Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Can a Film Cause a Race War?

If you've seen Machete you know it makes no bones about its feelings on illegal immigration.  It shows those against it as gun-toting rednecks with little concern for human life, those who exploit it as greedy capitalists, and those who engage in it as good people just trying to get by.  It's a grindhouse movie, so the simple, direct approach to the problem is to be expected.  If you read the Internet mumblings, however, there are people afraid this film could spark a race war between Mexicans and their pale cousins to the North.

Charles Manson tried it.  The government and your employer is always using the fear of it to keep you in your place.  The divide between races is a great fear motivator.  To think this film would promote it or cause it, though, is kind of missing the point.  Machete, in its own blood-flowing way, is merely pointing out what already exists.  There are strong feelings on the subject, and neither side is innocent or completely wrong.

As I wrote on my other blog, Cancerous Zeitgeist, the audience I saw it with really liked the anti-immigrant sentiment (ironically yelling at the screen in a display stereotypically attached to the black movie going audience).  The group did not like it when whitey started to buy it, though.  Seeing as the film was number two at the box office its first week, whitey didn't hate it that much.

I love the fact that a grindhouse film, which along with exploitation used to be the most dangerous cinema America had to offer, can inspire such fear and concern.  It speaks well to the film, and unkindly to an ignorant audience.  I doubt our leaders will be using it to highlight the problems of illegal immigration anytime soon, but in a perfect world maybe it would. 

Then again, maybe our representatives are waiting for the sequels.

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