April 4, 2008

"Under the Same Moon"

An excerpt from my latest movie review in The American Conservative (to figure out what the last line of the excerpt means, you'll just have to get the magazine):

The once-lively Mexican film industry stagnated after it was nationalized in the late 1950s, but revived in 1990s with the loosening of the government's velvet stranglehold on the arts. Last year, three art house films by Mexican directors, "Babel," "Pan's Labyrinth," and "Children of Men," garnered a total of 16 Oscar nominations.

Meanwhile, the number of Mexicans in the United States continues to soar, eliciting the interest of movie moguls hoping somehow to woo the enormous, but opaque, illegal immigrant market away from the Univision television network. (Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" was a huge hit among undocumented filmgoers, but Hollywood would rather not remember that missed opportunity.)

Expecting synergy, the Weinstein Company and Fox Searchlight paid $5 million at the 2007 Sundance film festival for "Under the Same Moon," a sentimental family film about an illegal immigrant mother in East LA and the little boy she left behind in Sonora. It was made by Patricia Riggen, daughter of a Guadalajara surgeon. (Part of its $2 million budget was provided by the Mexican government.)

Theorizing that "Under the Same Moon" could be, in the words of the old Saturday Night Live parody ad, both a floor wax and a dessert topping, the studios released it simultaneously in both downscale theaters in Latino neighborhoods and in upscale cinemas for Anglos who like socially conscious foreign films with subtitles.

Through inept planning, I managed to check out both prongs of its novel marketing strategy. By the time I arrived at The Plant in heavily Latino Van Nuys (the curious title of this power mall built on the site of an old Chevy factory commemorates the days when cars and planes, not just movies, were manufactured in the San Fernando Valley), the 9:40 pm Saturday night show had sold out.

So, I drove south to the cinephiles' latest venue, the Arclight on tony Ventura Blvd. for the 10:30 show, which turned out to be almost empty. Apparently, if the residents of the Hollywood Hills were really all that interested in hearing about the lives of illegal aliens, they wouldn't pay $12.75 to see "Under the Same Moon" at the Arclight, they'd just strike up a conversation with their servants. Judging from the film's maid's-eye view of Los Angeles's Anglo elite as stuck-up and cold-blooded, however, they aren't.

Not surprisingly, "Under the Same Moon" works better as a floor wax than as a dessert topping.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

11 comments:

Ross said...

"The once-lively Mexican film industry stagnated after it was nationalized in the late 1950s, but revived in 1990s with the loosening of the government's velvet stranglehold on the arts."

It's amazing how often when you notice that a country has been producing a lot of good films you later find out that they have recently reduced state support for film making. Brazil is in a similar boat to Mexico in this respect, with the slew of international hits in the last decade following a reduction in state support.

Mike said...

Hey Steve, here's an interesting article...

Boris says sorry over 'blacks have lower IQs' article in the Spectator.

That could be an interesting topic for your forthcoming VDare article...?

Yer know,... Boris' opponent, Ken Livingstone, is kinda like a Caucasian version of Al Sharpton - and his former henchman, Lee Jasper, is the Afro-British equivalent to Jesse Jackson.

Mike said...

The Spectator, to be fair, has published a few articles on biological differences:

Are Whites Cleverer Than Blacks? by Sean Thomas

Let’s not be dumb about stupidity by Michael Hanlon

Black is best by Rod Liddle

Don’t blame eugenics, blame politics by Terence Kealey

Anonymous said...

Maybe watching the trailer is all a "socially conscious foreign film watching" white person needs. I got a bit choked up watching it and I think we should build a fence.

Virtually every review I’ve seen includes a variation on the following…

Adrian Alonso could melt Lou Dobbs' heart, if he had one

Would Lou Dobbs get misty-eyed at it?

News talk show hosts Lou Dobbs and Sean Hannity should go on double date with Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh to see this.


Here's what WXRT's "Regular Guy" had to say...It's a heartbreaking story.

The movie is in both Spanish and English but mostly in Spanish, as well it should be.

You can read it. Don't worry about it. Trust me. By the end of this movie, you'll be wiping away a few tears from those eyes.

And it won't be because you've been reading for two hours but because the movie hits your heartstrings and might make you look differently, with a little more empathy for these folks.

HoraceGumdrop said...

Dessert toppings strike me as curiously before-the-flood. (It happened in like 1967, I think? Well, either that, or it was a insensible rising of the tides.) Or pre-feminism. You know, when jello-molds were the latest thing for Mrs. Stay At Home Mom. When We Were Different.

(Obviously I did not read this blog post too closely.)

steve wood said...

And it won't be because you've been reading for two hours but because the movie hits your heartstrings and might make you look differently, with a little more empathy for these folks.

That's why we'll never have mass deportation of illegals. Tighter border control, yes - or at least so one hopes. But the vast majority of illegal aliens in the US today are here to stay because because for the most part they're reasonably honest, individually decent poor folks trying to improve their families' lives. As a nation, we don't have the heart to throw them out in large numbers. Indeed, even trying to do so would provoke such a flood of (genuinely) heartbreaking stories in the media that we'd probably end up letting even more in!

Anonymous said...

The Mexicans who are loud, aggressive a-holes tend to be the ones who look like Arabs. Like Antonio Villaraigosa. The Mexicans who are more Indian tend to be more low key and inoffensive, like Bill Richardson (despite Anglo father and semi-Euro looks, he has a more Indian demeanor and personality type). Compare with Evo Morales, who has a completely Indian look and speaking style.

Whites seem to have real trouble distinguishing those looks, leading to lots of emotionally muddled thinking on the subject. Narrow face, round eyes, hairy face and body, tendency to wiry build = Arab. Wider face, less facial/body hair, almond eyes, stockier body = Indian.

