The Balkanization of the Latino/Spanish DVD Section - Happy Hispanic Heritage Month!

Posted by Eric Brightwell, October 14, 2010 04:07pm | Post a Comment

Just in time for the end of Hispanic Heritage Month, we've divided up the Latino/Spanish DVD section into smaller subsections based on a film's country of origin. Now there are separate sections for Mexico, Spain, Argentina, Cuba, Chile and... the most popular, American Latino films. This follows similar moves in Asian Cinema, Foreign (mostly European) Cinema and African Cinema. Of course, the key objection here is that all the films are in the same language... which isn't true. Within its confines are films in Aranese,  Basque, Castilian, Catalan/Valencian, Caló/Pachuco, Chicano, English, Galician, Llanito, Nuyorican, Occitanian, Silbo Gomero, Spanglish, Tejano and combinations of several.

It also covers a lot of genres that reflect the cultural diversity of the Hispanosphere. In addition, fans of pretentious -- I mean arty -- Mouvement panique movies routinely got all bent out of shape having to sully their hands with lucha libre movies. Likewise, homies looking for cholo movies weren't usually to interested in the works of Pedro Almodovar. Not to mention you, the customers asked us to divide it... so there you go!

The Mexican section obviously scooped up but retained the CantinflasIndia MariaSanto, Tin Tan and Viruta and Capulina sections. The charro movies, the rancheras and the vaquero movies were absorbed into the greater Mexican section. As far as "Los Tres Gallos," Jorge Negrete and Pedro Infante still have their own subsections and Javier Solís continues (for whatever reason) to not.

The Spanish section acquired the Pedro Almodovar subsection. Otherwise, no surprises there.

The Argentine, Cuban and Chilean sections are too small to have subsections... and I'll be damned, but why isn't Memorias del Subdesarrollo on DVD yet?!

The most popular films in the former Spanish/Latino section are, with a few exceptions, all American Latino films. That's where you find titles like American MeBlood In, Blood Out, Boulevard Nights, La Bamba, Mi Vida Loca, ScarfaceSelena, Stand and Deliver and more. That section almost never happened. We have Asian-American and African-American sections but something about a Latino section was controversial. There are definitely well-meaning people (almost always white) whose heads are so twisted by PC that they're scared to recognize diversity. I understand their sensitivity but by that logic, a Gay section is homophobic, War and Action sections are pacifist, the Classic and Kids sections are ageist, and the Anime, Sci-Fi and Fantasy sections are nerdphobic! Talk about being through the looking glass!

There was also concern that it wasn't really a genre since it doesn't have a snappy name like Blaxploitation. I liked the ring of Brown Cinema but that didn't happen. But this is LA, carnal! You know, where one out of every two people is Latino, where 40% of the population speaks Spanish as a first language. I mean, I don't got offended that Ritmo Latino has an English section, you know? (I get more offended by Baja Fresh's insistence on blasting annoying Cuban music). So if you like the new set up, let us know! And if you can't find something, as always, holler at the info counter. Al rato, vato!

Eric Brightwell is an adventurer, essayist, rambler, explorer, cartographer, and guerrilla gardener who is always seeking paid writing, speaking, traveling, and art opportunities. He is not interested in generating advertorials, cranking out clickbait, or laboring away in a listicle mill “for exposure.”
Brightwell has written for Angels Walk LAAmoeblogBoom: A Journal of CaliforniadiaCRITICSHidden Los Angeles, and KCET Departures. His art has been featured by the American Institute of Architects, the Architecture & Design Museum, the Craft ContemporaryForm Follows FunctionLos Angeles County Store, the book SidewalkingSkid Row Housing Trust, and 1650 Gallery. Brightwell has been featured as subject in The Los Angeles TimesHuffington PostLos Angeles MagazineLAistCurbedLAEastsider LABoing BoingLos Angeles, I’m Yours, and on Notebook on Cities and Culture. He has been a guest speaker on KCRWWhich Way, LA?, at Emerson College, and the University of Southern California.
Brightwell is currently writing a book about Los Angeles and you can follow him on AmebaDuolingoFacebookGoodreadsInstagramMubiand Twitter.

Art Prints

Relevant Tags

Hispanic Heritage Month (34), Latino Cinema (7), Spanish Cinema (1), Mexican Cinema (3), Argentine Cinema (1), Cuban Cinema (1), Chilean Cinema (1), Latino/spanish Cinema (9)