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BreadAnd Roses
ReleaseDate: 2001

E b e r tR a t i n g * * * t / z

By Roger Ebert Jun 1,2001

lf you work in a buildingwithjanitors,how muchdo they get paid?ls it enoughto decentlysupporta
family?Haveyou givenany thoughtto the question? haven't.
                                                    |       Ken Loach's"Breadand Roses,"  a
drama abouta janitorial  strikein Los Angeles,mademe think.lt suggests that the peoplewho
manage   yourbuilding thejanitors little theypossibly
                       pay             as    as             can,and passthe savings to your
                                                                                      on
employers.                     In
            Hereis a statistic: 1982,union  janitors LosAngeles
                                                   in            were paid$8.50an hour,In
1999,non-union    janitorswere paid$5.75.Do theyhavea health  plan?Don'tmakeme laugh.

Underthe trickle-down  theory, the bossmakesmillions thejanitor
                              if                         and         makes$5.75,in the longrun
we all benefit.How does thls work in practice? simpleillustration suffice.
                                               A                will      When both parents
have to moonlight underpaid
                    in         jobs, that givestheirchildren opportunity get in troubleon the
                                                            an         to
streets,leading arrests,
                to        convictions and millions dollarspumpedintothe economythroughthe
                                                  of
construction new prisonsand salaries theirguards.Rightnow Americahas a largerpercentage
             of                         for
of its population prisonthan any otherWesternnation,but that is not good enough.
                 in
"Bread
       and Roses"tellsits storythrough eyesof Maya(PilarPadilla), illegal
                                       the                             an       immigrantnewly
arrived Los Angeles. sisterRosa(Elpidia
       in             Her                             getsher a job in a sleazybar,but Mayais a
                                              Carrillo)
good girlanddoesn't it "l wantto workwithyou cleaning offices."
                   like                                   the          Rosagets Mayahiredin a
high-rise,whereshe hasto kickbackher firstmonth's  salary.MayameetsSam (Adrien      Brody),
                                                                                          an
organizer thejanitors'
          for          union,                                    in
                              who is trying signup theworkers the building.
                                           to

For someof my readers, key words in the previous
                       the                        paragraph "illegalimmigrant."
                                                             are               Why, they
            should
are thinking,     sucha  person havea job in America all,let alonecomplain
                                                     at                  aboutthe low
wages?This attitude admirable its idealism, overlooks fact that the economydependson
                   is          in            but          the
workers who willacceptsubstandard wages.The manwho hiresMayacertainly   knowsshe is illegal.
That man'sboss,as theysay,"knowsbut doesn't   know." The manabovehim doesn'tknowand
doesn't care-he's             in
                 onlyinterested deliveringjanitorial       to         management the
                                                  services the building            at
lowestpossibleprice.

lf the janitorswere paida decentwage plus healthbenefits,      therewouldbe no shortage American
                                                                                           of
citizens take the1obs, it is better
         to                 so          thisway,especially   sincethe illegal workers haveno rights and
are easilyintimidated. the Mexicanborderwere sealed,LosAngeleswould be a citywithout
                         lf
janitors, gardeners,  carwashes    and maids.And in Michigan, wouldpickthe fruit?
                                                                who                      Sam the
organizer  encourages   Mayaand her friends organize the unionwithinthe building--secretly,
                                              to           for                                      of
course.                                           "We
         Rosa,the sister, not so enthusiastic: couldall loseourjobs,and thenwho wouldpay
                             is
the bills?" Thereis a juicyscenewherethe striking     janitorsinvade house-warming a big
                                                                     the                 of
Hollywood    agency  thathasjust takenoffices the building. the starclients
                                               in              Do                knowtheiragents   are
exploiting workers?
           the             (Credithereto Ron Perlman    and otheractorswho play recognizable   extras.)
Sam is playedby Brodyas a complex       character, filledwithangerbut alsowitha streak zanystreet
                                                                                          of
comedian.                   in
             He'strapped the middle     because union's
                                                 the                  like           are
                                                             bosses, all bosses, basically
establishment.   Whenhis bossargues     thata strike mightcostthe uniontoo muchmoney,        Sam snaps
back:"No more$40 million givethe Democrats."
                                to                     Sam and Mayaare drawnto eachother,      and
                                                                           to
there is a shy littlelovescene,but Ken Loachis not the kindof director confusehis real storywith
the love story;he knowsthat no matterwhat happensbetween          Sam and Maya,the janitorsare still
underpaid the strike stilldangerous.
            and              is             Thatsamestubborn      integrity prevents fromgiving
                                                                                   him             the
moviea conventional                                                 "PearlHarbor," wouldhave
                                                                                   it
                        happyending.   Justthink.lf he had directed                              ended
sadly.
 Loach,from Britain, leftwing but realistic.
                      is                     The bestscenein "Breadand Roses"arguesagainst
 Sam, Maya and the union.lt is a searingspeechby Rosa,delivered Carrillo
                                                                    by       with such forceand
 shamingtruththat it couldnot have been deniedthe Oscar-ifthe academyvoters in theirwell-
 cleanedbuildings   ever saw movieslike this. RosaslicesthroughMaya'sidealism  with hard truths,
 tellingher sisterthat she workedas a prostitute pay for Maya'seducation,
                                                to                        and indeedsleptwith
 the supervisor get Rosa herjob. "l've beenwhoringall my life,and I'm tired,"she says. Now she
                to
 has a sick husbandand kidsto feed, and they take priorityover the unionand the college-boy
 organizer.

The moreyou thinkaboutit, the more this movie'sendinghas a kind of nobility it. Loach,who has
                                                                            to
                                                    "My
alwaysmade filmsaboutthe workingclass("Riff-Raff," Name ls Joe,""Ladybird,        Ladybird"),is
too honestto believein easy solutions.
                                     Will the unionget its contract?Will Maya and Sam live happily
ever after?Will the national
                           minimumwage ever be a livingwage?Will this moviechangeanything,
or this reviewmakeyou want to see it? No, probablynot. But when you come in tomorrowmorning,
someonewill haveemptiedyour wastebasket.

