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Cultural Appropriation

Updated: Nov 2, 2023

The many masks of devotion.

This winter 2022, the newest movie version of the Classic "Pinocchio" was publicly released.

Even if it has been done before, this one resulted pretty singular to me: first, because it is a truthful piece of art that got to marvel the eyes of my inner child; second, because I consider myself an enthusiastic admirer of the Director and Producer: Guillermo del Toro. In the same way I empathize with his shared opinion about the crisis in which the Mexican Production Companies currently find themselves.

Once I read this article from social media in spanish, I could see how his point of view makes sense, from the perspective in which Mexico is a sit of millenary cultures, in which there is no way that it is a coincidence to be an entity in such an strategic geographic grounds: those roots are larger than the branches, let's just dig down.

I recently visited back Mexico City and I would dare to say that it is then, due to the lack of specific treats of education that we surrender ourselves to the limited content being given to us mainly via social media, to purposedly keep the collective at a certain intellectual level.

They rule, which that's their task, their job and destiny... Including the ones with no face, and the film-makers (going back to the point), of course.

In this way, meanwhile we keep fighting against our fellow others to impose our own rightful judgment, Social Media and entities with financial power such as the Film Industry, found the diffusion of the indigenous culture and brown skinned people (restrictions apply) statistically profitable.

From a demographic point of view then, we find ourselves right at the beginning of a cultural peak, wielding an ever changing economical force; not just as Mexicans but as Latin - Americans. Under this umbrella, (including the relative descendants of the American Aboriginal races, whose presence I want to recognize) maybe many reconsider the economic influence of this new multi - cultural, multi - race ethnicity, as a Continental force, which we are at this point in history: a whole race made of the collective; an upgraded version of humanity planted in the soil of a country called Mexico, heart and deep rooted navel, beyond color and space.

Many will be against the thought I just shared. That's normal and expected, they are entitled; let's remark first, that it results more productive finding the things we possess in common and dialogue about it with the aim of expanding perspectives.

Hence, instead of focusing in our differences, let's focus in the things we are happy to share looking forward to enrich each other, not to weaken. Our mind converges where all the points of view do, and: right there is where the solutions spring out of.

After all, the nearest way to the so claimed Truth is the concept each of us has of It within oneself. The one who is aware of the present human capacity, know that we are limited by what we think is true, not by Truth itself.

The Film industry is the prefect petri dish for this, but instead of being claimers of one truth they create their own answers, realities... and ultimate truths!

Sounds familiar?...

The Film Industry is rather a reflection of the ways of our collective mind.

And so it is every art in stage of refinement... unstoppable.

Hence, the questions I want to put on the table to finally open dialogue about the Cultural Appropriation topic, as an example that surely will be recognizable by the cinephiles then, are the next ones:

- Why do the combination of ancient mythologies and super heroes transmigrating to the big screens as a cinematographic phenomena, results in being one of the most evident examples of #CulturalAppropriation?

- Why again this concept turns into one more metaphorical figure, just like the one presented by the implied message in the anthropologic myth of "El Dorado"?

From the stance the movie industry wants to make their movies, seeing all of the mentioned above, as a Mexican soil born person... I feel inevitably uncomfortable.

I looked within myself for the origin and I believe that it comes from the fact of feeling invaded from the moment I got aware that nowadays it is the famous directors that, by law, have to belong to a Union, (to which you can only get access into if you accepted to be part of a certain Elite based on exorbitant amounts of money donations) the same Elite in charge of communicating to the world a version of history, so much in their own ways that they are turning them into the best History dish for the new generations...

I applaud that without hesitation!

In this world, everything you want takes character and a big effort; and this go to the Mexicans that keep feeling ripped off and stripped away...

Either someone is being slapped in the face because they think they deserve it and taking it, or because they want to be given a reason to fight back?

It is a very human characteristic not to start giving value to what we have, until a situation or someone comes around and pulls us out to a different stand point and reminds us the real value of it.

Eventually, the cinematography ambit is opening the doors to our culture in ways we never thought about. Right there is where I want to appreciate their contribution as industry and how they have their sight focus in the whole panorama.

What I would consider questionable, in any case then, is that these distorted versions of our National History and heritage are the ones with what the world is being educated and informed about us: Mexicans; as if they had read it directly from a book written in the middle of the Inquisition in America.

Which might be the case of some of the writers and producers, whose until now haven't shared the proper credits to the original sources: the ones who survived the Viceroyalty in American soil, or at least the ones who quote them as "their source"... right here is where this, the prime evidence of what I've observed as #CulturalAppropriation lies on...

WHO are the truthful "sources" of these inquisitive writers?

Really people, I am very interested in knowing it, because I've taken the time to read the credits and none of them say: "Fray Bernardino de Sahagun and his INFORMANTS".

The most ethical answer to such situation then, could be that part of the earnings get designated to support Indigenous Communities all around the World from where the original knowledge comes from, as keepers of the memory and tradition. I am fairly using this article to at least mention them as an original source.

I coincide with the Movie Industry, giving diffusion and at the same time recognizing a cultural aspect in our Mexican lives. Although, let's not forget that one of their greatest functions is educate the collective; not miss-inform, not (by any means) hypnotize.

In my case, I've rather hold this space to resume what I research so I can keep tying up the dots; meanwhile also, convoking the Mexican Film Industry to support constructive talents which, for sure, have profoundly contributive ideas.

Let's keep enriching our cultures by overcoming instead of trying to impose. Holding hands like creating pathways we can actually enrich our knowledge without forgetting to give the deserved credit to whom it is deserved. We have a treasure of knowledge that deserves to be exposed in its total splendor like a refined piece of art to decode.

It is in this exact moment that i want to bring the focus back to the Directors and Mexican Producers like Guillermo that among others that it won't be necessary to mention because their names had already resonated in our minds, since they've transcended frontiers in unimaginable ways.

It looks like it is time to open the doors to a new generation of refreshing talent. I'd say, let's bring to the front those born to be talents; the ones that do what they do gracefully and no matter the setback, because it springs off naturally from them.

Let's focus our attention in those ones that yet have a lot to say, by listening those ancestral voices that still resonate through us, via this contemporary artistic sensibility of which we are heirs.

If the topic got you interested, then you are ready to recognize the heroes of our shared history. They will inspire you if you know where to find them. Like the great artists did. Those who recognize that the pillars of the temples represent the principles and values of each culture from its foundation, to be shared to the world as timeless as every giant temple under each mountain.

Obersand Eréndira Franco Medina.

Xochinóchtli, A Catus Flower.


IMAGEN: Templo de La Inmaculada Concepción, Ciudad de México. 2021.

Primer templo de evangelización fundado en la Ciudad de México.

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