Based on the true life experiences of poet Jimmy Santiago Baca, the film focuses on half-brothers Paco and Cruz, and their bi-racial cousin Miklo. It opens in 1972, as the three are members...
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Paz de la Huerta,
Based on the true life experiences of poet Jimmy Santiago Baca, the film focuses on half-brothers Paco and Cruz, and their bi-racial cousin Miklo. It opens in 1972, as the three are members of an East L.A. gang known as the "Vatos Locos", and the story focuses on how a violent crime and the influence of narcotics alter their lives. Miklo is incarcerated and sent to San Quentin, where he makes a "home" for himself. Cruz becomes an exceptional artist, but a heroin addiction overcomes him with tragic results. Paco becomes a cop and an enemy to his "carnal", Miklo. Written by
I've seen this movie a couple of times and its got its good points and its bad. It's an interesting story, though generally, it perpetuates the "East L.A. gang member" stereotype. However, it also addresses something I haven't seen before in a movie of this type, and something that was perfectly illustrated (unintentionally) by some of the unfavorable reviews posted here. I'm referring to the character of Miklos, and how stereotypes within his own community about "what is Latin" contribute to the person he becomes. There have been a few reviewers here who feel that the character of Miklos was not believable as Latino, as he was "too" white looking. As I understand, that was exactly the point. He was always having to prove himself as 'more latin than thou' because of his fair skin. Somehow being 'more latin than thou' became akin to being a hardest of the hard gang member. I think that was the most compelling idea out of the movie because that sort of thing happens quite often. Many Latinos subscribe to the stereotype that "all latinos are a sort of medium brown". Forgetting that "Latino" is not a race. It refers to ethnicity. You can be of any race and still be Latino. Those who don't fit into the stereotype of appearance sometimes try to find another way to 'be more Latin', and become susceptible to other, more insidious stereotypes. I've known my fair share of blue eyed blond "Miklos" who felt compelled to prove their "Latin-ness" by being a thug. So despite what has to be a record usage of the word "ese", I found this movie a worthy viewing due to the addressing of this topic.
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