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Chicano Film Study: Zoot Suit - Essay Example

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Name Institution Course Instructor Date Chicano Film Study: Zoot Suit This film by Luis Valdez explores cultural identity and exposes injustices perpetuated against Chicanos. Main characters of the film comprise of Hank Reyna and Pachuco. The two are central characters who reverse the negative position of Chicano gang member in dominant discourse…
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Chicano Film Study: Zoot Suit
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Download file to see previous pages In this film, Chicano movement chooses a new Chicano subjects who can advocate their claim for cultural heritage in United States. Mexican-Americans had been under cultural oppression for a long time in United States. The new subjects were to play a very critical role as activists whose principal role was to promote the rights of Mexican-Americans in United States. Chicanos wanted to maintain their cultural practices such as poetry, artistic paintings, and activities, which identified with their way of living. This community was at the verge establishing its identity amidst the resisting forces of dominant American culture. Mexican-American perceived that failure to set up strong cultural foundation posed a danger of homogenization and assimilation into the American culture. This attempt by Chicano community sought to unite and shun away forces that threatened their recognition and existence. It is a declaration of the war against discrimination and Mexican-Americans are ready to fight to prove and protect their identity. The formation of new Chicanos is a new energy to fight against prejudices, which the dominant tribes perpetuated against the minority groups living in United States2. The images of Pinto (ex-convict) and Pachuco (street youth) depict the picture of victims of social injustice. Although they are intellectuals, the dominant culture in United States has marginalized and maligned the people from Chicano community. The images demonstrate strong men who have suffered the wrath of discrimination. The mode of dressing of Pachuco in groin clothes signifies a warrior who is prepared to fight the ills of dominant culture. The picture of ex-convict and street youth is a portrayal that the two have joined forces to claim identity of Chicano culture3. Zoot Suit film opposes assimilation of Chicano community to the dominant American culture. Mexican-Americans have formed organization of radicals to resist the dominant American culture from exerting dominance over the Chicano culture. The community wants American to grant its legal rights and social freedoms like the American counterparts. This is in view of the fact that stereotypes existed between Chicano and American cultures. On top of this, the efforts of Chicano to claim cultural identity stemed from the fact that Mexican-Americans confronted complex institutional problems. Pachuca in this film represents a woman who is in expensive evening dress. Pachucas have defied gender stereotypes by wearing men’s style pants. On top of this, they appear publicly with their boy friends. These female figures signify that the time has come to leave behind the forces that subjected and repressed female rights and freedoms. The film depicts that females are in state of silence because of male chauvinism. However, this has changed after the females realize that they have rights to claim for their space and freedom in Chicano community4. Louis Valdez use Brechtian techniques in Zoot Suit movie. The film concentrates more on the interior conversation between main actors, Henry Reyna and Pachuco. Pachuco addresses the audience of this film as the narrator. This technique helps Valdez to explore historical events and social injustices of the Sleepy Lagoon murder trial and Zoot Suit riots. The use of theoretical, mythical images and ritual techniques offers a clear image of importance of cinema in displaying violent stereotypes in ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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