Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month Film Series Concludes With Screening of Short Film La Serenata
Julian Corbett

The School’s first-ever Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month film series concluded last week with a screening and discussion of La Serenata, a short film about two parents searching for a way to share their musical heritage with their son after he expresses his affection for another boy. The film, directed by Adelina Anthony and written by Ernesto Javier Martínez, was a winner of the 2019 HBO Latinx Short Film Competition and is streaming on HBO Max.

The film prompted a constructive and insightful discussion of Hispanic and Latinx heritage, the complexity of sexual orientation and identity and cultural and individual attitudes toward gender roles. “You have to remember that in Latin societies to this day there is machismo – where it's very masculine and boys don't cry,” said Spanish teacher Gustavo Lovato. “And so it’s a big step for this family to go through a situation that perhaps they've never dealt with. It existed, but it was very much in the closet. And now it's coming out in a beautiful way.” Student Sam D. '21 added, “The most beautiful moment for me was when the mother said to her husband, ‘This is your son. Remember that this is your son. You promised to raise a loving family together.’ That really touched me.”

Much of the conversation focused on the film’s touching portrayal of two parents who work against cultural expectations and implicit biases to help their son express his romantic affection for another boy through song. Students and teachers connected the film to Blindspot, one of the books on the Prep School’s summer reading list and the subject of faculty professional development workshops over the summer. “There is a quote I think about – ‘That what defines you isn’t what your first thought is, but what your second thought is,’” said student Celia G. '21. “Because your first thought is what this world that you've grown up in has told you you should be uncomfortable with. But your second thought, that’s who you are as a person.”

World Language Department Head Anne Grande closed the discussion with gratitude for the attendees and the work of everyone involved in organizing the film series. “Thank you to MECA for helping us select these four films,” she said. “And to each and every one of you who came in with an open mind, who learned something or took a little bit away from another person's perspective. That's really what this was intended for.”

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