When producer-star Edward James Olmos set out with director Robert M. Young to bring the saga of turn-of-the-century Mexican American farmer Gregorio Cortez to the screen, they wanted to foreground a perspective that had long been marginalized in the western. With The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez, which blazed a trail through the world of independent cinema upon its release in 1982, the filmmakers accomplished a bold revision of an iconically American genre, whose history had long been marred by problematic representations of characters of color. As Olmos says in a supplement on our new edition of the film, a true Latino American hero hadn’t been seen in cinema until Gregorio Cortez, and this breakthrough in representation helped jump-start the Chicano film movement that would flourish in the ’80s. “The importance of this film is monumental,” he says in the clip above, going on to explain why making the movie remains the “most enjoyable and difficult” experience in his acclaimed career.
Career Women in the Land of Lubitsch
Critics Molly Haskell and Farran Smith Nehme talk about the highly idiosyncratic heroines who populate Ernst Lubitsch’s comedies, including the protagonist of his final film, Cluny Brown.
Ritwik Ghatak’s Pursuit of Truth Beyond Realism
Acclaimed Indian filmmakers Saeed Akhtar Mirza and Kumar Shahani discuss how the Bengali master mixed expressionism and naturalism in his devastating domestic tragedy The Cloud-Capped Star.
A Howl of Defiance from the Italian Sixties
Marco Bellocchio’s subversive debut feature, Fists in the Pocket, emerged out of a period of social unrest, taking aim at both bourgeois values and Catholic hypocrisy.