November 5, 2008
From the Bookshelves: Border Bandits
Here is a new book that should be interesting: Border Bandits: Hollywood on the Southern Frontier By Camilla Fojas (DePaul). The southern frontier is one of the most emotionally charged zones in the United States, second only to its historical predecessor and partner, the western frontier. Though they span many genres, border films share common themes, trace the mood swings of public policy, and shape our cultural agenda. In this examination, Camilla Fojas studies how major Hollywood films exploit the border between Mexico and the United States to tell a story about U.S. dominance in the American hemisphere. She charts the shift from the mythos of the open western frontier to that of the embattled southern frontier by offering in-depth analyses of particular border films, from post-World War II Westerns to drug-trafficking films to contemporary Latino/a cinema, within their historical and political contexts. Fojas argues that Hollywood border films do important social work by offering a cinematic space through which viewers can manage traumatic and undesirable histories and ultimately reaffirm core "American" values. At the same time, these border narratives delineate opposing values and ideas. Latino border films offer a critical vantage onto these topics; they challenge the presumptions of U.S. nationalism and subsequent cultural attitudes about immigrants and immigration, and often critically reconstruct their Hollywood kin. By analyzing films such as Duel in the Sun, The Wild Bunch, El Norte, The Border, Traffic, and Brokeback Mountain, Fojas demands that we reexamine the powerful mythology of the Hollywood borderlands. This detailed scrutiny recognizes that these films are part of a national narrative comprised of many texts and symbols that create the myth of the United States as capital of the Americas.
November 5, 2008 | Permalink
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Someone should write a book about the Mexican drug kingpins and the recent rash of beheadings. We may need a new ground of inadmissiblity to cover this problem. The beheading fetish, while superficially related to the jihadist beheading thing, may actually have roots in human sacrifice and dismemberment rituals among the indigenous peoples of Mexico and Central America.
Posted by: Thomas Lillich | Nov 6, 2008 6:55:59 AM
She covers a lot of ground in 249 pages.
Here's a similar essay from an earlier book:
Posted by: Jack | Nov 6, 2008 10:27:09 PM