Bordertown Article

Thanks to genx for the heads up on this Bordertown article from the Albuquerque Tribune.

Gregory Nava knows there’s a big gulf between characters and caricatures, and bridging that distance drives him as he hones his craft.

Lauded by many film critics as a moviemaker who can deftly etch nuance and drama based on the lives – and sometimes, deaths – of real people, Nava says his film “Bordertown” will concentrate on telling a story rather than making a statement.

“It’s a thriller, a drama, a story about people. It’s not a political piece at all,” says Nava, the film’s writer and director. “That stuff is best left for books and essays and newspapers. But what I can do as a dramatist, with actors like Jennifer Lopez, Maya Zapata and Antonio Banderas, what we can do, is give some humanity to the situation.”

“Bordertown,” which is filming in Albuquerque this month, is based on the largely unsolved killings of hundreds of Mexican women in and around Juarez on the U.S.-Mexico border. Lopez plays a Chicago-based newspaper reporter sent south to investigate.

Lopez’s hot celebrity status almost certainly will bring notice to the film, but Nava says he hopes “Bordertown” will be able to offer the victims of the Juarez killings a voice, a humanity, their often unnoticed deaths never allowed.

“I guess what we’re trying to do with this movie is give a face; give those shadows a heart and a soul and make it human,” he says.

If Nava is successful, “Bordertown” may join a string of his other movies that have provided audiences with a multifaceted look at the lives of Hispanics – glimpses that go far beyond Ricky Ricardo stereotypes.

He is perhaps best known for directing Lopez in the wildly successful “Selena” in the 1997 but his style first gained notice in 1983 with “El Norte,” a story of immigrants making their way in the United States after escaping a quiet but deadly war in Guatemala.

“I was always amazed at how effective that film was at bringing attention to that situation,” he says, leaning forward in the spare recreational vehicle he is using as an on-set office. “I mean, a movie can do a lot. But it has to have humanity. It must be a drama. What I resisted doing in `El Norte’ was making it a political film. I made it a film about people and that’s why it was successful.

“That’s what I’m doing here. It’s about people. Characters are strong in this piece and they’re a very good story.”

For good background, Nava is using Albuquerque – a place that, improbably, doubles as both El Paso and Chicago. His cast, which also includes Martin Sheen, is filming in a variety of local settings, including The Tribune newsroom.

Nava, 56, and a father of two children, knows the area. He owns a home in Santa Fe.

“I never thought I could live outside of the odor of the salt on the ocean,” says Nava, who grew up in San Diego, “but I love the smell of pi?ons. The air here is even nicer and more beautiful. Certainly more beautiful than Los Angeles.”

Nava says he wrote his initial draft of the story in 12 weeks, but his interest in the subject – much like the killings themselves – has been around for a long time. He’s worked on the script for four years.

“There’s no answer for it,” he says of the killings. “There’s no answer to who is doing this in Juarez and there’s no answer for why the press in the U.S. doesn’t cover it more and why they haven’t focused on it more. Hundreds, maybe even thousands of women have been killed. . . there’s really no other situation like it in the world, but there you go. So why doesn’t it get reported? That’s a good question.”

One question may lead to another, then another: In the end, that’s what Nava will use as a yardstick of his movie’s success.

“It would be nice if people, if they’re moved by it, to question and maybe draw some attention to the situation,” he says. “And maybe put pressure on people.”

3 Responses to “Bordertown Article”

  1. Steve says:

    New Mexico welcomes JLo and the film interest (and it’s exposeure to divisity), I understand the film “Bordertown” will not only show the full spectrum of colorful people in New Mexico / Mexico but will expose truths, realities of the SW States. Keep it going J. Your Doing great. I hope you profit dearly from this realist (BRAVE) account of the “Border-people” Anglo-Saxon people included (thats me) – There is no other better interest down here but about you and your film, Best Reagrds.
    From Albuquerque, NM

  2. cheddad nesrine says:

    I love Jennifer lopez , she is the best and my dreams is to go in her home and talk with her thank you……..
    jlo you are the best,I love you , you are my life , I kiss you ……..

  3. mikey says:

    i am an fbi agent in this movie and i will be discovered and be a major hollywood actor soon