The depiction of Latin Americans in Hollywood movies has been stereotypical and foremost negative since the early 1900s till the end of the 20th century. However, the situation has changed considerably since 60s and 70s, when Hispanic filmmakers obtained a better access to Hollywood movies production and thus also an opportunity to change this tunnel vision of representatives of Hispanic culture in movies. As Berg rightfully notes in his book Latino Images in Film: Stereotypes, Subversion, & Resistance, entrance of Latino filmmakers into Hollywood did decrease the level of stereotyping and prejudice in movies, yet it did not symbolize the end of biased attitude towards Latin Americans.
It is possible to note certain similarities in Berg’s depiction of the new era of Latin American images in movies and the work of Robert Rodriguez. For instance, as noted by Berg, movies of Hispanic filmmakers typically have a low budget and therefore have certain common characteristics that enable a relatively affordable filming process (Berg). Berg argues ‘Because of their low budgets and meager resources, the cheaper films rely on basic cinematic techniques, and this has had a liberating effect’ (Berg). Robert Rodriguez, as a part of his teaching in Ten Minute Film School also discusses the importance of adopting different cinematic techniques and cinematic sensibility in order to produce a low-budget, yet a good movie (The Making of ‘El Mariachi’). According to the filmmaker, money play a little role in producing a good movie. Also, Berg’s notion about the creation of alternative images of Latin Americans by Robert Rodriguez is supported by empirical evidence. In the movie Bedhead, the image of the main character, who is a smart, assertive, and reasonable girl, completely contradicts the typical Hollywood representation of Hispanic women as primitive, overly sexualized, and loud.

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Robert Rodriguez indeed made a very full contribution to the production of new era of Latin American movies in Hollywood. While the goal of the filmmaker is not as simple and direct as the reduction of the level of stereotyping, Robert Rodriguez tries to portray Latin Americans as also the representatives of mainstream culture. It is important to note that the alternative representation of Hispanics started by Robert Rodriguez evoked the respective attempts to represent Latin Americans by other filmmakers. For instance, the above-mentioned changes in the representation of Latin American women led to remarkable changes in the images of Hispanic American women in soap operas, for example (McIntosh et al 37). When discussing Robert Rodriguez, it is also important to mention how he escapes the established norms to represent Hispanic American men through the lenses of ‘machism’. Berg notes that for Rodriguez, ‘a hero need not to have the physical capabilities of a Mr Universe or a martial arts master, nor does he need to be looking to save the world (to prove his masculinity); he can simply be a balladear looking for a receptive audience’ (Berg). Robert Rodriguez’s film El Mariachi vividly demonstrates this.

The situation with the stereotypical representation of Latin Americans in movies has changed considerably since 60s and 70s, when Hispanic filmmakers obtained a better access to Hollywood movies production and thus also an opportunity to change this tunnel vision of representatives of Hispanic culture in movies. The goal of Robert Rodriguez is not as simple and direct as the reduction of the level of stereotyping, Robert Rodriguez tries to portray Latin Americans as also the representatives of mainstream culture. In addition to this, in his movies the filmmaker challenges the stereotypical gender representation of Hispanic American men and women, giving them ‘alternative’ to those given by Hollywood filmmakers personal characteristics.

    References
  • Berg, Charles R. Latino Images in Film: Stereotypes, Subversion, & Resistance. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2002. Print.
  • The Making of ‘El Mariachi’ – The Robert Rodriguez Ten Minute Film School. N.p., 1992. Web. .
  • McIntosh, Sherrie, et al. “‘Carlotta!’: Changing Images of Hispanic-American Women in Daytime Soap Operas.” Journal of Popular Culture, vol. 33, no. 2, Fall99, pp. 37-48.
  • Bedhead. Dir. Robert Rodriguez. N.p., 1991. Web. 9 Apr. 2017. .