REFUGE AND SUBTERFUGE: THE AMBIVALENCE OF MIGRANT IDENTITY IN THE MEXICAN-AMERICAN ROAD MOVIES LA MISMA LUNA AND SIN NOMBRE

In Patricia Riggen’s film La misma luna (2007) and Cary Joji Fukunaga’s film Sin nombre (2009), the road is not depicted as a place of escape that represents the freedom of the road often seen in traditional North American road movies; rather, the road in these films becomes a means of escape towards the ideal of freedom that lies across the United States border. In each of these films, crossing the border from Mexico becomes an objective for the protagonists that hope for a future filled with economic stability and political equality. This is, however, an ‘American dream’ that can never be fully realized across the border when a tragic loss of home, family, and belonging has been manifested on the southern side. The following article reveals how the identities of these migrants are caught between the acts of subterfuge and the desires of refuge, creating an ambiguous formation of cultural identity different from that which is established in their homeland. The road, in this way, creates new hybrid identities that illustrate well the modern Latin American condition of cultural mobility across borders.

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