“La Frontera /The Border as Reflected in the Cinematic Lens”, lecture and Q&A led by Dr. David R. Maciel

May. 1

May. 1, 2021 @ 11:00 am 12:30 pm

Artwork used in event banner: Luis Jimenez, Air, Earth, Fire, Water, 1989, Color Lithograph on paper, 42″ x 57 1/8″. Mexic-Arte Museum Permanent Collection

The conversation continues! Join the Mexic-Arte Museum on Saturday, May 1st starting at 11am CST for the last lecture of the series, “La Frontera /The Border as Reflected in the Cinematic Lens”, lecture and Q&A led by Dr. David R. Maciel as part of the Museum’s current virtual exhibition, Life and Experiences in the U.S./Mexico Borderlands on view now via the Museum’s website. The virtual lecture will be live streamed via Zoom and Facebook Live and moderated by Mexic-Arte Museum Curator & Director of Programs, Dr. George Vargas. Participants can pre-register for the event via Zoom by filling out info and clicking the Register button on this site or simply by viewing the lecture on the Museum’s Facebook page on the day of the event. Participants will get a chance to engage in a Q&A with Dr. David R. Maciel during the last few minutes of the virtual event!


Visit the Museum’s current virtual exhibition, Life and Experiences in the U.S/Mexico Borderlands on view now!

About the Virtual Lecture

The United States – Mexican border has become an area of critical importance and priority for both countries. It constitutes one of the most complex, dynamic and vital regions of the world.

Beginning in the late-19th century and up to the present day, artists, writers and filmmakers have made la frontera a major topic in their works. The treatment of the border by cinema has been particularly extensive and influential. In terms of visual arts, films about the U.S.-Mexican border (including some that depict the Texas-Mexico border) are unique as compared to other national or regional cinematic productions. There exist three distinct cinematic works: Hollywood productions, the cinema of Mexico and Chicanx feature films and documentaries. These films encompass parallels in terms of common expressive modes as well as profound differences. The themes of these productions encompass: historical topics, social issues, immigration. In terms of genres, there exist drama, comedy and the western. Altogether between feature films and documentaries on the border, there exist around 350 to date.

This presentation will offer and overview and analysis of each of the three visual productions, highlighting paradigmatic films. The main theme is exploring the dichotomy that exists between the majority of productions, which are characterized by stereotypical views and are generally devoid of all social reality, and those few which are much more oriented toward offering realistic and creative viewpoints of the border experience.

Since we live in a visual world, these cinematic works have acquired a most critical cultural, social and even political function through their popularity and wide exhibition in the Americas and worldwide. Certain of these productions have become a rich source of education, ideas and knowledge. The presentation will highlight the narrative, creativity and outstanding contributions that cinematic productions on the border have offered.

About Dr. David R. Maciel

Dr. David R. Maciel is a Professor Emeritus of the University of New Mexico and UCLA. Currently, he is Adjunct Professor at the Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE). His teaching interests and research fields include Chicana/o history, Latinos in the U.S., modern Mexico, modern Latin America and the U.S.-Mexico border and the U.S. Southwest. He has held academic appointments at: the University of Arkansas, the University of New Mexico, California State University, Dominguez Hills, the University of Arizona, Arizona State University and the University of Houston.  In addition, he has been a visiting professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, University of California, Irvine, University of California, San Diego, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Universidad de Guadalajara and El Colegio de Sinaloa. Between 2015 and 2019, he was a senior advisor at the Instituto Nacional Electoral on all matters concerning the vote of Mexicans residing in the U.S. in Mexico’s elections. He has been a Fulbright Professor in Mexico on three different occasions (at the UNAM & CIDE). He has received research grants from the Ford Foundation, the National Endowment of Humanities, the Fideicomiso para la Cultura México-E.U., and the Fondo Nacional de la Cultura y las Artes. He has served as media consultant in various films, such as: Break of Dawn and the Bronze Screen.

His published research has focused upon the history of the Chicana/o community, Mexican history and film. He has written or edited several books including: El Mexico de afuera: Historia del pueblo chicano (in press); La creación de la nación chicana: perspectivas historiográficas; La Otra Cara de México. Ensayos sobre el Pueblo Chicano; The Contested Homeland: A Chicano History of Nuevo México; Culture Across Borders: Mexican Immigration and Popular Culture; Chicanas/Chicanos at the Crossroads; Mexico ‘s Cinema: A Century of Films and Filmmakers; The Chicano Renaissance: Contemporary Cultural Trends; El Bandolero, El Pocho y La Raza: Imágenes Cinematográficas del Chicano; El Norte: The U.S.-Mexican Border in Contemporary Cinema;  Carlos Monsivais: Reflexiones acerca del cine mexicano; Ignacio Ramírez: Ideólogo del Liberalismo Social en México; and, Al Norte del Río Bravo: Pasado Inmediato, In addition, he has also published numerous articles and book chapters in scholarly journals from the U.S., Mexico and Spain. Currently he is completing a co-edited book on essays of the golden age of Mexican cinema.