Based on the true life experiences of poet Jimmy Santiago Baca, the film focuses on step-brothers Paco and Cruz, and their bi-racial cousin Miklo. It opens in 1972, as the three are members... See full summary »
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Michael T. Weiss,
Growing up in the Mission district of San Francisco, Che Rivera (Benjamin Bratt) has always had to be tough to survive. He's a powerful man respected throughout the Mission barrio for his masculinity and his strength, as well as for his hobby building beautiful lowrider cars. A reformed inmate and recovering alcoholic, Che has worked hard to redeem his life and do right by his pride and joy: his only son, Jes, whom he has raised on his own after the death of his wife. Che's path to redemption is tested, however, when he discovers Jes is gay. To survive his neighborhood, Che has always lived with his fists. To survive as a complete man, he'll have to embrace a side of himself he's never shown.Written by
Talisa Soto who plays Ana and Benjamin Bratt who plays Che are married in real life. They met on the set of Blood In Blood where Rene played by Jesse Borrego stars alongside Benjamin Bratt. See more »
The memorial in Che's garage indicates his wife died in 1985. The banners in the graduation scene read "La Mission High School Class of 2009". Since it is very clear Jes was a model student, it is doubtful he would be graduating high school at the age of 24 or higher. See more »
Hey, yo! Can we dance with yo dates?
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Uncompromising and Realistic Portrait of Latino Life in San Francisco
This underrated movie provides an insider's view of the colorful San Francisco's neighborhood known as the "Mission" - a predominantly Latino enclave in San Francisco. Inspired by real characters, it does not present the usual clichés of the ethnic minority drama by avoiding the romanticizing of this environment; it skews the typical down home ethnic wisdom favored by liberal Hollywood and does not become another histrionic sordid ghetto thriller/soap opera.
Supported by an excellent cast, Benjamin Bratt gives an astonishing performance as an intolerant bus driver, a single father who cannot accept his adolescent only son's homosexuality despite the love and pride he feels for him. The violent machismo that have shaped his life is perpetuated by the next generation of disenfranchised youth who prey La Mission.
The neighborhood is presented as an insular world almost anachronistic in 21st century San Francisco. Working class middle age men turn old cars into souped-up low-riding monsters and make fun of soy lattes and recycling, feathered Aztec dancers fill the streets with color and sound as neighbors try to maintain a sense of heritage with their indigenous past, families place flowers and pray where their children have been slain.
The movie transcends its family drama genre allowing the story to evolve at its own pace with a feeling of authenticity and honesty prevailing in every scene. Without providing easy solutions, it centers on a character whose contradictions reflect the world he inhabits. Highly recommended.
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