Whites get very confused on the subject of Mexicans because there is an element of intra-white competition between Spanish and Anglo culture. Caught in the middle of all this are Indians and mixed bloods who have always been at the bottom of the totem pole in Spanish colonies. Whites need to clearly figure this out or remain confused and unable to respond appropriately to the changes in America.

The Indian peasants are welcome with me. They complement the white skill set. The Arab-Spaniards can assimilate or kiss off.

Compare the Jeremiah Wrights or Malcolm X's with the Thomas Sowells or Condoleeza Rice's for a similar dynamic in Afro Americans. It's the ones who are almost white who are most aggresively inclined toward whites.

Lurker said...

Anon said: "The Indian peasants are welcome with me. They complement the white skill set. The Arab-Spaniards can assimilate or kiss off.

Compare the Jeremiah Wrights or Malcolm X's with the Thomas Sowells or Condoleeza Rice's for a similar dynamic in Afro Americans. It's the ones who are almost white who are most aggresively inclined toward whites."

Great, how lucky we are to building a new caste system in these enlightened times. Good thing there are plenty of Indian immigrants around, maybe they will have a few handy tips on how to negotiate these arrangements.

Lets hope you don't turn out to be an untouchable eh anon!

Anonymous said...

Great, how lucky we are to building a new caste system in these enlightened times. Good thing there are plenty of Indian immigrants around, maybe they will have a few handy tips on how to negotiate these arrangements.

Isn't the whole point of this blog acknowledging racial differences? The difference is that some realists will say, "Let's kick out, dominate, or exterminate the non-white different races." Some people will say something new and different: why not think about building a just society where everyone has a place in harmony with their nature?

Right now America is built on holding onto the fruits of past appropriation (stealing) black and Indian and Mexican labor and land. Everyone is expected to meet some kind of "whiterpeople" norm regardless of natural talents or preferences. The small percentage of blacks who can function more or less like whites are brought up into the "white" collar classes. The rest are ignored and paid welfare to stay in urban containment zones (ghettos).

That has been economically feasible in the past. 85+% of whites could subsidize the 15-% of blacks to be as invisible as possible. But the demographics have changed, and that 85+% has become 50% in some states. That's the trend. 50% cannot subsidize 50%. Simple as that.

All that snickering about racial differences needs to give way to honest and just thinking on the same facts. Otherwise, this is just self indulgent race flaming a la the Reverend Jeremiah Wright.

Anonymous said...

The Rev Wright doesnt sound too happy about the coming caste system though does he, guess it all depends where you see yourself fitting in.

America's wealth is built on technology, science, trade, the application of intelligence etc. The use of other groups for cheap labor is all about squeezing extra profit out for the rich. Its not what makes the system actually workable.

Steve pointed out not long ago how the British in the late 1800s got themselves hung up with cheap labor. The theory is that some people must be poor so we all (counter-intuitively) can be rich. I take it then you are a cheerleader for mass unskilled immigration and would have been all for slavery once as well.

We dont hear much about non-whites appropiating the resources created by Europeans.

Why should India have a software industry at all? To all intents and purposes they did nothing to bring said industry into existence yet they are happy to make money out of it now. And I don't hear too much complaint about that.

Why dont we have black slaves anymore, partly because the morality of white Christians was against it and partly because the industrial revolution (which owes nothing to Indians, Mexicans or Blacks) made it non-viable. Funny how some people are always trying to get us back to that though.

Anonymous said...

"Why should India have a software industry at all? To all intents and purposes they did nothing to bring said industry into existence yet they are happy to make money out of it now. And I don't hear too much complaint about that."

That would be Indians using or appropriating intellectual property, not resources. But isn't India basically selling low end tech labor? Programming, tech support, etc. The concept innovation is Western based (Google etc).

Nobody wants a caste system, because our shared Western ideology does not endorse group identity except in the form of political states. What is needed is a workable economy.

The US and Europe have always been dependent on someone else's labor. The exception was a brief interlude in the USA, when Eastern and Southern European "Hunkies" and "Dagos" came en mass to the USA. Within just a few generations, they had organized to push out non-white labor competitors and get higher wages. But there were some special economic factors at play: the early labor organizations had a lot of internal upward mobility and resembled old European craft guilds. The automation of labor changed that dramatically around the time of the world wars, but World War Two fixed that glaring problem by destroying rival European economies. But that has been eroded, too, and white US labor is now feeling the squeeze from outsourcing and immigration.

I am against a caste or race spoils system. What we have now in the USA is a race spoils system that pays Blacks NOT to work, alongside a quickly growing expansion of Mexican labor. The lower end of white- and blue-collar White labor is getting angry because higher end whites are indifferent or favorable to Mexicans.

This problem is not going to go away. Not by kicking out Mexicans (far too many are here, that could foment open rebellion in SW states).

Some basic solutions are not too drastic. Reform education. Instead of blindly willing that every young kid can be turned into the next president or astronaut or even restaurant manager (and spending huge sums of money per kid doing this in public schools), give practical training. And this is all on a merit basis. If there is a little black kid who shows intellectual promise, by all means give them EXTRA help to move up according to their natural abilities. For the majority of black and brown kids who have no aspiration or aptitude to be a Clarence Thomas, give them training they need. Even for the kids who like to shoot guns with their homies, let them do that in the US Military.

Let's get a self-sufficient national economy going, and stop supporting a WORLD crypto-caste system where the brown and yellow countries manufacture everything and whiterpeople sit around in the US and Europe imagining we are oh-so "enlightened" and "globally conscious." That is base hypocrisy, and that is exactly the way the world is run today.

Let's organize a functional society in the US domestically, and train people properly and compensate them for their work.