Connect with us

AMERICAN ENTERTAINMENT

‘Roma’ Explored 1970s Mexico. Here’s How Issues in the Film Have Played Out

Published

on

Mexican filmmaker Alfonzo Cuarón’s “Roma,” a darling of the 2019 award season with 10 Academy Award nominations and two wins in the Golden Globes, is an intimate story of Cuarón’s childhood told through the eyes of an indigenous woman who works as a nanny to a middle-class family in Mexico City. The family drama also provides a gripping glimpse of Mexican society at the cusp of great social change in the early 1970s, a time of migration, urbanization and cultural transformation.

“The movie is to a great extent a story about modernization,” said Claudio Lomnitz, professor of anthropology at the Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures at Columbia University. “We see two rural girls come from Oaxaca who have moved to the city. They are indigenous and they speak Mixtec, but they also speak Spanish, they go to the movies, they have sex.”

Almost 50 years have passed from the time in which the movie is set. How does today’s Mexico compare with the Mexico of Cuarón’s childhood with regard to the more disturbing social issues it portrays, like violence and social inequality? NBC spoke to four researchers on Mexico from the fields of history, sociology and anthropology.

More Violence After the Drug War Begins
“Mexico is a country that hurts,” said Maria Amalia Gracia, sociologist at the Department of Society and Culture of Colegio de la Frontera del Sur, a research center located on the southern border of Mexico. For Gracia, violence in Mexico today has reached unimaginable levels. “It is surprising that people can continue to live in those conditions,” she said.

2019 Oscar Nominations: Best Picture

[NATL] 2019 Oscar Nominations: Best Picture

The Corpus Christi Massacre of 1971 is the backdrop to a frightening scene in “Roma,” the moment when the film’s pregnant protagonist, Cleo, discovers that the father of her child is part of a government paramilitary group.

The massacre and the paramilitaries in the film represented the dominant form of violence of the day: centrally directed repressive violence, known as “The Dirty War” that took place under the orders of the presidency and the Ministry of Interior. It was a war that the country’s authoritarian one-party regime was fighting, indiscriminately, against two enemies: a growing urban middle class demanding democratization, and a left-wing student movement featuring guerrilla groups, Lomnitz said.

“Mexico is a much freer country today, but it is also a much more violent country,” Lomnitz said. The new violence is “less heroic, less easy to romanticize.”

It is no longer about struggles for justice or freedom, against a repressive society and regime. The now prevalent drug-related spike in violence has its roots in 2006, the year Mexico’s Drug War formally began.

Between the early 1970s and the eve of the Drug War, violence in Mexico had decreased significantly, Lomnitz said. In 2007, homicide rates (9.3 per 100,000 people) were not much higher than in the United States (5.7 per 100,000). But by 2018, they reached 25 per 100,000. At the beginning of the Drug War, the government’s official take was that the death toll was to a large extent, a result of organizations killing each other off in turf wars. But recent studies by Mexico’s Center for Research and Teaching in Economics (CIDE) suggest that Mexico’s military and federal police have executed a substantial proportion of the 150,000 Drug War-related killings

“Much of the violence today also comes from local governments, which are often in the control of criminal organizations,” Lomnitz said. The Iguala Massacre of 2014, where 43 students from a rural teachers’ college were taken and disappeared, is an example of this new type of violence, as is the fact that during the 2018 federal elections, more than 100 local candidates were assassinated.

“The closing of the U.S.-Mexican border is an untold part of this story,” Lomnitz said. As moving across the border became more difficult in the 1990s, the firepower and discipline of organized crime trafficking with Colombian cocaine grew. It triggered an increase in the concentration of criminal money, wealth and violence. More recently, powerful Chinese criminal organizations have partnered with Mexican ones to produce methamphetamine in Mexico, destined for the North American market. This development is furthering the concentration of violent criminal power.

