HBO Documentary Films: THE LATIN EXPLOSION: A NEW AMERICA

By Jef Dinsmore on Nov 19, 2015 to Documentaries

Doc-logoOverview: The country is changing, and Latinos are taking their place at the table as the new American power brokers in the world of entertainment, business, politics and the arts. Once on the margins of American society, Latinos are now the mainstream, and the proof is in the music. This documentary celebrates the music, the artists and the visionaries who have pioneered this sea change, exploring how the growing Latino community is impacting American culture for the better.


Anchoring the film are exclusive interviews with the musicians at the center of Latino power and influence in this country, including Gloria Estefan, Marc Anthony, Jennifer Lopez, Pitbull, Ricky Martin, Romeo Santos, members of Los Lobos, Rita Moreno, Jose Feliciano and others. They talk about their lives and music, as the film celebrates their mega crossover hits that have defined the American experience and set the stage for the “Latin Explosion” in all aspects of American life. Also included are decade-by-decade profiles of many of the Latino pioneers who blazed a trail for today’s stars.

 

Expectations: I expect an eruption of hot Latin sound mixed with a blend of speakers and footage to illustrate how the Latin culture has ramped up in the U. S. A. and to declare they are here to stay and contribute. That is all well and good, but from the hype and publicity from this there is sort of a glaring absence. If I’m right, though it still won’t diminish the pop and flair this documentary gives. I explain my thoughts after the trailer below.

 

Gut Reaction: Okay, the quick answer is that as entertaining as it is I was expecting more from this documentary and shouldn’t have. With as bold a title as this film uses I was hoping for a presentation of the total package of what it is to be Latino. It ended up so one-sided. Just like in the trailer above, the social and political influences of the culture flitted by so quickly, in lieu of more entertainment, but the more I watched it the more I didn’t mind. There ended up being just the right amount of news footage. 

The angle taken here is to be expected really being that is was produced by Tony Mottola a big record executive. He is able to get together a large group of artists to stand proud for their culture and their Latin rhythms.  It also makes sense that the vanguard for a culture’s advancement would be through it music. If you think about it, one’s first awareness of a culture is often via its music or its food. But it makes it sound like Latino music and entertainers are the only highlights worth noting. There is more to the culture than that, but the total package of what it means to be Latino and what contributions to the world they offer was not meant for this piece. It is an entertainment piece and they did it up right for what they wanted to accomplish.

 

In Conclusion: This piece offers many wonderful clips from the likes of Desi Arnaz, Rita Moreno, Jose Feliciano, Carlos Santana, Los Lobos the whole way up to Romeo Santos. Coupled with short bios it was a fun historical spin about a culture here to stay. You can be a WASP, like me, and enjoy the sounds. Here is a clip they pulled from for the film.

 

Next Week: On Monday November 23 at 9:00pm HBO debuts 3 ½ MINUTES, TEN BULLETS. This Sundance-winning documentary examines the 2012 murder of Jordan Davis, an unarmed African American teen, and the larger questions regarding racism in modern America that his case inspired.

 

 

 










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