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Mexico City in Los Angeles

by Veronica Paredes

Gregory Nava's award-winning independent film EL NORTE tells the story of a brother and sister who are forced to migrate from Guatemala to Los Angeles. This scene follows the story of Rosa, the sister, as she has just escaped an INS raid at the garment job she just began. Rosa relies on Nacha, played by prolific Mexican American film actress Lupe Ontiveros, to show her around after she leads Rosa away from the raid. Presumably the garment job was downtown as the two travel to South Broadway for lunch. Rosa is surprised by the dominance of Latino population on the street. Others might be equally surprised by the proximity and connections the garment industry has to Historic Theater District on Broadway that would lead to Rosa and Nacha to lunch there.

Mexico City on Broadway

Narrowly escaping a raid by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) Rosa and Nacha share lunch at a restaurant called " Ricos | Tacos | Mexico." From the Palace marquee and storefront windows we can identify this Downtown Los Angeles location as South Broadway. Surprised by the ethnicity of the population on the street, Rosa comments that the street looks just like a street in Mexico.

from El Norte (1983)
Creator: Gregory Nava
Distributor: The Criterion Collection
Posted by Veronica Paredes