Tensions Over Land Dampened by Modernization
Conflicts over land come up various times in “Roma.” The government takes away land belonging to Cleo’s mother. A man sitting in a bar has lost a family member due to a land dispute. A family of landowners exhibits on its farmhouse wall, the stuffed head of a pet dog that had been poisoned during another land dispute. And the New Year’s party being held by that same family is eerily interrupted by arson in the surrounding woods.

“Low-scale agrarian violence is very old in Mexico,” Lomnitz said, adding that it goes back to colonial times. And after the land reforms of the 1920s and 1930s, when the countryside was made up of small scale farmers, conflicts sprung up between towns, between smallholders, and between smallholders and larger landowners.

Conflict over land began to recede in the 1980s due to an increasing migration to the city, which led to fewer land disputes in the countryside. “Roma” shows the beginning of this migration. Cleo visits, in search of her baby’s father, a shantytown located just outside of Mexico City limits that was beginning to be occupied by squatters, migrants from the countryside. Today, this place, known as Ciudad Nezahualcóyotl with a population of 1.1 million, is the 10th largest city in Mexico.

A Continuing Racial Divide
Yalitza Aparicio, the first indigenous woman to be Oscar-nominated for best leading actress, plays Cleo, the servant of a white family. She is treated with affection and care, but the difference in social status is enforced at all times, in both explicit and subtle ways. For example, while cuddling with the family in front of the TV, she is abruptly ordered to fetch tea for “the doctor.”

“She is very lucky,” said Kevin Terraciano, professor of history and director of the Latin American Institute at UCLA. Indigenous servant women are not always treated well.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Rigoberta Menchu has spoken of how vulnerable she felt living with a family as a young woman. Sexual advances and mistreatment is an underlying possibility.

“In the last 10 years, there has been increased awareness of the problems faced by domestic workers,” Gracia said, “but racism and behaviors underscoring inequality continue to exist. Results of our most recent research on domestic workers are eloquent on the problems of discrimination and abuse.”

Some progress has been made at the legislative level in recognizing the rights of the indigenous population. Laws protecting the right to their languages and culture, and to self-empowerment have been enacted since the turn of the century. A rebellion of indigenous people in the 1990s, known as the Zapatista rebellion, in which paramilitary death squads massacred indigenous people, marked the beginning of increased awareness. Since then, indigenous communities have also made progress in “the creation of autonomous communities, which give them more direct representation over their land and resources,” Terraciano said. But it is still common to see indigenous women working as servants. And the indigenous populations remain extremely poor.

“Here in Mexico being indigenous gives you a particular social status. There is a marginalization, a social discrimination that we Mexicans know by the social norms and social codes with which we are educated,” said Jesus Ruvalcaba, a researcher at the Center for Research and Higher Studies in Social Anthropology (CIESAS) in Mexico City. “There has been some progress, but not much.”

Being “indio” in Mexico continues to be a stigma. And the indigenous people feel it and know it, Terraciano said. “After independence from Spain, the leaders of the new nation saw these traditional cultures as obstacles.” Since then, governments have used laws and force to dissolve native communities and mainstream indigenous peoples. “Today, leaders continue to speak of the ‘Indian problem.'” 

Source link

قالب وردپرس

AMERICAN ENTERTAINMENT

‘Empire’ Actor Jussie Smollett Pled Guilty To DUI, Providing False Information To Law Enforcement in 2007

Published

on

By

As the police investigation into the alleged attack against “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett continues, it was revealed Tuesday that in 2007 Smollett pleaded no contest to DUI, driving without a license and providing false information to law enforcement, the L.A. City Attorney’s office confirmed to NBC News.

Smollett, now 36, was sentenced to two years probation and a choice of a fine or jail in the 2007 case, an LA City Attorney’s spokesman told NBC News.

The case is coming to light as Chicago Police investigate whether Smollett made up a story about being the victim of a racially, motivated hate crime. Chicago Police have requested LAPD provide them information about the 2007 arrest, according to multiple law enforcement sources familiar the investigation.

Chicago Police officials say they have shifted their focus from a hate crime investigation to one of filing a false report.

