“I like watching Mexican film because it connects me to my roots. It’s about my group of people, and even though I wasn’t born in Mexico, it’s still my culture today,” said Victoria Rodriguez, University of Arizona student. “My family lives in Mexico, and my values are aligned with their values.”
Rodriguez grew up in a Hispanic world. With a Hispanic father and a mother born in Mexico, she connects strongly to Mexican culture. Living with her grandmother, she speaks Spanglish at home and eats tortillas every day.
In a big family, home videos were a staple at the household. Rodriguez also smiles after mentioning the plays she and her cousins would put on for the rest of the family. After growing up with a love for movies, she knew that media arts was a degree she always planned to pursue.
“I’ve already produced one short film for one of my production classes in college,” she said. “The theme is vices and virtues, and it explores over-responsibility. It is about a girl and how her responsibilities take a toll on her life, and she eventually starts eating paper.”
Rodriguez is in the UA’s University Filmmaker’s Organization, and her dreams include potentially moving to Italy for a few years to produce movies. However, since the movie industry there isn’t as advanced as the one in the U.S., she would also love to be in Hollywood.
In terms of Mexican film, she believes that there are a lot of great movies that address issues concerning the U.S.-Mexico border.
“For example, illegal immigration. Film is a great way to spread the reality of the situation,” Rodriguez said. “A lot of times, it’s not about a bunch of drug cartels coming over. It’s more than that.”
Some of her favorite movies include A Better Life and La Misma Luna. The latter is about a little boy who crosses the border by himself to find his mother. “It’s heart-wrenching stuff,” Rodriguez commented.
She’s even considering making a documentary on crossing the Mexican border herself.
“Mexico is our neighbor, and there are a lot of Hispanics here that come from a Mexican background,” she said. “It’s something that is already embedded into our culture. When you go to the grocery store, you find aisles of Mexican foods. You hear people speaking Spanish. Film opens up an acceptance and tolerance. It keeps us open-minded and exposes us to something that a lot of people have already made assumptions about.”
Mexican-produced film is slightly different that U.S. film, according to Rodriguez. “From what I’ve seen, Mexican film tends to be depressing and weird. But I like that.”
She would love for Mexican directors to make happier films, versus the typical pessimistic plots.
“Mexico is generally a happy place,” she said. “We party, and eat and see our friends and family. There should be more films involving that.”