Cast & Credits

Maya:PilarPadilla
Sam:Adrien  Brody
Rosa: ElpidiaCarrillo
Perez-.
      George Lopez
Ruben: AlonsoChavez
Simona: MonicaRivas

Lions Gate FilmsPresents Film DirectedBy Ken Loach.WrittenBy Paul Laverty.RunningTime:
                        A
106 Minutes. RatedR (ForStrongLanguageAnd  BriefNudity). EnglishAnd
                                                        In           Spanrsh With English
And Spanish Subtitles.

c o p y r i g h t2 0 0 5 , r o g e r e b e r t . c o m
F I L M R E V I E W S e v n i . LB a r t o n


C o m i n gC l e a n

FILM: Breadand Roses
DIRECTOR:  Ken Loach
STARRING:  AdrienBrodyand PilarPadilla
GRADE:A-

One of the most aggressively         filmmakers work in world
                             political          at
cinema,British directorKen Loachhas beenmakingmovieswith
a keen socialconscience  since his debutwith 1967'sPoorCow.
His outstanding body of work has included suchpictures Riff-
                                                      as
Raff and the award-winning Land  and Freedom- his current
                                               In
work, Breadand Roses,Loachshiftsfocusfrom the struggles  of
the European  workingclassto the plightof contemporary
Americanimmigrants. mixtureof El Norteand NormaRae,
                     A
Breadand Rosesis a memorable,     affectingwork.

Written by Paul Laverty,Bread and Roses is the story of a pretty
and bracingly spunkyyoungLatinanamedMaya(PilarPadilla)
who crossesthe borderfrom Mexicoto livewith the Los Angeles
                                         Eventually,
familyof her sisterRosa (ElpidiaCarrillo).          Maya
landsa job alongside Rosaat a janitorialcompany  thatcleans
the officeseach nightin a huge L.A.skyscraper'

Maya'sexperience, course,standsfor that of so many people
                       of
in her circumstances. is illegal
                         She                             to
                                     and thusvulnerable those
                                            "l                and
who are strangers pity.Mayapromises, willworkhard,"
                      to
she'sas  goodas herword.But herjob paysmilium        wage and
comeswith no benefits any kind,no healthinsurance, paid
                          of                              no
vacation  days,no sick leaveaccrual.   And if that'snot bad
enough,   Perez(George     Lopez), janitorial
                                  the           bossin her building,
is a modern-day     SimonLegree.  He agrees hireMayaonly
                                             to
afternegotiating kickback her firstmonth'ssalary.In his
                    a         of
relations all his employees,
          to                     Perezis routinelyabusive,
occasionally   firingsomeonefor a minorinfraction as to
                                                    so
terrorize othersinto meek compliance.
          the                                Maya is not so easily
manipulated her co-workers,
               as                 however,  and she responds  to
the recruiting  invitations a unionorganizer
                           of                  namedSam (Adrien
Brody).  Eventually, convinces
                       she          manyof herjanitorial
colleagues join in an organizing
             to                     effort.

Here Loachand Lavertynicelyexaminethe competing
motivations thoseMaya and Sam needto convince they are
             of                                       if
to achieve decent
            a       wage and the kindsof minimal   benefits most
Americans   takefor granted.Mostof the employees Hispanic,
                                                   are
but otherethnicgroupsare represented well' A Russian
                                        as
womanis afraid joining unionbecause
                of       a                 she believes  theyare
corruptand won't reallyrepresent interests thosethey are
                                 the          of
supposed serve. handsome
           to       A           youngman namedRuben
(Alonso Chavez)  has beenasstduously    saving moneyto
                                              his
qualify a university
       for            scholarship              a
                                  that requires 2O-percent
match.Shouldhe go on strikeor be firedfor unionactivity,   his
dreams  couldgo up in smoke.Saddest all,Maya's
                                        of           sisterRosa
is simplydefeated.  RosatellsMayain denouncing union,
                                                  the
"Wejust haveto recognize   and acceptthat they are stronger
thanwe are."

Thefilmmakers nicelv
            also    concedethatthe unionis not a
solution all the problemsthat thesepeopleface,thatthe union
         to
itselfis made up of entirelyfalliblehumanbeings.In fact,Sam's
unionsuperiors  think he is wastinghis time tryingto organize
                                                            the
workers Maya'sbuilding.
         in

Throughout, picturesustainsan important
               the                              tensionconcerning
Sam'sbehavior.     He'san Angloplyinghis tradein a largely
Hispanic   world.He'sirresponsible times.
                                    at       And his showboating,
confrontational  style remainsa debatable,  arguably counter-
productive   strategy. key questionpersists
                      A                      aboutwhat Sam will
do if the unionbossespullthe plug.WillSam protect own  his
income,or will he stand besidethosehe has encouraged risk  to
what littlethey have? ln short,the unionpreaches idealism
                                                   an
that it doesn't,perhapscan't,practice  withoutqualifications. To
survive, must succeed.And in that pragmatic
          it                                                   it
                                                 determination is
different less in kind than in degreefrom the forcesit wouldstrive
to topple.

Ken Loachhas alwayshad to work with smallbudgetsand often
with unknownand little{rained  actors.The resultin Breadand
Rosesis the occasionally clunkyscenewhen the playersare
simplynot up to the demandsof their roles.But such moments
are few and limitedto those in minor parts.The principals all
                                                         are
terrific.
        The decisionto includea romantic  connection between
Sam and Mayais a mistake                diminishes,
                            that actually           ratherthan
heightens, narrativetensionin that it makesthe storyfeel more
conventional stagey.
             and

On the whole,though, almostalways
                     as              with Loach'swork,
Breadand Rosesis a film of powerand insight. personliving
                                            A
on miliumwage,one man pointsout, spends              of
                                          three-fourths
what he earnson rent.As anyonewho has evertraveled  abroad
knowsfrom first-handexperience,Americais such a richcountry,
we disgraceourselvesby not affording thosein our midsta
                                    all
real chancefor a decentlife.
                                              Tonrato OliveCil
                                    FireRoasted      &
                        nrcurally..lnd;lrrlficli lly llavored



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                                                                "BreadandRoses"
                                                                'l'he
                                                                     problcrn  vr'ith           half'-Spzrnish.
                                                                                     Kcn l-oach's                        flhn
                                                                                                             hall-Fjnglish
                                                                isn'tthe lefiy politics. thatthe Brit ltnor'r's
                                                                                       it's                  nothingaboutLos
                                                                Angeles.