Chanel Visionary Karl Lagerfeld Dies at 85

[NATL] Chanel Visionary Karl Lagerfeld Dies at 85

At this point Chicago police have said Smollett is neither considered a victim nor a suspect and are waiting to hear from him.

Police sources tell NBC News that the LAPD made the initial arrest. The case was handled by prosecutors with the LA City Attorney’s office in the Van Nuys branch.

On Tuesday Chicago police were investigating a tip that on the night Smollett reported being attacked by two masked men he was in an elevator of his apartment building with two brothers later arrested and released from custody in the probe.

Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi says the person who lives in the building or was visiting someone there reported seeing the three together the night last month that Smollett says two masked men hurled racial and homophobic slurs at him, beat him and looped a rope around his neck.

Guglielmi says police haven’t confirmed the person’s account. Detectives plan to interview the person on Tuesday.

Source link

قالب وردپرس

Continue Reading

AMERICAN ENTERTAINMENT

‘I Can No Longer Sit Silent’: Kim Kardashian West Slams Knock-Off Clothing Websites

Published

on

By

Kim Kardashian West took to Twitter to call out websites that advertise knock-off versions of the outfits she wears.

“Only two days ago, I was privileged enough to wear a one-of-a-kind vintage Mugler dress and in less than 24 hours it was knocked off and thrown up on a site,” Kardashian West wrote. “But it’s not for sale. You have to sign up for a waitlist because the dress hasn’t even been made to sell yet.”

The 38-year-old entrepreneur and reality star said she could “no longer sit silent” as companies create reject versions of her husband Kayne West’s Yeezy clothing brand and the designs she flaunts at public events.

Kardashian West said these websites often deceive people into signing up for their mailing lists by making it seem like she has partnered with them when she has not.

“So, as always, don’t believe everything you read and see online,” Kardashian West warned her followers. “I don’t have any relationships with these sites. I’m not leaking my looks to anyone, and I don’t support what these companies are doing.”

Source link

قالب وردپرس

Continue Reading

AMERICAN ENTERTAINMENT

Goodbye Madea: Tyler Perry Says ‘Family Funeral’ Right Time to Walk Away From Signature Role

Published

on

By

Get your hankies out America… and get ready to say goodbye to everyone’s favorite foul-mouthed, wisecracking grandma.

After 11 plays and 12 films that have grossed $496 million and counting, Tyler Perry is putting Madea out to pasture following the forthcoming “A Madea Family Funeral.”

Perry, who’s acting roles also include parts in 2014’s Ben Affleck thriller “Gone Girl” and the current Oscar-nominated “Vice” where he plays Colin Powell opposite Christian Bale, admits to being a bit nostalgic about walking away from his signature character, but believes it’s the right time.

“I’m so, so grateful for everything Madea has brought to my life, but, you know, I’m turning 50 and I certainly don’t want to be her age playing her,” he says. “I feel she’s had a great run and I’m full of gratitude for it.”

Perry believes Madea has etched out a place in cinematic history that, much like the character, might not be entirely expected but has meant a lot to audiences. “I think lots of people found a voice through Madea and the thing that makes me happiest is that Madea has given people some really good, fun times and given entire families a way to laugh together,” he says.

“A Madea Family Funeral” hits theaters Feb. 28.

Source link

قالب وردپرس

Continue Reading

Upcoming African-Caribbean Events

May
4
Sat
2019
1:30 am 1st Annual JouvertRadio Caribbea... @ In The Maryland Area
1st Annual JouvertRadio Caribbea... @ In The Maryland Area
May 4 @ 1:30 am – 8:15 pm
1st Annual JouvertRadio Caribbean Cookoff @ In The Maryland Area
#EATCARIBBEAN J’Ou,VertRadio’s 1st ANNUAL CARIBBEAN COOK OFF!! ONLY CARIBBEAN DISHES The Caribbean Cook off is a celebration and a contest of the DMV’s number one consumed food. The most talented chefs, mom & pop cooks[...]

Trending