Dir. Jesús Treviño, 16mm Sound 00:30:00
AMÉRICA TROPICAL relates the history of the controversial 1932 Olvera Street fresco of the same name. The artist, David Alfaro Siqueiros, has said, "My mural was the mural of a Mexican painter who had fought in the Revolution, who knew that his first duty, before aesthetic concerns, was to fulfill the expression of his ideology." Depicting a Mexican crucified on a double-cross, topped by an American eagle and flanked by an Aztec warrior and revolutionary soldier aiming rifles at the eagle, the mural offered an uncompromising statement against U.S. imperialism in Latin America and the treatments of Latinos/as in this country. A week after its completion, the mural was ordered whitewashed, and it remained so until restoration efforts were begun in 1970. Produced by Jesús Treviño and filmed by Barry Nye, the documentary traces Chicano history in Los Angeles and features interviews with the 74-year-old Siquieros, as well as other artists, art historians, and the mural's restorationists.
[Source: Scratching the Belly of the Beast Catalogue, 1994]