BAMcinématek to Present the Series '¡Sí Se Puede! Pioneers of Chicano Cinema'


BAMcinématek has announced the series "¡Sí, se puede! Chicano Cinema Pioneers" featuring some iconic films of the Chicano Movement that burgeoned in the 1960s that gave rise not only to a wave of Mexican-American political activism, but to an entire cultural renaissance that empowered Chicano artists to tell their own stories.

Emerging from the Chicano civil rights movement of the 1960s, and taking shape parallel to the LA Rebellion filmmaking of the same period, the Chicano filmmakers that emerged in the 1970s and 80s created brash, probing cinema about history, identity and struggle. This series brings together the work by this under-appreciated group of artists both in their independent, counter-cinema beginnings as well as their groundbreaking mainstream films in the ensuing decades.

The path-breaking filmmakers who emerged in the 1970s and 80s represented onscreen, for the first time, a community hitherto ignored—or misrepresented—by mainstream media. Defying the odds, these directors created a counter-cinema that spoke to the unique experiences of Chicano life. Their films are chronicles both of struggle—against racism, economic exploitation, police abuse—and of a vibrant culture's history and traditions.

The series features two feature films by Luis Valdez: Zoot Suit (1981) starring Edward James Olmos and La Bamba (1987) starring Lou Diamond Phillips; and three films by Gregory Nava: the Jennifer Lopez star-making Selena (1997), El Norte (1983), and Mi Familia (1995) starring Jimmy Smits.

The series also features two programs highlighting the work of female filmmakers Lourdes Portillo, After the Earthquake (1979) and CORPUS: A Home Movie for Selena (1999), and Sylvia Morales with Chicana (1979) and A Crushing Love (1995).

The series also includes: Roots of Blood (Treviño, 1978) screening with Agueda Martinez: Our People, Our Country (Vasquez, 1977), Please, Don’t Bury Me Alive! (Gutiérrez, 1976), The Devil Never Sleeps (Portillo, 1996), Cinco Vidas (Ruiz, 1972) screening with Yo Soy Chicano (Treviño, 1971), and a shorts program featuring I Am Joaquin (Valdez, 1969), Si se puede (Tejada-Flores, 1972), and La raza unida (Treviño, 1972).

"¡Sí, se puede! Chicano Cinema Pioneers" will take place March 16-22 in Brooklyn, New York.