                                                                By Andrew O'Hehir

                                                )une 7,2001 | For Ken Loach,the veteran     Englishleftistwho
                                                is in someways the ultimateanti-Hollywood     director, make
                                                                                                        to
a movie aboutthe strikingLatino janitorsof Los Angelesis an act of admirable    bravado. I only wish it wasn't
such a patchy affair.Loach'sbestll'ork is his semidocumentary   explorationof the desperate fringesof the
                                              "BreadandRoses"is almostentirelyunspecific, blank screen
                                                                                               a             on
British workingclass, the Los Angelesof
                      but
which he canprojecta predictable  dramaof class           It's           to
                                                  struggle. ridiculous suggest     that a fbreignercan't"get"
L.A., since"Sunset  Boulevard"and "Chinatown"                                      but
                                                  rvereboth directed Europeans, Loach,for all his hard
                                                                     by
work and boundless   goodintentions,doesn't  havethe remotest  f-eeling the place.
                                                                      for

                                                                      "the otherN'likeLcigh." andas unfairas the
BeforeI hadseen    *, "rLoach's movieshe was described me as to
comparison    may be on a numberof levels,to Americanviewersit's still likely to seemappropriate.   Both have
their roots in documentary-style British TV drama,and both are    avowedleftistswho gaineda reputation   for
exploringthe underside British life in the Margaret
                         of                              Thatcher                               on
                                                                 years.But u'hile Leigh focused bittersweet
                                                                            "Secrets Lies"),Loach's
portraitsof sub-bourgeois   family life (like "Life Is Sweet"and,of course,          and               world in
fllms like "Riff-Raff," "RainingStones"     and "Ladybird,l,adybird" was the world of crapjobs andtheir absence,
of the grasping  poverlythat'sa half-step   abovedesperation.

Loach'slastfilm, "N11' Naunc .loe staningPeterMullan as a Glasgowalcoholicstruggling rebuildhis life,
                             Is    ,"                                                      to
was brutal and riveting drama,perhaps bestwork of his entirecareer.But throughoutthat career,
                                        the                                                      Loach's
left-wing,anti-imperialistpolitics-- which I admire,                        --
                                                    with certainreservations haveoccasionally  luredhim
                                      "Land and Freedom," long-awaited
                                                          his             Spanish Civil War saga,was
into the doldrums didacticdrama.
                  of
                                                       "Carla's Song,"with its peculiarseguefrom Scotlandto
somehowlessmemorable      thanit shouldhavebeen,and
the Sandinistarevolution, was an uneasy   work, sometimes               sometimes
                                                          bitterlyetched,          treaclyand sentimental.

"BreadandRoses"is clearlya laborof love for everybody
                                                    concerned, no doubtits rarvmaterial a gold
                                                             and                      is
mine of stories: livesof the immigrantworkers,
               the                                                         clean
                                                  oftenundocumented,'uvho the oflce buildings        of
                            powerbrokers.
L.A.'s entertainment-industry              Thereis alsono question  that Hispaniclife in Americais
drastically               on-screen
           underrepresented         (unless                            but
                                             you count,Lennit'elLoplz), after its dynamite  first 10
minutes, "BreadandRoses"  isn'tmuch morethancanned     political-organizingdrama,"NormaRae"with a little
                                                             "El
norteflomusic.(For an immigrationdrama, the far superior Norte"; as a portraitof LatinoEastL.A., see
                                         try
                        "Mi Vida Loca.")
the modestbut appealing

We start with a bangas Maya (PilarPadilla), spirited
                                          a                                                     the
                                                    youngwomanfrom rural Mexico, is fenied across
borderby vicious "coyotes,"or smugglers,   and must escape   from the one who kidnapsher as a sex slave.
Maya finds her beleaguered    sister,Rosa(Elpidia Canillo), who getsher a job working for thejanitorial
companymanaged the loathsomePerez(GeorgeLopez).Then shemeetsSam (Adrien Brody), the young
                   by
white activisttrying to rally the unorganizedjanitors the union cause,
                                                    to                  and most of her spirit seems leach
                                                                                                    to
away into the movie's plodding forrnula.

When her hunky co-worker Luis (FrankieDavila), himself a paragonof virtue who is savingto go to law school
(it's unclearwhetherhe intendsto go to collegefirst), quite plausiblysuggests
                                                                            that Maya is mainly interestedin
the labor strugglebecause she'ssweeton Sam,shedeniesit. "l'm doing this for the 40 million peoplewho have
no health insurance the richest country in the world!" shepronounces.
                   in                                                   Oh.

As that examplesuggests,  Paul Laverty'sscreenplay frequentlybalky, unidiomatic and ladenwith clichds,
                                                     is
whether in Spanish, English or the territory in between.Thereare a coupleof nicely compactscenes showing
exactly what membersof the janitorial staff do when they rvork, alwaysa fascinationof Loach'sand an invisible
arenain most American movies; and the core group of Latin, Caribbean  and EasternEuropeanactors(mostly
nonprofessionals) undeniablyappealing.
                 is

But we get few glimpsesof their home lives or idiosyncrasies, with the lone exceptionof Rosa,an embittered,
weather-beaten   beauty(wonderfully played by Canillo) and the only one among them who doessomething
selfish and apparentlyevil. The explosivescenervhenRosafinally tells Maya why shehas betrayed own  her
sisterand her co-workersalmost redeems   this halting,stutteringmovie, and lends its ending an unexpected
sting. What it really suggests that Loach and Laverfy,on their American adventure,
                             is                                                       have chosenthe wrong
story and the wrong centralcharacter.



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                  R e p r o d u c t i oo f m a t e r i a lf r o m a n y S a l o np a g e sw i t h o u tw r i t t e np e r m i s s i o ns s t r i c t l yp r o h i b i t e d
                                       n                                                                                              i
                                                                       C o p y r i g h2 0 0 5S a l o n . c o m
                                                                                      t

                                               S a l o n ,2 2 4 t h S t r e e t ,1 6 t h F l o o r , a n F r a n c i s c o , A 9 4 1 0 3
                                                                                                   S                     C
                                                                         4
                                                        T e l e o h o n e 1 5 6 4 5 - 9 2 0 0| F a x 4 1 5 6 4 5 - 9 2 0 4
     our
Beyond Ken
Film of the Month: Bread and Roses




Ken Loach's latest film is his first set in Los Angeles, but this
expos6 of labour relations in the City of Dreams is no Hollywood
sell out, argues Peter Matthews

