The Great Mojado Invasion (The 2nd US-Mexico War)

Guillermo Gomez-Pena and Gustavo Vazquez

2001, 26:00 minutes, colour, English/Spanish


In The Great Mojado Invasion (The Second US - Mexico War), writer/performer Guillermo Gómez-Peña and filmmaker Gustavo Vazquez combine Chicano wit and political vision to create an ironic, post-millennial and postmodern look at the future of U.S./Mexican relations. Both artist and director generate a complex commentary on history, society, pop culture, the politics of language and the repercussions of ethnic dominance. Like a ghost from the future, Gómez-Peña (also known as the "Border Brujo" and "El Webback") narrates this "mock-umentary," which envisions a queue of mojados ("wetbacks") who reconquer lost Mexican territory to establish the new "U.S. of Aztlan." This pseudo-documentary presents a fictionalized account of the history of the current state of affairs, from pre-Columbian times to the immediate future.

The video begins at the inception of a second U.S./Mexico war. This time, contrary to history, Mexico is victorious. The nation-state as we currently know it has collapsed. The former-USA has been fragmented into a myriad of micro-republics loosely controlled by a multi-racial junta and governed by a Chicano prime minister appointed as El Gran Vato. "Spanglish" is the official language, treating the monolingual viewer as a "nomadic minority." Panicked by the "New Borders," Anglo militias desperately try to recapture the "Old Order." The "New Aztlan Regime" propagandizes itself by satirically depicting Anglos with the same stereotypes currently utilized against Latinos: a portrayal of dumb, lazy, violent, drug-taking lunatics who are demonized as "alien" invaders from outer space.

As the video moves through time, the artists reveal found-footage from Mexican B-movies and U.S.-made films depicting Latinos (e.g.,
The Three Amigos, Under the Volcano, Altered States, Disney animations, etc.). The outcome is a "whirlwind tour of Latino stereotypes in film. As in most of his work, Gómez-Peña toys with an underlying meta-theme: the fear and/or embracing of a psycho-sexual-political-racial borderland identity."

Through the juxtaposition of clips from campy Mexican genre films (sci-fi, wrestler, soft porn, historigraphical, and other exoticized kitsch) against stereotypes long popular in Hollywood, Gómez-Peña, along with his accomplice Vazquez, fabricates "a videographic hall of mirrors." The result is a multifaceted reflection shifting between fiction and the realities that expose the depth of internalized racism in this country. Gómez-Peña and Vasquez attack hard reality with large doses of irony and black humor.

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