The Great Mojado Invasion II
2001, 27:30 minutes, colour, English/Spanish
“A highlight of this selection of films is the latest work of Guillermo Gómez-Peña and Gustavo Vasquez, The Great Mojado Invasion (The Second US-Mexico War). This mock documentary presents an ironic 21st Century reversal of U.S.-Mexican relations, as 'dastardly mustachioed bandits' conquer the United States and impose their own language and culture upon Anglo-Americans.” -The Margaret Mead Film Festival Catalogue
In 1998, independent filmmaker Gustavo Vazquez and I created a homemade movie about racism against Mexicanas, which circulated for a couple of years in the Chicano underground. By 2001, we reunited to reedit the piece with brand-new footage and a remastered soundtrack by Mexican composer Guillermo Galindo.
In this “mocumentary” on border camp, we attack hard reality with large doses of black humor, and high style, generating a complex commentary on history, society, pop culture, the politics of representation and the repercussions of ethnic dominance.
The video presents a fictionalized account of the history of US-Mexico affairs, from pre-Columbian times to the immediate future, when a second U.S-Mexico war takes place. But this time, Mexico is victorious.
Like a ghost from the future, my persona “El Mad Mex” narrates the following metafiction: a queue of mojados (“wetbacks”) reconquer lost Mexican territory to establish the new “U.S. of Aztlan.” The nation-state collapses. The former US of A is fragmented into myriad micro-republics loosely controlled by a junta and governed by a Chicano Prime Minister named Gran Vato. “Spanglish” becomes the official language, treating the monolingual viewer as a “nomadic minority.” Panicked by the authoritarian tendencies of the new regime, hybrid militias desperately try to recapture the “Old Order.” The “New Aztlan Regime” propagandizes itself by satirically depicting Anglos with the same stereotypes currently utilized against Latinos, caricaturizing the irrational fears that mainstream culture has about the so called “Mexican invasion.”
Through the juxtaposition of clips from campy Mexican genre films against stereotypes long popular in US media, Gustavo and I attempt to fabricate what we term “a videographic hall of mirrors” with an underlying meta-theme: the fear and/or embracing of a psycho-sexual-political-racial borderland identity. As the video moves through time, we reveal amazing found-footage from our personal collections of “borderabilia”: from rare ethnographic documentaries and underground exploitation movies to Mexican B-movies depicting Anglos, and US-made films depicting Latinos. The outcome is a whirlwind tour of Latino stereotypes in film.
The result is a multifaceted reflection shifting between fiction and the realities that expose the depth of internalized racism in this country. The film got me a “lifetime achievment award” at the Taos Talking Pictures Festival.
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