                                                                                         g
B r e a da n d R o s e sc a n ' t b e c a l l e do n e o f K e n L o a c h ' s r e a t e s tw o r k s ,b u t
t h e f a c t i s t h a t v i r t u a l l yn o o t h e r d i r e c t o rw o u l d t h i n k o f a t t e m p t i n ga f i l m
                                                          jd
a b o u tt h e p l i g h to f n o n - u n i o n i s e a n i t o r s n L o sA n g e l e sW h i l et h i s m a y
                                                                        i                           .
                                                                                  j
n o t s o u n dl i k e a t e r r i f i ci n d u c e m e n f o r p o p c o r n u n k i e s ,t h e k e e n s e n s e
                                                               t
o f m o r a l r e s p o n s i b i l i tiy f o r m i n gt h e p r o d u c t i o n a k e sm o s t c u r r e n t
                                          n                                       m
c i n e m al o o k f a t u o u s l y e l f - a b s o r b e b y c o m p a r i s o nI.n a c a r e e rs p a n n i n g
                                       s                         d
m o r e t h a n t h r e e d e c a d e s o a c hh a s n e v e r b u d g e df r o m h i s r a d i c a l
                                             L
                                                                                                 w
p r i n c i p l e sd e s c r i b i n gh e e v e r y d a yt r u t h o f t h e m a r g i n a l i t h f e w
                   ,                 t
c o n c e s s i o nts p o l i t i c ao r a e s t h e t i c a s h i o n .H i s s h e e rd o g g e d n e s is
                      o                    l                  f                                                    s
o f t e n t a k e n f o r a s p e c i e s f n a i v e t y- a s i f h e w e r e a M a r x i s tc o u n t r y
                                             o
b u m p k i nw h o s es e n t i m e n t a ld d i c t i o no t h e p r o l e t a r i a to n s i g n e h i m t o
                                                 a                 t                           c                 d
t h e a s h - h e a p f h i s t o r y .Y e t i n a p e r i o do f s t y l i s t i c s t e n t a t i o nL o a c h ' s
                       o                                                               o                   ,
m o d e s tt r a n s p a r e n c o f m e a n s i s s a l u t a r y .
                                      y

T h e r e ' s o m e t h i n g e r y B r i t i s h b o u ta f i l m - m a k e w h o t u r n sp a r o c h i a l i s m
              s                  v                  a                                 r
i n t o a s t r e n g t h ,k n o w i n gh i s a r t d e p e n d s o r i t s f o r c eo n a s o d d e n
                                                                       f
                                                                          (                                           i
f a m i l i a r i t y i t h t h o s ed o m e s t i ci n s t i t u t i o n s s u c ha s t h e s o c i a ls e r v i c e sn
                     w
L a d y b i r d a d y b i r d , 1 9 9 4 ) h a t c i r c u m s c r i b t h e l i v e so f o r d i n a r yp e o p l e .A
                 L                        t                                 e
                                                                                                 p
L o a c hf i l m s t a k e si t s c l a i mt o a u t h e n t i c i t y n t h e c o n c r e t e a r t i c u l a r s f
                                                                         o                                          o
c l a s s ,r e g i o na n d ( t o t h e d e s p a i ro f h i s f o r e i g nd i s t r i b u t o r sd i a l e c t- w h i c h
                                                                                                   )
                                                                                        h
i s w h y t h e i d e a o f h i m s e t t i n gu p s h o p i n H o l l y w o o d a s a l w a y ss e e m e d
an a t h e m a .

I t w o u l d b e e a s y t o b l a m et h e i n a d e q u a c i eo f B r e a da n d R o s e so n t h e
                                                                         s
                                                                                                             a
d i r e c t o r ' s a s h d e c i s i o no f o r s a k eh i s n a t i v es o u r c e s f i n s p i r a t i o n n d
                   r                    t                                             o
t e s t h i m s e l fi n a n e n v i r o n m e nfto r w h i c h h e w a s m e n t a l l yu n p r e p a r e d .
E v e nt h e m o s t h o n o u r a b l ei l m a r t i s t ss u f f e ra t t a c k so f h u b r i s .T h e l a s t
                                            f
                                                                                                    S
t i m e f o r K e n L o a c hw a s i n t h e d i s c o n c e r t i n g ls c h i z o i d a r l a ' s o n g
                                                                            y           C
( 1 9 9 6 ) , w h i c h c o n n e c t e d i t h r e a l i t ys o l o n g a s i t k e p t t o t h e s t r a i g h ta n d
                                          w
 B u t i f L o a c hf e e l ss p i r i t u a l l y i s p o s s e s s eid T i n s e lT o w n ,t h e n s o d o t h e
                                                 d                     n
               i
M e x i c a n l l e g a li m m i g r a n t sw h o s e s t o r y h e t e l l s .I t ' s h e r e t h a t t h e p r o s a i c
                                                                                 -
l o o k o f t h e m o v i e b e t r a y sa n e t h i c a ld i m e n s i o n L o a c hd e n i e su s a
touristic spectaclethe charactersthemselveshave scant leisureto enjoy.
I n s t e a dh e s t i c k st o t h e i m m e d i a t ev i c i n i t yo f t h e s t e e la n d g l a s st o w e r
w h e r e t h e j a n i t o r sw o r k , f r a m i n gt h e m s i m p l y i n a n o n y m o u s i n d o w sa n d
                                                                                                     w
corridors.It may not even matter that one can't alwayssay where the
                         '
p r o t a g o n i s t sa l i e n a t i o n n d s a n d t h e d i r e c t o r ' s e g i n s .A s u p p o s e d l y
                                         e                                       b
c o m i c a le p i s o d e n w h i c h t h e e x p l o i t e dc a s u a l s n v a d ea s w a n k H o l l y w o o d
                             i                                                 i
party with their vacuum cleanersis so poorly staged it suggestsLoach
h a s n e v e rb e e n w i t h i n m i l e s o f s u c h a n e v e n t , B u t t h e s t i f f , u n c o n v i n c i n g
q u a l i t yo f t h e s e q u e n c e l s o r e v e a l ss o m e t h i n g- f o r i t e f f e c t i v e l y e n u d e s
                                         a                                                                  d
t h e s h o w - b i z y p e s o f c o n v e n t i o n ag l a m o u ra n d m i m i c st h e i r s q u i r m i n g
                       t                                     l
                             t
e m b a r r a s s m e na t t h e s o c i a lc o n t r a d i c t i o ns t a r i n gt h e m i n t h e f a c e .

