Barry McNamara  |  Published August 31, 2021

Exploring Immigration

Monmouth College Latin American & Latino Film Festival to focus on that topic, beginning Sept. 8.

MONMOUTH, Ill. – In its third year, Monmouth College’s Latin American & Latino Film Festival will explore issues of immigration.

JENNIFER THORNDIKE: Immigration – particularly Latin American immigration – is a fundamental par... JENNIFER THORNDIKE: “Immigration – particularly Latin American immigration – is a fundamental part of the cultural, social, political and economic shaping of the U.S."Organized by Monmouth professor Jennifer Thorndike, this fall’s series is composed of five films, which will be shown throughout the semester at 7 p.m. on Wednesdays in the Pattee Auditorium, located on the lower level of the Center for Science and Business. A short discussion will follow each film in the series, which is free and open to the public. Those in attendance will be required to wear masks.

Thorndike, said she chose the film festival’s topic primarily because of its relevance and importance to many Monmouth students.

“Immigration – particularly Latin American immigration – is a fundamental part of the cultural, social, political and economic shaping of the U.S.,” said Thorndike. “Immigrants have been part of the creation of this country and are a bigger part of its future. We need to learn and listen to the immigrant stories because they are – and will continue being – an undeniable part of U.S. history.”

Up first in the series is Who Is Dayani Cristal?, which will be shown Sept. 8. Deep in the sun-blistered Sonora desert beneath a cicada tree, Arizona border police discover a decomposing male body. Lifting a tattered T-shirt they expose a tattoo that reads “Dayani Cristal.” Who is this person? What brought him here? How did he die? And who – or what – is Dayani Cristal?

Other films in the series include:

• Sept. 22: Chinese Take-Away (Argentina)
• Oct. 6: The Journey of Monalisa (U.S. and Chile)
• Oct. 27: The Return (Costa Rica)
• Nov. 10: The Wall: The Effect of Its Imposing Presence on Migrant Families (U.S. and Latin America)

FIRST FILM: The festival will begin Sept. 8 with a screening of Who Is Dayani Cristal.&quot... FIRST FILM: The festival will begin Sept. 8 with a screening of "Who Is Dayani Cristal."“Three of the stories are about Latinos – people who are here in the United States,” said Thorndike. “We also need to hear their stories. … So that’s new for the series. Before, we didn’t have films in English.”

Thorndike hopes viewers will learn from the films and have empathy for the characters, and that they’ll “think about what is happening and what they can do to have a better world – to be a better professional, to be a better person, to be a better citizen.”

The series is sponsored by the Monmouth College Department of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures. It was made possible by the support of Pragda, SPAIN arts & culture, and the Secretary of State for Culture of Spain.

Listen Up … 

Hear Jennifer Thorndike preview the Latin American & Latino Film Festival on the 1853 Podcast

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