Pantelion: Neoliberalism and Media in the Age of Precarization
A joint venture between Mexican media company Televisa and Lionsgate, Pantelion is a film production and distribution venture aimed at US Latino audiences. Its catalog, however, departs from historical traditions of Latino and Chicano film in the United States, and its model of business more clearly resembles the aesthetics and ideologies developed by Mexican television and cinema in the neoliberal era. This paper discusses the way in which Pantelion films—both the ones produced in the United States and the ones imported from Mexico—participate in a new logic of neoliberalization of precarity. In other words, Pantelion productions reflect many of the economic and political concerns of the Latino community—such as economic justice and immigration—and its cultural traditions, but this reflection does not articulate a political stance, but rather a narrative that reconciles these economic difficulties in languages compatible with ideologies of meritocracy, racial hierarchy, and middle-class respectability identifiable with neoliberalism. This chapter seeks to show that the commoditization and representation of Latino issues in Pantelion’s catalog ultimately engage narratives where individuality, creativity, and other cultural ideologies deactivate communal and identitarian ideologies present in previous film and promote an idea of the Latino community as participating in a free-market society. The paper also aims to discuss the way in which these aesthetics of precarization have been essential to the current success of the studio. To illustrate these points, the chapter compares early films that participated in more traditional Latino cinema tropes, such as the representation of growing-up stories of young Latina women facing economic marginalization in films such as From Prada to Nada (Ángel Gracia, 2011), Girl in Progress (Patricia Riggen, 2012), and Filly Brown (Youssef Delara and Michael D. Olmos, 2012), and the role that Mexican neoliberal cinema and Televisa played in the reconfiguration of the studio’s ideologies, using the example of Instructions not Included (Eugenio Derbez, 2013).
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