Camilla Fojas

in Latino Studies

ISBN: 9780199913701
Published online March 2013 | | DOI:

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  • History of the Americas
  • US Cultural History


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Latina and Latino stars, filmmakers, characters, and storylines have been present in Hollywood and independent cinema from the inception of the moving-image industry. The first depictions of Latinos in US film were mainly negative images of bandits and greasers drawn from Western-themed “dime novels” that presented colonial ideas about Latinos as uncivilized—ideas that were used to justify US conquest of former territories of Mexico in the Southwest. The first image of Latinos appeared in a silent short reel in 1894, and by the early 1900s a series of silent short films thematizing the bandit and greaser emerged, inaugurating a long history of negative stereotypes and the Latino struggle for self-representation on the silver screen, or what many critics have called the “bronze screen.” Film criticism and studies of Latino film combine several interrelated genres and categories that may follow the historical periodization of film history. The early history of cinema, the silent era, is a vital period of the formation of the industry, followed by the classical era, the postclassical era, new Hollywood, and the globalization of the industry. Independent Latino film has a different formation that grew out of the interests and concerns of Latinos across mediums, from television to film. Much Latino film criticism works across boundaries and would be better characterized as cultural studies for the integration of analyses across various kinds of cultural productions.

Article.  8198 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas ; US Cultural History

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