As we witnessed recently through the writer's strike in Hollywood, television and screenwriters can make or break a town that is dependent on the movie and TV business. But beyond economics, writers also have the power to ultimately make a movie a success or not. LA MISMA LUNA or UNDER THE SAME MOON is a good example of what can be done with the pen of a powerful writer.
It's been years since I saw a movie about Mexicans crossing the border that went past the politics to the heart of the matter. La Misma Luna or Under the Same Moon written by Ligiah Villalobos has finally made that journey. The story is told from the point of view of a child. It's about a nine-year old boy who crosses the border from Mexico and into the U.S. to find his mother after his grandmother passes away. Throughout the movie, his only comfort is that his mother is looking at the same moon: "My mom said, when I miss her, I should look at the moon because she will be looking at it too."
The story starts in Juarez and follows Carlitos on his trip to Tucson and finally ending in East Los Angeles. Throughout his journey you feel his sense of abandonment. The only clue he has to find his mom in East L.A. is her description of the street corner from which she has called him each Sunday morning for the last four years.
Carlitos is, of course, just one of the countless children left behind by parents who come to the U.S. seeking a way to provide for their families. Without giving away the ending, the best part of this movie is that you are left feeling not only touched by this mother and son's bond of love but also by the global problems of immigration and economics that so many times get lost in the politics of a movie.
At a recent screening, Villalobos said she wanted the audience to see the movie through a child's feelings of abandonment. Villalobos added that she had similar personal experiences in her childhood that made writing the character easy.
La Misma Luna / Under the Same Moon opens Wednesday, March 19th at select theatres.
Velia La Garda:
Velia La Garda is a five time Emmy award winning television producer. For over ten years she produced the Vista L.A. show with Henry Alfaro at ABC7. Today she is the Education & Children's Programming Coordinator at KCET Los Angeles.