May 2014 - Issue IX
Cesar Chavez - The Motion Picture is Finally Here!
Here at CCM we were excited that the causa, lucha, huelga and a Chicano historical figure were finally being put on a grander scale for more people to see and learn about. It took a brother from across the river, Diego Luna, to give this film life. Luna, being Mexican himself, is now a proud father to an American born son, which ultimately makes his son a Mexican-American.
Luna was surprised to learn that a movie had not been made about Chavez, which led him to produce and direct this film. “My interest in Chavez started gestating when I began spending significant time in Los Angeles. There were streets everywhere carrying his name and references to him as well as murals in San Francisco. I must admit that I was a bit ashamed not to know much about him, so I began to investigate. I came to understand his historical significance, that he was the first Mexican-American to have a real voice and accomplished so much change for his community.” Luna said.
There was no lack of controversy with the release of this film. Some people were upset because screenings of the film were sponsored and hosted by Budweiser. I witnessed reactions from some Chicanos, angry that the cast was not “Chicano enough” because some of the roles were played by Latinos of other Latin American descents instead of Mexican-American like the actual people they were portraying. I, on the other hand, felt that the casting in the film couldn’t have been better. A feeling of honor to be playing such powerful women in history exudes from both America Ferrera and Rosario Dawson’s performances.
I learned at lot about Chavez and the movement from the movie. Let’s face it, I grew up in Texas, they do not teach you about Cesar Chavez in schools. Everything I knew about Chavez came from my mother explaining to me why she never bought grapes. As a small child my mother and grandparents worked in the fields, they were migrant workers. Chavez made it possible for the improvement of their working conditions.
I wholeheartedly appreciate that Diego Luna stepped up and made this film, it’s been long overdue.