Migrant identities in film: Sin Nombre and migration films from Mexico and Central America to the United States’

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    This article analyses filmic representations of migration from Mexico and Central America to the United States, with a focus on Sin nombre (Fukunaga, 2009). Reference will also be made to other films including, The Gatekeeper (Juan Carlos Frey, 2002), La tragedia de Macario (Veliz, 2005), La misma luna/Under the Same Moon (Patricia Riggen, 2007) and 7 soles (Ultreras, 2008). The article argues that these texts form a new sub-genre of migration films, and have secured their placein the market thanks to film festivals such as Sundance and the Latino festival at San Diego, a growing Latino population in the United States, and their relevance to contemporary political debate within Central America, Mexico and the UnitedStates. There is very little published in this area, despite growing interest, so the aimof the research was to write an analytical survey piece. One of the main concerns of the article is to consider what happens to the migrant experience when represented in feature films and to analyse how the different (trans)national production contexts affect these representations: what happens to social and political concerns in the search for commercial gain, and how is migrant experience made to conform to the demands of the United States film market? The article argues that there is a personal rather than overtly political focus in all films, and film-makers prefer to concentrate on immoral individuals and the emotional weight of their subjects, rather than consider the effect of national and transnational policies on migrants. In the specific case of Sin Nombre the article explores the ways that the migrant film can be made accessible to global audiences, and asks what is lost through this process.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)227-240
    Number of pages14
    JournalCrossings: Journal of Migration and Culture
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2012


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