La misma luna : a film by Patricia Riggen

Since we took our written final last week, we finished up this semester of Spanish by watching La misma luna (English title: Under the Same Moon) today. The film is mostly in Spanish, but has a fair bit of English dialogue. It follows the story of a young Mexican boy crossing the border in order to look for his mother who works illegally as a housekeeper in Los Angeles.

Surprisingly, since most of the film takes place in the US, it only had a limited release here, and I don’t believe it ever made it to my little nook in the Midwest. But it was a great film to show to a Spanish class. Much of the dialogue isn’t too difficult for students to understand (especially with the English subtitles turned on–ja!). However, the movie is at times overly dramatic and there are a couple of unbelievable coincidences. But Adrian Alonso, the young actor who plays the lead—little Carlos Reyes—is captivating in his role. Even this jaded viewer was on the edge of tears a couple of times when Carlitos got himself into a difficult situation or would get emotional over his mother.

Like any good drama though, there were several moments of delightful comic relief … such as this cameo appearance by the Mexican norteño superstars Los Tigres del Norte.

I also enjoyed the use of Kinky’s cover of Los Hermanos Ortiz’ song “Superman es ilegal” (Superman is an illegal) as the background for this scene about migrant labor. ¡Es un pájaro! ¡Es un avión! No, hombre, ¡es un mojado! (It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, man, it’s a wetback!)

Obviously the issue of illegal immigrants—particularly Spanish-speaking ones—gets lots of folks worked up in this country (I’m looking at you, Jan Brewer). But I think this film does a decent job of suggesting what the risks of crossing over are, what challenges face illegals once here, and how the issue affects families south of the US border. The movie is certainly not neutral on the issue, however. I don’t think I’d sit down to watch it with Glenn Beck anytime soon … unless he brings the popcorn and promises not to talk or send text messages during the film.


One response to “La misma luna : a film by Patricia Riggen

  1. Pingback: Los Hermanos Oritz : Superman es ilegal « The Spanish Dilettante