T h r o u g h o u t h e r e a r e s i m i l a rs m a l l v i c t o r i e s f t r a n s f i g u r e d w k w a r d n e s s .
                                                                          o                        a
A n e l d e r l yc l e a n e r ' s t r i c k e ne x p r e s s i o n h e n s h e ' sp e r e m p t o r i l yi r e d f o r
                                 s                                w                                        f
b e i n g l a t e a p p e a r s o s p r i n ga s m u c h f r o m a n o n - p r o f e s s i o n a c t o r ' s
                               t                                                                         l
d i s c o m f o r t s f r o m h e r c h a r a c t e r ' s i s f o r t u n e Y e t t h i s f l e e t i n gm o m e n t
                   a                                      m                  .
                                                                               -
d e l i v e r st h e s h o c ko f r e a l i t yc a u g h t r e d - h a n d e d w h i c h i s t o s a y t h a t
L o a c hr e m a i n ss t e a d f a s t n h i s c o m m i t m e n tt o b l u r r i n gt h e b o u n d a r i e s
                                          i
b e t w e e nd o c u m e n t a r v n d f i c t i o n .
                                      a

T h e f i l m ' ss p a r t a nm i s e e n s c d n ei s l a r g e l yc o - o r d i n a t e d i t h t h e c l e a n e r s '
                                                                                             w
d u l l b l u e u n i f o r m s- m u s t e r i n ga p i c t o r i a l l o u r i s ho r t w o o n l y a f t e r t h e y ' v e
                                                                    f
s w i t c h e d o r e d J u s t i c e - f o r - J a n i t oTs s h i r t s .O n e e D i cs h o t o f t h e n e w
                 t                                         r-
m i l i t a n t sc r o s s i n g b r i d g ee n m a s s ee v o k e s2 0 s S o v i e tc i n e m a ,a n d t h e
                               a
s t e a l a p p e a r sd e l i b e r a t e L i k e L a n d a n d F r e e d o m( 1 9 9 5 ) a n d s o m e e a r l i e r
                                           .
films Loachmade for television(The Big Flame, 7969; Days of Hope,
L 9 7 5 ) , B r e a da n d R o s e sc o m e s n e a r t o r e a l i s i n g h e E i s e n s t e i n i ain e a lo f
                                                                                  t                            d
a c o l l e c t i v e e r o .T h o u g ht h e c l a s ss t r u g g l ei n t h i s c a s er e m a i n so n t h e
                     h
m o l e c u l a r e v e l( a s i n R i f f - R a f f 1 9 9 1 ) ,t h e c h a r a c t e r s r e b a s i c a l l y
                   l                               ,                                     a
e m b l e m s f d i s s e n r a t h e rt h a n i n d i v i d u a lis t h e i ro w n r i g h t .T h e
                 o               t                                       n
i m m i g r a n tw o r k e r ss p o r t a n o n y m o u sl i v e r y ,w h i l e t h e i r c o r p o r a t e a s t e r s
                                                                                                            m
a r e p o r t r a y e da s s o m a n y h e a d l e s s u i t s a n d s h u f f l i n g h o e s .
                                                           s                              s

L o a c hc o u l d h a r d l yb e m o r e g r a p h i ci n a n n o u n c i n g m e t h o db a s e do n
                                                                                      a
g r o u p d i a l e c t i c s n d s o c i a lt y p a g e .T h e r e ' sa g e s t u r a lh e r o i n ei n t h e s h a p e
                              a
o f f e i s t y M a y a ( P i l a rP a d i l l a ) b u t s h e ' sa L a t i ns p i t f i r es t r a i g h to u t o f
                                                   ,
                                                                                                               .
c e n t r a lc a s t i n g h o s es o l e n a r r a t i v ef u n c t i o ni s t o b e p o l i t i c i s e dL o a c h
                            w
a n d s c r e e n w r i t eP a u lL a v e r t ya r e s o u n e q u i v o c a l lo n t h e j a n i t o r s 's i d e
                                r                                                       y
t h e y ' r e w i l l i n gt o f o r e g oa d e g r e eo f m o r a l s u b t l e t y . i m e a n d a g a i n ,o n e
                                                                                        T
f e e l sa m b i g u i t i e s a v e b e e n q u a s h e di n t h e i n t e r e s to f a c l e a r
                               h
r e v o l u t i o n a r y a l e sp i t c h . F o r a b r i e f s e a s o ni t l o o k sa s i f S a m ( A d r i e n
                          s
B r o d y ) , h e e a g e rl a b o u ro r g a n i s ew h o h a z a r d s u m a nl i v e sa t l i t t l e
              t                                             r                     h
                l
p e r s o n a r i s k , w i l l b e a s c r i b e d p a i r o f c l u m p i n gc l a y f e e t . B u t t h a t w o u l d
                                                     a
                                  p
c o m p l i c a t e o a c h ' s r o l e t a r i a n e r o - w o r s h i ps o a n y l i n g e r i n g u s p i c i o n
                     L                                h                      ,                           s
getstransferred n to the higher-ups represented y one of his typically
                              o                                 (                     b
c a u t i o u s n d s e l f - s e e k i n g n i o no f f i c i a l s ) .
                a                            u
                                                                                                                           -l




