Friday, November 5, 2010
Directed by Peter Bratt
Sad, Riveting, Emotional, Funny. All the emotions I experienced while watching this movie. La Mission is a movie about Che Rivera (Benjamin Bratt) who is a recovering alcoholic, ex con who lost his wife and now raising his only son Jessi. His character is a very macho well respected man in the community who demonstrates his masculinity through his rough tough exterior of a Chicano man who’s’ into low riding as his hobby. He feels his world has come crushing down when he finds pictures of his son kissing another man. This movie demonstrates on a personal account his own internalized homophobia and even homophobia on a community level; while fighting to overcome who is his son. His own son Jessi is coming to conclusions of who he is and even attacked (shot at) for who he is. The community and neighbors find out Jessi’s true sexual orientation through the violent attacks his father takes out on him when kicking him out because he will not accept a gay son.
His neighbor Lena (Erika Alexander) tries to help him process his internalized homophobia in order to realize it’s his only son. Tries to show him that through his anger and domination that won’t even change what his son is A gay man.
I loved this film on so many levels, not only because Benjamin Bratt is one of my favorite actors(he use to be a detective on Law & Order) but because he’s a representation of a constructed ideal of what the Hispanic or Latino culture has men depicted as. The portrayal of their masculinity is very tough , heterosexual breadwinner type. So as it may come to shock homosexuality is definitely an aspect in this culture where it seems to be hard to accept. This movie reminds me of the article“The Act like a Man Box” the characteristics that society has men socialized to think that relates to their own masculinity or the idea of what masculinity is tough, heterosexual, sports, women, violence, aggressiveness sexual domination and when they don’t fit into these ideals the negativity that is inflicted by being called pussy, sissy, fag, not man enough.
In the recent weeks I and half the nation has been very vividly aware of the kind of harassment and bullying that is occurring to young gay and lesbian teens. In the past week weeks there has been over 7 deaths related to this type of harassment and those are only reported incidents. Although this movie is showing homophobia and hatred towards homosexuals in the eyes of a parent, it’s still quite relevant that the issue is very much real. Che Rivera struggles to not only accept who his son but also who he is within a culture and upbringing that has shown his otherwise. What I especially like about this film is how it brings to light the issue of homosexuality and our children. What should we do? What shouldn’t we do? How to react or accept this? I think these are only questions anyone can answer on an individual level, but movies such as La Mission are making a great impact on depicting the realness of the situation and the effects of addressing them or not. I recommend this great Indie film in a heart beat.
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