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7599 - Latinos on the American Screen: An Analysis of the Depiction of Female Immigrants and their Children

Transnational plots and intercultural characterizations have increased on American screens during the last 10 years. Taglines from successful Hollywood dramas like Crash (2004) and Babel (2006) – “You think you know who you are… You have no idea“ or “If You Want to be Understood...Listen” – make it very clear that viewers will be exposed to a few harsh lessons and will be invited to reflect upon questions of identity, culture, communication, prejudice and perceptions.

Despite of a rising awareness after the results of a 2001 study, which showed that Latinos were constantly misrepresented and the least likely positive role models in U.S. media, the majority of the Latino films still belong to the category of Crime and Action Drama and most of the Hispanic immigrants are drug dealers, killers and gang members.

In this paper I study several American Melting Pot Dramas, Multiculticomedies, Ethnobiopics, Shockumentaries and Mockumentaries, that draw the attention to female focal characters, children and family reunification. I show that similar film genres with an intercultural mission use similar narrative and cinematic techniques in order to raise empathy and understanding for their very sympathetic and hard-working female immigrants who very often fall victim to the harsh US-specific immigration context.

Keywords: Immigration, Latinos, Border, Film, Empathy

Author: Denzel de Tirado, Heidi (Georgia State University, Ud States of Am / USA)

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