l u s t a b o u t t h e o n l y t i m e t h e m o v i e p l u m b sm u r k i e rd e p t h si s i n t h e
e m o t i o n a l l y v e r p o w e r i n g c e n ew h e r e M a y a ' s i s t e rR o s a( E l p i d i a
                       o                    s                                 s
                e             w
C a r r i l l o ) x p l a i n s h y s h e f i n k e do n t h e a c t i v i s t s o m a n a g e m e na n d
                                                                                t                          t
p o u r s f o r t h h e r s c a l d i n g e s e n t m e n t f t h e w h o l ef a m i l y .S u d d e n l y o u ' r e
                                        r                   o                                                y
                                y
t o r n a p a r t b e c a u s e o u r e c o g n i s eh a t e v e r y o n e a s t h e i r r e a s o n s F o r a
                                                       t                        h                            .
f e w p r e c i o u s o m e n t s ,L o a c ha c h i e v e s h e s a m e q u a l i t yo f n a k e d
                        m                                       t
observationhe sustainedin his 1998 masterpiece Name fs Joe (and                   My
                            r                                                                                   r
o n e i s s i m i l a r l y e m i n d e dt h a t r e a l i s mc a n ' t a l w a y sb e d i s t i n g u i s h efd o m
m e l o d r a m a ) O t h e r w i s eB r e a da n d R o s e ss h o u l dd o m u c h t o p l a c a t e
                         .               ,
                                                                                                     -
t h o s e c r i t i c sw h o h a v e c h a r g e dt h e d i r e c t o rw i t h m i s e r a b i l i s m t h e r e a r e
e v e n d o l l o p s f s p r i g h t l ye t h n i cm u s i ct o
                        o                                         p u n c t u a t e h e j a n i t o r s 'm e r r i e r
                                                                                   t
                o                         t
a s s a u l t s n t h e c a p i t a l i s o r d e r .Y e t a n u p b e a tK e n L o a c hi s n ' t n e c e s s a r i l y
                                                                                                       s
w h a t w e w a n t . F o r a g a i n s tt h e f a c i l es o l u t i o n s o w o r k i n g - c l a sd e c l i n e
                                                                            t
proposedby the likes of Eilly Elliot or The Full Monty, Loach'sbest work
                                                 n
d a r e s t o s p e a ka n e v e r l a s t i n g a y .
 http://rvu'r,v.caleudarlive.conr/rnuvies/r'cv                      j
                                     ier,i l-rnovic0l I 0-3.0.-5 768 .story
                                        s/c         05        02

 MOVIE REVIEW


 Breadand Roses
The Political Is Personalin tBread and Rosest
By KEVIN THOMAS
TIMES STAFFWRITER

M a v1 0 . 2 0 0 1


FridayMay I1,2001

     It is somehowappropriate     that "Bread and Roses,"a film depictingthe struggleof predominantlyLatino
 Los Angelesjanitors to form a union, was directedby a foreigner.After all, *ho ir beiterequippedio make
 sucha film than England's    Ken Loach,who hasspenthis entiredistinguished          careermakingsocial,
 economicand politicalissues      personal and involvingratherthanpreachy?
     Indeed,that this is Loach'sfirst film madein the U.S.--but     outside mainstream
                                                                            the             Hollywoodindustry,to
 be sure--is  undeniably plus,heightening
                          a                    Loach'sidentification  with his largelyimmigrantcharacters.
     "Breadand
                  Roses" beginsin a rushofjagged images a groupof peoplehasten
                                                              as                           througha thicketof
 foliage to crossa remotespot along the borderbetweenMexico and the U.S. Trvo men swiftly herd the
 illegal immigrants  into a van, depositing   them in a spotin dor.vntown Angeles,
                                                                           Los            wherefriendsand
relativeseagerlyar,vait   them.
     Among the groupis Maya (Pilar Padilla,a terrif-rc    nervcomer), youngwomanwho is dismayed
                                                                        a                                 thatthe
men won't release to her older sisterRosa(ElpidiaCanillo), who hasbeenunableto meetthe full price
                     her
of Maya'sjourney.
     One of the men wins Maya in a tossof the coin lvith his partner,     preparing rapeher in a seedy
                                                                                     to
downtownhotel room. But Maya demonstrates           right olf the luck and pluck that will serveher well when she
escapes makesher way to Rosa'shome on the edgeof downtorvnand Rosagetsher a job working as a
           and
cleanerin a high-rise   wheresheworks.
     Maya is as eagerto proveherselfas sheis appalled the working conditions.
                                                           at                           Her sisterandher new co-
rvorkerslive in terror of their boss,Perez(GeorgeLopez),as villainous and tyrannicalas a sweatshop          bossat
the turn of the last century.The workers are underpaidand haveno insurance job security.Perezfires
                                                                                    or
peopleon a whim, with older workersespecially         vulnerable.  Many are clearlyundocumented,    mosthave
families eitherhereor southof the border (or both) and thereforehavetoo much to lose to darestandup to
the abusiveness Perez, employee a largeagency janitorialworkers.
                  of         an            of                 for
     Consequently,  r.vhen labor organizer-lawyer   Sam Shapiro(Adrien Brody) manages eludethe security
                                                                                             to
guards,with an unhesitating     thoughpuzzledassistfrom Maya, he doesnot elicit enthusiasm        fiom her co-
workers when he finally manages give them his spiel.They understandably they haveeverythingto
                                      to                                             feel
loseand cannotbelievethey havea chance lvinning.Maya,however, just naiveand idealistic
                                                at                            is                        enoughto
respond his message, sheshares
           to              and             with him a fearless,  evenreckless   spirit.
    Fver so gradually,the tr.voof them are ableto get their co-workersto stagea demonstration        boldly
orchestrated Sam to embarrass high-profile law firm that hasa 50o/o
               by                     the                                        ownershipof the high-rise.
                                                                                                                  I

     written by Paul Laverty with broad--sometimes    almosttoo broad--strokes melodrama
 "Breadand                                                                     of              and comedy,
              Roses"is imaginativelyplotted to intertwinethe personaland
                                                                           the political and is well sustained
by Loach'svitality and passion.Theie'smuch that Maya doein't
                                                                 know aboutdoru, who hasa husband         (Jack
McGee) increasinglyendangered diabetes withtut insurance
                                      by        but                  and two children.The film buildsto an
unexpected    and stunningmoment of truth between sisters,
                                                     the       which revealsCarrillo, a notablepr.rln.. io
"Salvador"
              and "The Border,"as a formidable  actress,
    It's perfectly naturalthat the sweet-natured,gangly Samand the earthy Mayawould be drawn to each
  -
other,just as Maya and Ruben (Alonso chavezi,u i*dro-.        co-workerwith a law schoolscholarship
almostwithin reach,would be mutually attracted.     The strength this vibrant, stirring film is that it doesn,t
                                                                of
get sidetracked trying to encompass love story,and fuihermore
                  by                      a                           daresto end on-anote that is decidedly
bittersweet.
    "Bread
            and Roses"hits home when o:reof Maya'sco-workersobserves,       "v/hen
                                                                                    we put on uniforms,we
become    invisible."It's a truth as uncomfortable it i, undeniable.
                                                 u,


