New Documentary on 1996 De La Hoya vs. Chavez Fight Digs Into Complexity of Mexican Ethnicity Across the BorderBreaking News
tags: film, sports, documentary, Boxing, Mexican American history, Latino/a history
It’s no surprise that La Guerra Civil was chosen as one of the Sundance Film Festival’s opening night premieres. The documentary delivers two of the qualities that make Sundance Sundance: cultural relevance, along with glamorous celebrities to walk the red carpet in Park City, Utah, thanks to director Eva Longoria Bastón and Hall of Fame boxer Oscar De La Hoya.
Except, of course, there was no red carpet. Instead, the Corpus Christi native’s film about De La Hoya’s 1996 fight against Mexican all-time great Julio César Chávez kicked off the festival’s second year as a pandemic-altered, online-only showcase, with the director and the boxer beaming in for a videoconference Q&A. (During the discussion, one of Longoria Bastón’s kids could be heard running through the room and De La Hoya had trouble signing off—Sundance stars on Zoom, they’re just like us!)
De La Hoya and Longoria Bastón are friends, and the Desperate Housewives actress has been producing and directing for both film and television since 2010 (her first feature film, Flamin’ Hot, is also due for release this year). When De La Hoya asked Longoria Bastón if she’d be interested in making a documentary about the fight, she said sure, as long as she could tell the story her way. The hook for the film was meant to be the fight’s twenty-fifth anniversary, which was June 7 of last year (the Los Angeles Times published an oral history by Texas Monthly contributor Roberto José Andrade Franco on that day). But Longoria Bastón was interested in a broader theme, and what the two fighters symbolized, and the result is worth the wait.
“I remember this fight,” she said after the screening. “What’s interesting to me is the cultural divide that that fight had. My household was divided. And so I thought that would be interesting to explore, because I feel like it’s an issue we still face as a community.”
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