What better way to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month – running from now until October 15th – than by immersing yourself in Latino cinema?
The streaming service Kanopy, founded in 2008, offers over 30,000 titles from a variety of studios and multiple genres. Users can stream the titles via the Kanopy website or through a multitude of different electronic devices including Chromecast and Roku. All that’s needed? A library card from either your public or university library gets you free access to the site. Yes, free movies for the price of a library card!
In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, Kanopy has dedicated a section of their site to films representative of the best of Latino filmmaking, especially in the U.S. A brief taste of what Kanopy has includes Gregory Nava’s 1983 drama El Norte. Described by Roger Ebert as a “a Grapes of Wrath for our time,” El Norte follows a brother and sister fleeing their native Guatemala and finding a new life in the United States. According to the Kanopy synopsis: “…the personal travails of immigrants crossing the border to America had never been shown in the movies with such urgent humanism.”
The site boasts several documentaries capturing the varied Latino experience throughout history, and one of them is Rudy Luna’s 2013 story Stolen Education: The Legacy of Hispanic Racism in Schools. The doc shows the changing face of racism in the Southwest and “the children who challenged discrimination in Texas schools in the 1950s.” Brenda Avila-Hanna’s short film Vida Diferida (Life, Deferred), one of two recommended docs to seek out if you’d like to learn more about DACA; Avila-Hanna’s film looks at a college-bound student brought here under DACA but worried she’ll be sent back if it’s rescinded.
Want to celebrate US Latino filmmakers specifically? Kanopy includes a section devoted especially to them. Panamanian-American Anayansi Prado’s 2008 film Children in No Man’s Land “uncovers the current plight of the 100,000 unaccompanied minors entering the United States” while her follow-up, Paraiso for Sale examines the rapid migration within her native Panama. There’s also José Enrique Pardo’s 2012 feature Cubamerican: A Million Refugees’ Quest for Freedom detailing the entire history of the Cuban Revolution and the displacement many Cuban refugees feel here in the United States.
You can see the complete list of Hispanic Heritage month titles on the Kanopy website, and be sure to check out the hundreds of additional titles we initially recommended that you can stream on Kanopy.