The world of Marisol Torres' Boricua is populated by a diverse array of characters, all living in the same Chicago neighborhood. There's Lola, a vivacious college student who loves her philosophy class and embraces all sorts of pleasures; Willie, a small-time drug dealer stuck in the old ways of the 'hood, not looking to change; Herman, who's trying to improve himself through a career in real estate, but is forced to make choices that compromise his integrity and his friends; and Tata, a woman intent on winning the Puerto Rican Day Beauty Pageant -- if she can prove to the community that she is, in fact, Puerto Rican. Utilizing a style reminiscent of Do the Right Thing, Torres follows these characters as they make their way through the days leading up to the Puerto Rican Day Parade. As in Spike Lee's film, a colorful group of minor characters rounds out the superb cast, and the subtly interwoven stories all come together at the film's climax. Torres' unique voice marks her as a new writer/director to watch.
Director's Statement Collapse
I've always been fascinated by the varying factors which contribute to the formation of one's identity. What prevents certain individuals from breaking free of the roles imposed on them by socio-economic, cultural, educational, and environmental factors? How does the way we see ourselves compare with how others perceive us? What drives an individual's desire to be accepted by his or her community, and how far are they willing to go to achieve that aim? My desire to address these issues served in large part as the inspiration for this film. The predominantly Puerto Rican neighborhood of Chicago's Humboldt Park served both as a vibrant and colorful setting as well as a study in identity. Not only does gentrification challenge one of the film's main characters, a young man who sells out his own people, but also the entire community as a whole, which struggles to maintain its identity in the face of rapid and inescapable change. Boricua was truly a group effort. With 46 speaking parts, 50 different locations, and no money, it could not have been made without the heart and soul of an exceptional cast, crew, and the Puerto Rican community. An independent film in every sense, both cast and crew worked for free, actors doubled as crew members, and the project spent an eternity in post-production. We somehow managed to create a film that both embodies the great spirit and flavor of Humboldt Park while simultaneously representing the negative attributes which plague this community, in the sincere hopes that they would be recognized and changed. I am so grateful that we were able to make this film--it was an experience of a lifetime and it belongs to all of us.
About the Director(s)Collapse
Marisol Torres recently received her M.A. in film and video from Columbia College, where she is a member of the part-time faculty in the film/video department. She has worked on several film, television, and multimedia projects in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. In Los Angeles she worked for Jersey Films, David Vogel of Disney Pictures, and Kevin Foxe from the Blair Witch Project. In New York, she continues to work on various pilot projects with Richard Sweren, coexecutive producer of Law and Order.