HBO acquired Sundance darling La Leyenda Negra, an indie film that explores issues of racial and sexual identity in LA. Watch the trailer.
Newcomer Monica Betancourt plays Salvadoran immigrant Aleteia, an idealistic activist who is interested in more than friendship with classmate Rosarito, played by Kailei Lopez. It was filmed on location in Compton with actors who had not performed before.
Director Patricia Vidal Delgado‘s title refers to The Black Legend, a theory that history has been distorted on purpose by an anti-Spanish, anti-Catholic bias. While it is usually connected with the cultural conflicts between competing European empires, it’s also used in context of the Spanish Empire’s influence in the western hemisphere, particularly the subjugation of native peoples in the Americas. In this film, it is also connected with the racism and white supremacy that Aleteia says permeates US immigration policy.
Via Los Angeles Times:
A first-time performer without formal training, Betancourt is a true revelation and the most accomplished player in an impressive ensemble of nonactors. Her rendition of Aleteia emanates warranted anger and resentment toward the system that belittles her, without completely doing away with her youthful naiveté. Though suffering from occasional stiffness in the delivery, the Spanglish dialogue works often enough to feel entrenched to their identity. Standard high school trappings, such as a bully that could star in a Latino take on “Mean Girls” and an obligatory quinceañera, also populate the fast-paced plot.
Check it out on HBO or HBO Max.
Image: YouTube / HBO Latino