The representation of Mexican immigration in film



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The history of Mexican immigration in the U.S. is long and complicated. Many of the complexities of the issue can be observed within different media such as televisions shows, news programs, newspapers, books, film and radio. This thesis will focus specifically on how Mexican immigration has been represented in film, particularly U.S. film, in the last three decades. It will conclude with a case study analysis of the production of Latino-made film on immigration, Clemente (2006). In order to understand the root of many of the issues of Mexican immigration and its representation in film, I will begin by offering an overview of the history of Mexican immigration to the U.S. from the 16th century to the present. I will then provide a textual analysis of nine immigration-themed feature films, examining how immigration has been represented in film within the past 30 years. The last section will present a case study of the making of Clemente and end with a textual analysis of it, paying special attention to the issues of gender representation and self-representation. This thesis will seek to answer these questions: How has the representation of Mexican immigration in film changed within the past 30 years? Does the self-representation of Latinos break with existing Latino stereotypes? What are some methods to counter these existing stereotypes?