Perhaps the funniest – as well as most cleverly satirical and subversive – comedy to be born out of a parody song, 1987’s Born in East L.A. celebrates its 30th Anniversary this year! Catch it at The Frida Cinema November 13th and 14th — advance tickets now available at The Frida Cinema’s box office, or online at boxoffice.printtixusa.com/fridacinema/advance?i=20714
Written by, directed by, and starring comedy legend Cheech Marin, and based on the 1985 song he released as part of the comedy duo Cheech & Chong, Born in East L.A. marked Marin’s first solo venture from his famed duo, as well as his feature film directorial debut. Marin plays Rudy Robles, an American-born Hispanic who finds himself accidentally caught up in a Immigration Department raid and, not having identification on him, is deported to Mexico. Stranded in Tijuana and speaking virtually no Spanish, he is reduced to working a variety of jobs for a crooked saloon owner in order to make the money to pay for his “illegal immigration” back into the United States, all while finding himself falling in love with waitress Dolores, and trying in vain to reach his family back home – notably his cousin Javier (a hilarious Paul Rodriguez), whose adventures with an ironically placed answering machine provide what might be the film’s greatest belly laughs.
Marin, who in real life is custodian to a private collection of more than 700 works of Chicano art that, as was recently announced, will soon find a home at America’s first arts center dedicated exclusively to Mexican-American art in Riverside CA, has been a lifelong and vocal advocate of Chicano culture and art, and while Born in East L.A. provides its fair share of effective laughs and comic set-pieces, the film doesn’t hold back in its examination of a flawed and unsympathetic system, showing couples being torn apart, humans treated with cruel indignity, and the lengths, and fiscal and emotional expense, that many go through simply to reconnect with their families. In Marin’s hands, the film is a laugh riot, but try not to feel goosebumps when the Neil Diamond hits…