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The raw honesty of Mujeres is in fact the raw honesty of Mendoza. It is in an ancestral, spiritual journey in which Mendoza comes to terms with the influence and limitations of her upbringing. Y La Bamba exists in the dimension of the Mexican American imagination: somewhere cynical and optimistic at the same time.
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Where do mujeres fit in to the American story? What are the sins for which we are all guilty?
How do different generations interact with the world? They don't attempt any more complex trajectory than the thrilling rise to fame, followed by the terrible irony of life cut off in its prime.
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They are made in the same eager, admiring spirit that marked their heroes' or heroines' love of popular music. At their best, they bring that music to life all over again.
Born Ricardo Valenzuela, a Mexican-American raised in California, Valens was apparently a dutiful son and a clean-cut, hard-working schoolboy. He grew up poor, and in he was still picking fruit to help support his family.
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In he changed his name. He had three top records, among them ''Donna'' and the title song. His career was only eight months old when, in , at the age of 17, he died. It's a sad story, but ''La Bamba'' doesn't make the mistake of being morbid. It concentrates instead on Valens's nice-guy side and on his love of rock-and-roll.
Lou Diamond Phillips was ‘scared’ to fail in ‘La Bamba’ breakout role
Luis Valdez, who wrote and directed ''La Bamba,'' also devotes a lot of attention to Valens's competitive relationship with his half-brother, Bob Morales Esai Morales , but Bob is a one-note boorish character - he drinks, picks fights, sells drugs, steals Valens's girl and then mistreats her - and this part of the film is its weakest. It's much better in capturing the Chicano world from which Valens came, and the music performed vibrantly on the soundtrack by Los Lobos that he made. A film like this is quite naturally a showcase for its star, and as Valens, Lou Diamond Phillips has a sweetness and sincerity that in no way diminish the toughness of his onstage persona.
The role is blandly written, but Mr. Phillips gives Valens backbone.
On the set, Sobel said, Phillips sang and strummed to the prerecorded Los Lobos music, usually a verse at a time. By shooting scenes from different angles, Phillips did not have to be perfectly in sync for long stretches of a song and the music and film editors could patch numbers together from a series of short bursts.
La Bamba - Single Version, a song by Ritchie Valens on Spotify
Sobel said Los Lobos recorded 30 versions to the first verse and middle section of that number, each slightly different in musical phrasing or actual wording. Seven were finally used in the movie. We made up cue cards for each one and as he sang them through each take, I sat below the microphone holding up cue cards.
The scene took one nightmarishly long day, Sobel said, and ended late in the evening with Phillips completing his one successful take of the final full-length song version that appears in the film.
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