Movie night in the UC ballroom

Photography+courtesy+of+Karina+Garcia%2FISLANDWAVES

Photography courtesy of Karina Garcia/ISLANDWAVES

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, the Spanish program held a film night where students gathered in the UC ballroom for refreshments and a movie on Sept. 30.

This year, instead of watching a Hispanic film, the Spanish program decided to show a Latin American film called, “Que Horas Ela Volta?” The title roughly translates to “When is she coming back?”

When asked why they decided to go with a non-Spanish speaking movie, Dr. Cristina Ortiz, the Spanish program coordinator and assistant professor for Spanish studies, said “We thought that Brazil is usually sort of out of the picture when it comes to Hispanic Heritage Month because they don’t speak Spanish, they were colonized by the Portuguese instead,” she continues, “the experience that Brazil has had since its beginnings is very similar to the rest of Latin America.”

Not only was the selection of this movie important for representation reasons, but it was also important because, “I want them (students/viewers) to see a little bit of the life outside of the United States, particularly in Latino countries,” says Dr. Ortiz, “ Hopefully understand a little bit of the reasons why people move around, why people migrate.”

The film, which takes place in Brazil, follows the story of a housekeeper named Val, who works for a wealthy family in Sao Paulo. After many years of not speaking to her daughter Jessica, they reunite and share the bedroom where Val lives- the housekeeper room. Unspoken social boundaries are broken when Jessica becomes upset after watching her mother be treated less than because of her race, gender, and class status.

After the showing, guest speaker Dr. Miriam Jorge, a professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, held a brief discussion regarding how race, class, and gender were portrayed in the film. She explained how in Brazil there is an ongoing joke that if someone wanted a Brazilian passport, it could be easily obtained because Brazil is filled with every race, a diverse country where everyone falls under the generalization umbrella of  “Brazilian.”

However, Dr. Jorge explains that this is not always the case because people of color tend to be treated less than compared to a person of lighter complexion. She also mentions how class and gender play a huge role in how women are treated in the workplace. Social issues that leave women of color who come from poor families at a huge disadvantage – as seen in the movie through the housekeeper Val.

The showing of this film was meant to shed light on social issues outside the realm of the United States, help get a better understanding of why people migrate, and explain why it is important to have representation of people like those seen in the film.

For those interested in more, the next Hispanic Heritage Month film will be shown Oct. 9.