Patricia Riggen's popular film La misma luna has been praised as a heartwarming film that humanizes undocumented immigrants for American audiences and, for Mexican audiences, deviates from typical immigration narratives by focusing on women and children as immigrants rather than men. Despite this seemingly progressive intentionality, I argue that Riggen's film is exceedingly conservative in its portrayal of mexicanidad as not only inescapably patriarchal, but "naturally" so. Mexico's ruling class has a vested interest in reaffirming mexicanidad as biological, and therefore, politically incontestable. By selling mexicanidad in a transnational context as a racial essence under constant threat by Anglo-American hegemony, hegemonic institutions within Mexico create the illusion of national and ethnic unity, thus erasing any and all internal racism and classism. In La misma luna, the characters' race and gender performances work in tandem to naturalize prescribed notions of national identity and reaffirm the bourgeois and politically-limiting mandate to be a "good" Mexican by being a "good" (wo)man, equating the imperative to remain true to one's nationality to the allegedly unproblematic imperative to remain true to one's biology. Additionally, membership into mexicanidad is reinscribed as contingent upon neoliberal practices of consumerism, up to and including viewing the film itself.


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pp. 80-98
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