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La Mission

4.6 out of 5 stars 185 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Set in the colorful, seedy streets of the San Francisco district that bears its name, La MISSION is a haunting story of healing and transformation: the healing of a broken man, of a father s relationship with his son, and of a neighborhood struggling to break the chains of violence.

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For this affecting labor of love, Peter Bratt focuses on a Latino widower with rigid views on masculinity. A bus driver covered in tattoos, Che Rivera (the filmmaker's brother, Benjamin Bratt) lives in San Francisco's Mission District with his son, Jes (Jeremy Ray Valdez). A recovering alcoholic who customizes low-riders on the side, Che takes pride in the high school senior's academic achievements, but he doesn't take kindly to homosexuals--and has no clue about Jes's secret life until he finds the photographic evidence. As expected, he gets upset, but Jes's insulting defense only makes matters worse and leads Che to kick him out. While Jes stays with relatives until things cool down, Che tries to resist the bottle, but word travels fast in a close-knit community, and the personal becomes political when bullies hassle the Riveras, leaving Che to consider revenge. Lena (the radiant Erika Alexander), a concerned neighbor who works at a women's shelter, tries to help father and son mend fences, but there's only so much she can do. She's also interested in Che, and he in her, but their personalities present a more significant obstacle than race or culture. In less adept hands, La Mission could've become a preachy soap opera, but despite a few creaky plot mechanics, Bratt's attention to detail ensures that his characters register more as sympathetic individuals than stereotypes. He's aided in his efforts by strong performances, flavorful old-school funk, and camera work that celebrates the beauty of a rapidly gentrifying region. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: Benjamin Bratt
  • Directors: Peter Bratt
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: Screen Media
  • DVD Release Date: August 10, 2010
  • Run Time: 117 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (185 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003E1QDAI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,417 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "La Mission" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
La Mission, set in the streets of San Francisco's Mission District, is easily the most powerful Latin-interest film released in years. Peruvian leading man Benjamin Bratt's brother Peter Bratt directed the film, which focuses on the relationship between a macho bus driver and his son.

Benjamin Bratt is nothing short of brilliant as the tatted-up Che Rivera, a recovering alcoholic with a passion for lowriders, and pride for the academic achievements of his son Jesse. Bratt channels his inner pachuco with genuine swag, in a role destined for him to play.

Che is old-school Chicano to the bone, which makes for tremendous conflict when he discovers his son's sexual orientation. Rivera's son Jesse is played by Jeremy Ray Valdez, a young Latino with serious acting chops, and an infectious smile. Valdez and Bratt share an incredible on-screen chemistry as father and son, and Rivera's intolerance is something many Hispanic viewers will recognize. The stigma attached to homosexuality amongst old-school (and largely Roman-Catholic) Latinos is something almost never confronted in film.

For those of you already saying, "I'm not going to watch this," calm down. This isn't a "gay" movie, but it does address issues that Latinos tend to sweep under the rug. Jesse's orientation serves as a means of revealing who his father Che really is, and uncovering the pain and rage that needed to be healed in the ex-convict. Helping Che battle his inner demons is Lena, the earthy and extremely sexy neighbor who works for a woman's shelter. Played by beautiful morena Erika Alexander (of Living Single fame), Lena attempts to heal the rift between father and son, while dealing with her own fears of Che. Before the film is over, expect plenty of love, anger, and loss.
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Format: DVD
Writer/director Peter Bratt had the choice in LA MISSION to make a film about the Hispanic culture in San Francisco's Mission district to create a predictable imitation of life or a sensitive study of a culture with all of its beauty and with all of its problems: gratefully he took the latter. This is a film bursting with fantastic color from the inimitable clash of pigments used for the interiors of the homes of this culture to the fantasyland carefully restored old cars painted with religious and emotional scenes - the proud mark of the Low Riders - and the street celebrations full of lust and glamour and the intoxicating foods and dance. But it is also an internal film dealing with such realities as alcoholism, prison time, single parenting problems, pride in a child's educational and athletic achievements - and the delicate issue of responding to the presence of same sex relationships. It is a banquet of delights and problems that Bratt handles magnificently well.

Che Rivera (Benjamin Bratt in a role that defines his fine acting abilities) has served time in prison, is an Alcoholics Anonymous member, and since his wife's death early in their marriage is the loving father of his well-educated and well-loved son Jesse (Jeremy Ray Valdez, in a role that should mark him for an important career). Che works hard as a bus driver, spends his free time restoring old cars to ride every Friday evening - 'slow, low riding through the streets of San Francisco's Mission neighborhood'. His family includes Rene (Jesse Borrego) and Ana (Talisa Soto) who share as much pride in Jess as Che: their only son was born with a cardiac defect that has made them more sensitive to the differences in children.
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I find this film to be fine from several viewpoints: cinematography, writing, cultural analysis, and, of course, acting. My wife and I live in the Mission, not far from where the Riveras "lived" in the film. The two negative reviews on this film were written by persons who obviously do not live in the Mission. My wife is Latina, and I have organized in the Latino community since the 60's.

Who was this film written for? It was primarily written for Latino people who are still struggling with the meaning of Machismo, intimacy, and same sex love. These are still profound issues for the Latino communities, believe it or not! Not four weeks ago four people were shot near our home in gang violence. Two of them were precisely around this issue. Thus the Anglos who feel this move is cliche'ed or overstated have spent little ore no time in the Mission.

This movie is about a community coming to terms with itself, with change, and with the deeper meaning of Love. Che Rivera is a living character but he is also a symbol for the whole community. The fact that he, himself, falls in love with a Black sister in the film emphasizes the attempt to deal with the wholeness and integrity of the change that the movie addresses. The beauty of the movie preserving Lena's freedom to choose (by not tying up her choice in the last scenes) when Che comes to her finally feeling his own pain and understanding his violence is exquisite and beautifully done.

This is a fine movie. It is one of the best films about Latino culture I have seen. We are privileged to have it to enjoy again and again.
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