Patricia Riggen’s 2007 feature debut La misma luna engages a long tradition of popular films on border and immigration themes in Mexican cinema. Like such films, it featured well-recognized actors and sought mainstream appeal. But while most of these films have offered extremely negative representations of the immigrant experience, Riggen’s film challenges the status quo to tell a moving tale of the love of a mother and son that transcends great obstacles (including international borders) and leads to positive outcomes and a happy ending. The focus on the mother-son relationship places the film within the parameters of another important genre of Mexican cinema, the family melodrama, further confirming that Riggen utilized strategies to increase the film’s appeal with audiences. The main ingredient for the film’s success, however, was its focus on the adorable and resourceful nine-year-old boy who against all odds carries out his mission to reunite with his mother. La misma luna is family fare and deliberately rejects the masculinist viewpoint of films on immigration themes, which have mainly offered exploitative and sensationalistic stories with tragic conclusions. This essay examines how Riggen revises the conventions of such films to offer a more compassionate and informed representation of the immigrant experience.


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pp. 94-109
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