Bread and Roses,2001.R, for stronglanguage brief nudity.A
                                         and                              Lions GateFilms release.
                                                                                                 DirectorKen
                                              p.oducer            s"r""npruy paulLavefi.
                                                    yl.i+ ielsberg.        by
:l:*"t::::f:"1""t:*l
cinematographer Ackrovd.
                  Ba.ry   ^o,":l:';l*e"util,"
                        Editor
                             Jonathan
                                   Morris.         p"nto.iioiilffi
                                         MusicGeoige                                              iJrlrliJ;
                                                                                               Martin
Johnson'  Runningtime: I hour, 50 minutes.Pilar Padillaas Maya. Adiien Brody
                                                                             as Sam shapiro.Elpidia
Carrillo as Rosa' GeorgeLopezas Perez.Alonso Chavezas     Ruben.Jack McGee as Bert.
                    lf you want otherstories thistopic,searchthe Archives latimes.com/archives.
                                            on                          at
                                                 filSReprinrs
                                        Article licensingand reprint options




                                        Copyright
                                                2007 LosAngelesTimes
                                                                                                                                                                                               C L I C KT

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                                                                                                                                                                                  D
                                                                                                                                                                                  j.',-   'a




FeatureslColumnslBlogslNewslMusiclFilmlTvlDVDslBookslComicslMuttimedialEventslpopComixl
a b o u t c o n t r i b u t o r s s u b m i s s i o n s b o o k i m p r i n t a d v e r t i s i n g c o n t e s t s P o p s h o p M e d i aC e n t e r
          C A L L F O R P A P E R S :P o p M a t t e r s s e e k s f e a t u r e e s s a y s a b o u t a n y a s p e c t o f p o p u l a r c u l t u r e , p r e s e n t o r p a s t .


                                            Bread and Roses
                                            Director: Ken Loach
                                            C a s t : P i l a r P a d i l l a , d r i e n B r o d y , E l p i d i aC a r i l l o ,G e o r g e L o p e z
                                                                              A
                                            {Lions Gate Films, 2000) Rated: R
                                             b y J o n a t h a nB e e b e
                                                          ' . e - m a i t h i sa r t i c l e
                                                                          l
                                              iFF]
                                                          : . p r i n tt h i sa r t i c l e
                                                          : , c o m m e no n t h i sa r t i c l e
                                                                               t


                                            Foreign Voices

                                            What I love most irbout Ken Loach's
                                            films are the voices he gives us. It's
                                            rare to hear in his fihls the stanclard
                                            Itritish acccnt rve get in rnost British
                                            productions- Loacrh one of the ferv         is
                                            f i l r n r n a k c r s( a l o n g i v i t h M i k e L e i g h )
                                            u'ho actually gets his charactersspcaking eccurately,in language;'ou rnight hear in
                                            the real r'r'orlcl.             Since nrost of his protagonistscome from the rvorking-classin Britain
                                            ancl Ireland, the:irirccentsare cornpletcll.foreign to rne, anything but the genteel
                                            voices I grerv trp hearing in Martl Poppins ancll,currertce oJ'Arobia. If you'r'enot
                                            seen a tilm b1' Ken Loach, ttt' to retneurberDavid Niven's or Nec Guinness'svoice
                                            r n r l l l t r ' n i r t l t g i n . 't l t t 'e x a tt o p p r , s i 1 1 ' .

                                           'I.hesc
                                                                                                to
                                                      accentsare imlir.rt'tant l,oirch'stilurs bccauseher's                                     nrost concernecl           lvith
                                           portraf ing rvorking class lives in as realistic a \\'Avas possibir:.With films like
                                           I'achybirdLculybird anclMy i/arttc is .Ioe,hc's trf ing to make r,isibleand audible an
                                           ttntlcrclassall too <iftenignore:ditt movies. Consequentll,', American rieu.er like                 an
                                           me sees-- ancl hears -- in his flhns sclmethingI'r'e not been exposecl befclre.                                      to               This is
                                           rvhy I r'r'as       eager to see Loiich's new film, set on u.S. soil. I r,vanted                                 hirn to sho.rv        me
                                           s o r n e t h i t ' t g b o t t t r n 1 ' c o u u t n 't h a t I r v a s n ' ta c c u s t o m e d o h e a r i n ga n c ls e e i n g . n
                                                                 a                                                                          t                                  I
                                                                                           j
                                           R r c u d o t t r l R o . s e sh c c l o e su s t t h a t , a l t h o r r g hi n a w ' a vt h a t I h a c ln o t a n t i c i p a t e d .
                                                                               .

                                           -l'irc
                                                 filnr centers on a \oung Mcxican, Nlaya (Pilar Padilla), ivho illegally crossesthe
                                           borcler into Sotrthern Califblnia iu order to be u'ith her sister, Rosa (ElpicliaCarillo),
                                           rvho had come overl'ears befort:.NIa.1 stlugglcs to fincl ."vorlirvithotrt official papers,
                                                                                   a
                                           ancl flnds herself maniprrlatcd anclexploited in job after job. Rosa eventually finds
                                           Maya a regular position at the cleaning cornpany'ivhereshe n'orks, although it cornes
                                           at the price of a full month's salarf'.Soon Sam (r\drien Brody), a representativeof the
                                           ttrganizationJustice for,lanitors, shou,sup, trying to cclnvincethe workers to
                                           tunionize,ancl it's through this stnrggle that r,ve
                                                                                             see May,acome to political awareness.

                                           In manl'rvavs, llt'cczcl               orrri Rosesis not very diffcrcnt flcim Loach's British films,
                                           conc'erncdl'ith t'epresenting                          the n orliing classancl the social institutions that sen'e
                                           thetn so inadequately.lVhat I llncl nrost interesting about the lihn, though, ollce
                                           a g a i n g o e sb a c k t o v o i c e .I n B r i t a i n , a c c e n tm a p s o n t o s o c i a l c l a s si n a m u c h m o r e
                                           systerrratic        rvay than it cloesin the States.(This is what drives My Fair Ladg,tor
                                           i n s t a n c e ,r v i t h E l i z a D o o l i t t l c c o n t i n u o r i s l l ' r e p e a t i n g",' f h e r a i n i n S p a i n f a l l s m a i n l y
                                           on thc plain," as a rvityof advancingsocial class.)
                                                     In the States,accent also has meaning, but in a dift'erent lvay. It is not as closelytied
                                                     to ideas of classas much as it is to geographicalregion, race, and ethnicity ancl,even
  Mr. & Mrs. Smith --,t                              among these categories,                      different voicesmean different things. In the firsi caseof
  Includes deleted
          3         scenes,                          geographicalregion, an accentis less investedrvith vnlue. This is not to say that
  castcommentary more.
                  &                                  regional acceut never-has                      anything to say about class,especiallyas the accelt gets
  Ordernow!                                          thickcr. (In Silenceof the Lombs,fol instanc'e,                                   Clarice Starling continrrouslytrics t<r
  www.foxstore.com
                                                     s h e d h e r s o r r t h ( ' r ' nr ' r r n gi n o r d c r t o h i d e t h e i r r c tt h r r t s h e g r t , r vu p o n a [ r r m . )
                                                                                       t

