They converge in the form of Spanish immigrants to the city, a place where, as the song goes, "if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere. Do they succeed? Do they Americanize even as they remain Spanish in spirit? New York is the quintessential center of the proverbial American multicultural "melting pot. Do the American and Spanish merge into a Spanish-American?
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They converge in the form of Spanish immigrants to the city, a place where, as the song goes, "if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere. Do they succeed? Do they Americanize even as they remain Spanish in spirit?
New York is the quintessential center of the proverbial American multicultural "melting pot. Do the American and Spanish merge into a Spanish-American? They are neither unequivocally Spanish nor unequivocally American -- it is less clear what it means to be unequivocally American unless it means to be a white Anglo-Saxon Protestant than to be unequivocally Spanish, however much Spain has been at odds with itself since the Spanish Civil War, and in decline since it lost its empire.
Balder invites us to wonder whether their Americanness is a superficial gloss on their Spanishness, unessential to it yet necessary, as a sort of a old, reliable emotional anchor, if they are to survive and prosper in the difficult brave New World of ever-new New York.
He offers us a psychological portrait of Spanish Americans in the course of examining their situation in New York. He suggests that they have created an insular ghetto that nonetheless looks all-American and outgoing on the surface. In showing the contradiction that is their identity, his film achieves universal validity, for it conveys the larger dialectical truth about immigrants to a foreign country -- and there are many of them these days, particularly from countries that have failed their native-born, as contemporary Spain has.
Little Spain shows that a documentary film need not be simplistically descriptive, but can be an aesthetic feat respecting the subtlety of the "moving" medium. He is as intimate with his medium as he is with his Spanish-Americans. His documentary affords a kind of existential experience of the existential reality of everyday Spanish Americans, even as it conveys the kaleidoscopic richness and complexity of their New York environment, registering its deep effect on them.
His Spanish Americans may be assimilated Americans, yet their Spanishness seems to resist assimilation, for they remain traditional in their beliefs however modern in their appearance, proudly American outwardly yet defiantly Spanish inwardly.
Images for kids Career Artur Balder is the author of several children books. His literature is published and internationally distributed by Random House in Spain and South America. His historical fiction sagas, published by Edhasa, are inspired by Germanic heroes like Arminius in the times of ancient Rome, or the Saxon duke Widukind , who leaded a rebellion during early Middle Ages against emperor Charlemagne. His books are translated into several languages. Among others: Dutch , Italian , French , Romanian.
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