Film Questions

Posted: November 27th, 2013





Film Questions

            Edward Olmos American Me is a motion picture that centers on the life Chicano gang lifestyles within the city of Los Angeles covering duration of thirty years. The protagonist within the film is Montoya Santana a young Chicano faced with an affectionless life and harmful social lifestyles that evidence violence as the main survival tool within his neighborhood. Santana however can be described as a serene teenager whose violence only manifests when intimidated by other individuals, inclusive of family and relatives. Santana’s neighborhood comprises of several gangs and therefore with the inclusion of two other main characters namely J.D. and Mundo resorts to the creation of a gang. J.D. and Mundo are also young teenagers and Santana’s allies. Olmos centers on creating Santana’s character as opposed to the rest within the film. Through the plot, it becomes evident that Santana’s chief weakness is his violence that is centered on the lack of family love. Santana’s mother conceives from a rape case committed by white individuals during a persecution wave within the American nation primarily directed to Chicano individuals.

Although Santana’s mother gets married to a Chicano, he fails to recognize Santana as his son and declines any from of relation with him. This acts as Santana’s main motivation in the creation of the gang as he aims at seeking acceptance and a family and thus the name ‘familia/klika’ for the gang. J.D. and Mundo as well as the supporting characters bear are motivated by violence within the mafia community that they dwell in and the need to create a continued existence through the creation of synergy in a group setting. Just like their friend Santana, identity stemming from lack of affection acts as their prime weakness. Santana however has a strong point as reflected with his relationship with Julie, another main character, as defined by a humane characteristic. Julie is Santana’s lover who is a converted Chicano gang player. Influence acts as her strength as noted by the fact that she is able to pull Santana momentarily from his violence and into a harmonious and feeling lifestyle. Additionally, she is patient with Santana’s adoption into the required societal functioning.

Her weakness is her gullibility as she trusts Santana innocently and ends up being sexually assaulted by him. From the same scene, we also realize Santana’s weakness as the inability to control his violence and therefore his dual nature within the society. J.D. and Mundo have strengths in their stable character unlike Santana as reflected in their commitment to the gang and the unchanging ideals on the same. Their weakness on the other hand is noted in their lack of sovereignty, as they tend in all instances to make decisions based on collectivism evidenced within the gang. These weaknesses therefore serve as the obstacles towards the achievement of an idealistic lifestyle within the Chicano community; Santana lacks balance in his life in expressing his desires; Julie in search of love pegs confidence in her feelings rather than logic as hinted in Santana’s unconstructive viewpoints. J.D. and Mundo are unable to create their own identities unless it is related to the gang and leading to the disloyalty of their long friendship with Santana-the actual meaning of family.

The central conflict within the motion picture is the identity issue as defined by the various perspectives. Santana and other young individuals believe that respect is only earned through the enforcement of violence and therefore the mandate to create and maintain terror within the groups as a prerequisite of the same from other factions. This includes the assassination of both gang and non-gang individuals. A macho attitude as opposed to a feeling one is required as the latter evidences a weak spot and therefore a liability within the groups. The conflict therefore is created when Santana fails to execute a gang member who betrays him to law enforcers leading to his arrest. The rest of the familia are displeased with the move primarily because it reflects a weak leader and therefore tainting the credibility of the faction. Note that, the group builds a compact name and authority through the oppressive, violent and unsociable attitude that they uphold. Therefore, Santana’s move compromises these elements and therefore the positioning of the group within the given community.

The conflict can only be resolved through the elimination of Santana and this is achieved in his arranged group assassination in the penitentiary that also serves as the climaxing point of the same. A number of themes are noted in the film with the first being assault in various facets. Physical sexual is reflected by Santana’s mother by the White community and Julie in her sodomy instance. Social assaults are noted in the execution of Santana and the prisoner that attempts to assault Santana. Moral assaults are evidenced by drug exchanges and prearranged assassinations whereas racial assaults are noted between inter-gang clashes. The dejection theme is indicated within the male gender by the male characters that are all wedged within the drugs and murder activities, violence, mafia squads and prison lifestyles while the female gender is dejected in terms of love and oppression as noted through Julie and Santana’s mother. The given themes serve a significant part within plot enhancement.

Dejection serves as the justification for various actions given within the plot. For instance, Santana’s dejection acts as the impetus for his gang formation and this stems from his rejected status from the parents. Santa’s mother has her actions based on the rape instance and therefore her unfair attitude is based on the bitterness hinged on the situation. J.D. and Mundo both Chicano individuals face the dejection noted against the community by the racial pressures particularly noted by the Whites and thus shaping their inclinations towards gang life. Note that each of the given illustrations acts as the motivation for the decisions and actions accorded by the characters in shaping the given plot structure. Otherwise, a different plot would be noted if such occurrences were absent; for instance, had Santana’s mother not been raped, then the film would lack a protagonist and therefore the need for a different introduction. Additionally, Santana’s mother would lack the validation for her hatred. The same applies to the rest of the characters as all are interconnected within the film.

The historical content of the motion picture is identified as the periods 1950s up to the 1980s as noted by the social organizations, environments, and the Pachuco discrimination within the given period. The setting is primarily set within prisons that Santana serves in reflecting the mafia and gang lifestyles noted in both instances. These settings are symbolic of the trapped life patterns that the Chicano members face within the period through the gang, violence and drugs aspects. This is very vital in the themes relayed within the movie. The time is also important as it infuses a pragmatic element within the plot; for instance, if the film argued that the time was between the periods 2000 and 2005 then it would not be realistic, as the given historical occurrences were never reflected within the identified period.

Language is employed in the film in various ways to impart credibility and complement the given messages. For instance, coarse language is utilized in the gangs and penitentiary to reflect the brutal personality of the individuals and the setting. Additionally, Chicano phrases like familia and klika, as well as names are used to bring out the Chicano identity within the movie. Within the motion picture, Chicanos are depicted mainly as aggressive and unfeeling individuals with non-functional families. However, the director is quick to reveal that the aforementioned states originate from unconstructive social settings enforced by other races and individuals and thereby necessitating the lifestyle for survival instances. The director chooses this viewpoint as a recreation of the societal injustices directed towards the Chicanos within the given period and how it led to the creation of a negative environment. The message therefore relayed towards the audience with regard to Chicanos, and generally all races, is that equity serves as the foundation for harmony within a given nation and culture.





Expert paper writers are just a few clicks away

Place an order in 3 easy steps. Takes less than 5 mins.

Calculate the price of your order

You will get a personal manager and a discount.
We'll send you the first draft for approval by at
Total price: