Latin American movies provide perspective

Narayan Núñez Blandon-Staff Writer

The language department and Students Without Borders (SWB) started off the semester-long Latin American Movie Festival at Dordt College, Sept. 21 in the Eckhart Lounge by displaying the Argentinian film, Diarios de motocicleta (The Motorcycle Diaries).

The presented film is based on the memoirs of Ernesto Guevara, famously known as Che Guevara, as he and a friend travel through the South American countries of Argentina, Chile, and Peru on a motorcycle.

The film not only displays the lifestyles and living conditions of South America in the 1950’s, but it also displays a different perspective of Che Guevara, who is commonly seen as a negative figure in the United States.

Junior Reuben Van Gaalen watched The Motorcycle Diaries for the first time, and he thinks that it was both fun and engaging.

“I think it did provide a different perspective on Che than a lot of people growing up in the United States hear about. I benefited from it,” Van Gaalan. “Anybody watching The Motorcycle Diaries movie would have liked it.”

Spanish professor Rikki Heldt believes that the Latin American Movie Festival is an opportunity for bringing the world to the campus.

“The purpose of the Latin American Movie Festival is to promote cross cultural understanding and to keep working towards the globally engaged campus,” she said.

“These movies are so different from what American movies do: It is more about character development than just blowing stuff up. It is a different perspective. I find (these movies) fascinating because you have to think, they make you think about deeper issues,” Heldt said.

With the Latin American Movie Festival, SWB hopes to provide Dordt students the opportunity of engaging with other cultures by experiencing different types of filming styles such as those which help the viewers connect with the main character.

In order to satisfy the existing need at Dordt College for cultural awareness, Paraguayan student Juan Pablo Benitez saw that presenting movies could be a powerful initiative.

“Dordt has some cultural activities, but it is not a big thing yet. There are not many opportunity for Dordt Students to engage culturally,” Benitez said.

Benitez recognizes that Latin American movies are extremely different from the typical American movie.

“It is hard when you come expecting to watch action, guns, cars and all of these special effects,” Benitez said. “You are not going to find that in low budgeted movies or in foreign movies that try to tell stories related to reality and common life. If expect to watch [the action], you are going to be disappointed.”


Heldt and Benitez understand that Dordt students might be biased against the movies because they are in another language and in a different style. Both acknowledge that the movies are in another language and that some students dislike reading English subtitles. Nevertheless, they encourage all students to give the movies a chance and to come with an open mind.

Every month, a Latin American movie will be presented at the Eckhart Lounge. The movies to be presented include Under the Same Moon, The Secret in Their Eyes, and Elite Squad. Each movie deals with different themes such as romance, immigration and injustice.

On Saturday, Oct. 19th at 9:30 p.m., the movie Bajo la Misma Luna (Under the Same Moon) will be presented. The film deals with illegal immigration by presenting it from the angle of the immigrant.


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