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In Search of Aztlan

Distributed by Cinema Guild, 115 West 30th Street, Suite 800, New York, NY 10001; 212-685-6242
Produced by Alfonso Espinosa
Directed by Jesus Trevino
VHS, color, 57 min.
Jr. High - College
Latin American Studies, Multicultural Studies

Reviewed by Ernarosa Tominich, MLS, Trocaire College Library, Buffalo NY

Highly Recommended  Highly Recommended   
Date Entered: 10/29/2004

Take a mysterious map, instructions from a book called The Script of Life, some Mexican-Chicano voodoo, some rap … mix it with the shenanigans of the comedy trio, Culture Clash, and you get In Search of Aztlan. What or who is Aztlan you ask? Aztlan is both a place and an ideology.

Aztlan is the symbolic place predating the Pilgrims, where Aztec culture originates in the Southwestern United States. And that is what our three comedians look for as they drive across California, Arizona and Utah guided by a map that corresponds to several historical maps of the 1500’s. Each ancient site they visit, some going back 700 A.D., recounts the legend and history of indigenous cultures.

This video takes the myth-story of Aztlan and the richness of ancient cultures and creates a political goal to control the social and economic destiny of today’s young indigenous people. Hence Aztlan the ideology evolves from Aztlan, the place. The ideology of Aztlan recounts an ancestral legacy that young Latinos and Chicanos can adopt in their hearts and use as a guide to live and strive for social justice, and for personal reaffirmation of their roots.

The style and vivre of this saucy video production combines originality, good professional photography, sequential narrative and organization with punch and pizzazz. Entertaining and a bit outrageous, this narrative style appeals to today’s “macho culture” and delivers a powerful message of revelation and guidance for young Mexican Americans and Latinos.

Highly recommended for junior high school through college.