From Prada to Nada – A Film About Mexican American Identity?
I finally watched “From Prada to Nada” this week. And by finally, I mean that it’s been starring me in the face on Netflix and I’ve been avoiding it. Why? Well, Prada’s not my thing…I’m clueless about fashion, I’m deterred by stories about the rich life and I wondered…is this going to be another Hollywood movie that pokes fun at how pathetic living la vida mexicana is? I mean being Mexican is about as bad as it gets in this country, right? So to go from Prada to Nada means que mexicanos no tiene nada, verdad??
But I ran out of choices on Netflix and figured, what the heck, I’ll give it a try…and a funny thing happened…I actually kind of liked it. I liked the play on bicultural identities that we see when the wealthy huera (light-skinned girl) is transported into East LA and suddenly having to address her cultural roots for the first time and feels out of place. At the same time, the other sister embraces her roots intently. It may have been a little far-fetched, but on a less dramatic level, this is part of the American reality for many Latinos. I liked seeing the strong-willed, altruistic non-fluent Latina connecting with a white boy who speaks Spanish and has lived in East LA all his life…cute. This is something I can personally relate to, since I’m in an interracial relationship and sometimes feel like the huera in the group or like the solitary Anglo who is enveloped in the Latino community.
The fact that they chose East LA as the “obvious opposite” of Beverly Hills is slightly obnoxious. I’m always confused by films that break down stereotypes while simultaneously reinforcing them. What’s the point? But I guess I was glad to see that their portrayal was less offensive than most mainstream films. Another thing I wonder about is why there are virtually no Mexicans in this Mexican American story, but that’s a whole other discussion.
*sigh* … Hollywood.
I think what I enjoyed most in the whole film though, was the commentary from the tia and her friends who saw these two girls as a source of entertainment and chismes…lol. They were fun to watch because we’ve got older women in our church who are like this…not to mention suegra.