Monday, October 4, 2010

Machete part 2.

So. Now that I was able to express my aesthetic infatuation with the film, I suppose it's only right that I talk about the other part, the politics.

Aside from calling male filmmakers out on portraying female characters as glory holes, I try to keep this blog light-hearted. But it would be irresponsible of me to yammer on and on about Machete without mentioning the bigger message of the film, which is the immigration issue.

I'm staying neutral in it, but the film definitely causes one to examine what (illegal) Mexican labor means in this country. I think it was the Hungarian bodyguard that said something to the effect of, "you know, we let them build our houses, maintain our lawns, cook our food, take care of our children, but we won't let them be citizens? It doesn't really make any sense." The photo above is of Senator John McLaughlin (DeNiro), whose platform happens to be an electric fence along the US/Mexican border.

My brother deals with this all the time as a chef and a restaurant manager--it's worth considering what would happen if all of a sudden one day every illegal worker just upped and walked off the job. . .

The film showed Mexican day laborers swarming in a huddle, waiting anxiously for someone to come by and offer them work. Luz, Michelle Rodriguez's character, was in charge of The Network, which helped immigrants get across the border to find housing and permanent jobs. It may have been a very specific cross section of the population, and I don't know how realistic it was (I live in Minnesota, far from any state that shares the Mexican border) but the film showed people who wanted to work, who wanted as Luz said, to escape their own personal hells. The standoff at the end is between the illegals and the vigilantes who had been hunting them, interestingly enough, started by Sartana Rivera the Immigration Special Agent (Alba) who incites them to rally, "We didn't cross the border, THE BORDER CROSSED US!" Earlier she had explained to Machete, "the system works here," but apparently changed her mind. Now that I think about it, her change of heart came a little out of no where, but dammit, that battle had to happen somehow, right?

(I can already see Donald shaking his head at all the rule-breaking. . . )

So yeah. I guess there will be things that will certainly bother a lot of viewers about this stuff, but remember, it's a STORY. I don't think realism was what Rodriguez was going for (Machete uses assailant's small intestine for an escape vine out window); wasn't there some bit about Bin Laden in Planet Terror? Zombie Bin Laden?

I don't have a problem with it. But I live in Inception, remember? And sorry, but there is something appealing to me in imagining what would happen if the Edina sector had to suddenly mow their own lawns, cook their own food, and raise their own children. . .

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