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María llena eres de gracia: Fairy Tale, Drug Culture, and the American Dream

From: Hispanófila
Volume 160, Septiembre 2010
pp. 27-41 | 10.1353/hsf.2010.0017

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1. Ignacio M. Sánchez-Prado talks about a new form of commodification of Mexico and Latin America that has shifted from a magic realist mode to a violent imperative in recent years, where the metropolitan spectator perceives the Latin American other as born out of foundational violence. He points to the fact that the violence and misery of the other is what fascinates the pseudo-progressive audiences of international film festivals, which in turn explains why some films' international success precedes its national success. Impressed by the Amores perros's resonance abroad, Sánchez-Prado argues, the Mexican public "acquired a renewed sense of national pride and went to see the movie" (61), thus attesting to what we could call a cultural neo-colonialism visible in countless cases. I would argue that María llena eres de gracia follows the same trajectory (though it is a movie filmed in the US): its international success sparked the interest of many Colombians who embraced the film precisely out of pride that 'their' case had received so much attention elsewhere. Precisely for the same reason, it was rejected by many Colombians who saw it as a representation of what Colombia signifies in the eyes of the First World public. For instance, in "La mula, otro animal exótico," Oswaldo Osorio argues that the only way he can explain the film's success is that its theme was unknown to the public outside of Colombia, for whom a girl carrying drugs in her stomach is as exotic as a parrot or the cumbia.

2. I am referring to the film's representation, where the director makes his spectators believe that what is shown is in fact a Colombian landscape, and not the actual filming place — namely, Amaguaña, Ecuador.

3. Take, for instance, the renowned Spanish author, Arturo Pérez-Reverte, whose recent best-seller, The Queen of the South, was inspired by a narcocorrido of Camelia La Tejana. In fact, the author calls his work "a 500-page-long narcocorrido." Pérez-Reverte seems intoxicated with the exuberance of the whole exoticism of narcocultura, as he describes Mexico through the prism of the drug-trafficking culture: "It is all a fascinating and a terrible world: hard-boiled Mexico, the violence, the open wound of the Río Grande, the marijuana of the Sierra, and all that" (my translation).

4. No nacimos pa' semilla (1990) and Mujeres de fuego (1993).

5. Juan Carlos Ramírez-Pimienta begins his essay on narcocorridos with anecdotal information about the state censorship of narcocultura, by mentioning a meeting from 14 December, 2002, where the president of the delegation of National Office of the Television and the Radio Industry, Arturo Herrera Cornejo, announced that 42 state radio stations would no longer air narcocorridos in Michoacán. Ramírez-Pimienta adds that the same decision was taken in other states, such as Chihuahua.

6. In her analysis of Marston's film, Stacey Alba D. Skar pinpoints the problematic cultural ideology as well, referring to the tranquility and general peace the mules find in the US as well as to the presence of highly positive male figures (the taxi-driver, Don Osorio), who are altogether absent on the Colombian side. This, according to the critic, reaffirms the image of US generosity and superiority.

Works Cited

Bedoya, Ricardo, and Isaac León. "Cultura popular y cultura masiva en el México contemporáneo. Conversaciones con Carlos Monsiváis." 10 Oct. 2007< c8ZSRUk04PwJ:www.felafacs.org/ files/monsivais.pdf+narcotr%C3%Alfico+cultura+popular&hl= en&ct=clnk&cd=l&gl=us>.
Bushnell, David. The Making of Modern Colombia: A Nation in Spite of Itself. Berkeley: U of California P, 1993.
García Canclini, Néstor. "Will There Be Latin American Cinema in the Year 2000? Visual Culture in a Postnational Era." Framing Latin American Cinema. Contemporary Critical Perspectives. Ed. Ann Marie Stock. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1997. 246-258.
King, John. Magical Reels. A History of Cinema in Latin America. London: Verso, 1991.
María llena eres de gracia. Dir. Joshua Marston. Perf. Catalina Sandino Moreno. DVD. Home Box Office, Inc...

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