                                                    It's lvhen w'eget to voicesthat cocle(accordingto cufrent stereotl'pes)as non-rvhite
 K n o c k e dU p - J u n e l s t                   that classcomes tnuch tnore readily into the rnix. And so, when Ken Loach deciclecl
 The Next Comedy         from                       to turn his gazeon the U.S., I think it mahes a lot <-if
                                                                                                           sensethat he choseto sive us
 the Director The 40-
                of                                  voices that uruch of the tirne do not er.enspeak English. Using a Mexican irnrrrigrant
 Year-Old    Virginl                                to talk abottt classin America, Loach exploresthe rvaysthat rice and ethnicity ire
 www.knockedupmovie.com                             intt'icatelybound to questionsof emporvernrentand wealth. 'fhe issue is complicated
                                                    even more by the tact that Rosa cannot possibly represent the varieties of
                                                    disenfranchisedpeople n'ho find themselvesin similar situations in the U.S. She
                                                    can't represent Hispanic Americans in a broaclsense,becausethey cornefrom
 Ashlev Judd in "Buo"                               nulllerotls backgroundsand cultures.,Justbecauseshe speaks Spanishdoes not
 SeeAshleyJudd'sNew                                 rnean that she feels mttch in col]unon n'ith people fron other South American
 Movie"Bug".Get Ticket&                             countries. And yet, much of tlre time this is hou'she is looked at b1.thervhite
 Showtime Informationl                              charactersin the fihn.'l'he1'seeher as "other," regardlessof the particularitiesof her
 L i o ns g a t e . o m / B u g
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          on                                       picturc of n'hat it tricansto be bloclted fronr full acccssto the irublic sphere.Being
VisitUs Here                                       from the orttsicitr,             thorigh. rloeshavc its drau'bucks:in sorne senscs,Loach never
n e e d h e l p o ni n f o / f i l r ni i n r x
                                     f
                                                   r c a l l v g e t s t o l < t r o uh i s c h a r a c t e r sH e o b s e r v c s h e m u i t i p l i c i t l ' o f i m m i g t a n t
                                                                                       '                           .                     t
                                                  expericncearndthe exploitation of rvolkcls, but his vision seelrs sinrplified at
                                                  ttlotnents.The filrn doesn't spend a lot of time thinking about the way'sthat unions,
                                                  for instance,do trot alwa-vs                       reprcscnt the best interests of their menrbers.It doesn't
                                                  spend enottgh time looliing at Rosa'sresisternce the union clespiteher or,vn             to                                               stmggl6
                                                  to send l.rlone\'--an\'\vav she can -- back to her farlilv in Mexicro.                                                 Ntostglaringlv, the
                                                  f i l n c l o e s n ' t h i n l i i n a r n ' s l ' s t c r n a t i cv a t 'a b o u t t h e i m p l i c a t i o n so f i t s c h o i t , e f a n
                                                                                                                      r                                                                    o
                                                  illcgal alien to be thc ltet'oof this Anit:ricun tale. 'l'he fihn neve'r'                                          reall1'explores           u,hat
                                                  it rneansfor N'lay'a struggle firr represcntationin a country u,hereshe does not
                                                                                     to
                                                  holcl citizenship.\Vhile she ernboclies                               rvhat it e'r.en       ureans to refer to sorneonelivine
                                                  i n t h e u . S . a s " i l l e g a l , "i t s t i l l m i g h t b e t o o e a s yl o r a v i e r v e rt o d i s n i i s st h e
                                                  exploitation Nlava faces,bv attributing it to her "illegal" status. rather than realizing
                                                  that legal aliens and full citizcns ale clisenfi'ancrhised                                     daiiy.

                                                  Despite its occasiortitl            ovcr-simplification, hon'evcr,IJrectcl                          and 1?ose.s a porverfully
                                                                                                                                                                       is
                                                  affecting filtn. l,oach revealsAtncricun live.sthat are not ah,vay's                                      secn. For this flrct
                                                  alottc. one call lirrgive hin'rthe occasionalagitprop (trt least I can, .rvhen agitprolr                                it's
                                                  w i t h r v h i c h I t e n d t o a g r e e ) .H e t n a k t ' sa r r c l i b l c c i i c e sh a t m a n v A n r e l i c a n s i c
                                                                                                                                  v           t                                 a
                                                  trnn'illing to iistcn to fbr all sotts of complt'x leastrns.It's rrotjrist that people tr.eat
                                                  N'Iaya    the rvay'theycloltcrcause racisnr or classisnrirlonc.
                                                                                                    of

                                                  The filnr shorvshorv t'itcistncau irecomea typc of classisn. \\rc're usccito seeing
                                                  media ituagesof racial or ethnic srrbpopulationsassociatecl                                           ivith an economic
                                                                      w
                                                  u n c l e r c l a s s , h i l e b e i n gp e r p e t u a l l l ' f o r c e cn t o t h a t u n d e r c l a s s l l t h e t i m e b v a n y
                                                                                                                             il                               a
                                                      numberof factors. whenyou look at any given"other"in termsof the several
                                                                          It's
                                                                  out
                                                      discourses ofwhich it is constntcted you are ableto seethe people
                                                                                                that                             behind
                                                      the preconception.  l'his is primarilywhat Loachoffels us -- a way to understandand
                                                      listen to the U.S.populations   who are usuallir welcorne citizens. coulse,
                                                                                                     not          as         Of       he
                                                      wantsttsto do morethanjust listen,but his portrayalof Maya's     questto be counted
                                                      is a sienificantstart.




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P o p M a t t e r s . c o m a-n d P o p M a t t e r s ' a 'r e t r a d e m a r k s f P o p M a t t e r M e d i a , n c . J n d P o p 1 4 , r t t eMs g a z t n e
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