends, and cousins in big bridal looking dresses with a tiaras. As a result, we dream to have one of our own. In the film, Quinceañera (2006) directors Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland illustrate the story of a young girl Mexican American named Magdalena who is waiting for her fifth-teen birthday to transition from child to women. Magdalena grows in a Mexican American religious family in Echo Park, California. The film demonstrates how the family structures of a Mexican American family are threatened when Magdalena becomes pregnant before her fifth-teen birthday celebration and even before being marriage. As a result, her father Ernesto a preacher at church is outraged and tells her how she brought shamed to her mother, family, and their Christian church because she committed a sin. Her father even blames Magdalena for getting pregnant for letting her be around her “friend” Herman. The character of Magdalena demonstrates how women many Latina/o or Chicana/o families are put in ashamed when their daughter gets pregnant at young age.

In most Latina/o or Chicana/o families are constructed with conservative ideologies. Fathers of Chicana/o and Latina/o families construct patriarchal structures that want their families to follow and to not worry for what other people are going to say. Parents set values and rules for their children to follow. However, Magdalena shows how family structures are broken when she challenges the norms and set of values her parents taught her. Like Magdalena’s family, her father is more concern of how she caused a sin and disrespected the family honor because she conceived a child with her Herman who leaves her and does not provide for her. With no support from her Herman and family Magdalena finds comfort in her Tio Tomas’s home. The also film discusses about another issues that challenges Chicana/o and Latina/o families when Magdalena moves in their Tio Tomas and cousin Carlos who also got kicked out of his house for being gay. Carlos who is portrayed as a masculine male as well caused shame and disgrace for his family especially for his father who kicked him out from sisters Quinceañera at the beginning of the film. Carlos situation discusses how in Chicano families identifying as “gay” or LGBTQ is against the families beliefs and values. Identifying as gay man challenge the family patriarchal structures of machismo. Parents mostly fathers want their sons to grow up be machos. For Carlos his father was at shame and was not accepted for being different.

The film Quinceañera both character Magdalena and Carlos breaks the frame of la familia perfect (the perfect family). Some Chicana/o’s or Latina/o’s families symbolize the nuclear family structures because they want to their families to follow traditional norms in a Chicana/o family. Magdalena’s character is seen as disrespectful to her parents for breaking the family rules of getting pregnant at a young age because in Chicana/o house holds the females in the family are set to follow the rules that their parents impose on them. Women who get pregnant at a young age are often criticized some people believe in the ideologies that they ruined their life for becoming young mothers especially when the father of the child does not support. The Quinceañera film portrays how family structures are composed by patriarchy, values, and beliefs. As a result, wives and children are expected to follow certain family norms and rules. However, the film demonstrates how families are sometimes threaten when they are face with situations that they do not accept or expect to happen in their family such as a young pregnancy or identifying as gay that can threaten family beliefs and values.