Ana (America Ferrera) is 18. She has just graduated from high school, and wants to go tocollege. For the summer, though, she is going to have to work in the garment factory with hermother and sister. Her mother (Lupe Ontiveros), meanwhile, is determined to make her fit thetraditional role of a Latino daughter, and Ana rebels. Body image, tradition versus youth, theLatino experience in the US, sweatshops: all these themes are skilfully braided together.
The audio (essentially English, but with a healthy sprinkling of Spanish as well) is in 5.1 and2.0. Music and dialogue are very well mixed, kept in balance, and free of distortion. The soundeffects work is solid, but unspectacular (though this isn’t a film where one should be overlyaware of them anyway). Still, the environmental effect could have benefited from a highervolume (I really had to pay attention to pick it up). At the same time, the choice of effects andtheir placement is quite judicious.
The ratio is 1.78:1, which could conceivably be correct, given that this is an HBOproduction. The colour work is very strong: the tint has a slightly harsh, sun-burnt quality,creating a sense of constant, oppressive heat. Neat stuff. The contrasts, colours, flesh tones andblacks are also very good. A strong transfer by any standard.
Some discs claim menus, sound and picture as special features. This disc mentions nofeatures at all on the case, yet not only does it have two featurettes (the usual promo thing, one inEnglish and one in Spanish), but it also boasts two commentaries. The first is a cast effort, byFerrera and Ontiveros. Both women have much to say, but Ontiveros is particularly interesting,since she has been involved with the project since it was a play. The other commentary is byJosefina Lopez (author of the play and co-writer of the screenplay), producer/co-writer GerogeLavoo and director Patricia Cardoso. Another good talk, hitting many technical aspects but (aswith the first commentary) paying much attention to the film’s social concerns as well. Themenu’s main page is animated and scored.
It is nice to encounter a disc that has many more features that one expects, and they back up avery solid film to boot.
Special Features List
- Cast Commentary
- Creators’ Commentary