Recent articles in the New York Times and the Washington Post have pointed out an interesting trend: while feature-length films about the current immigrant experience are few and far between, even as immigration policy is daily news, there are several TV series that take on stories of immigrants and their children—a group that now makes up 27% of the U.S. population.
Some of these are new shows, to American audiences at least: "Fresh Off the Boat," based on Eddie Huang's rollicking memoir of growing up with immigrant parents in theme-park America; "Jane the Virgin," the satirical comedy-drama that follows the romantic life of a young woman whose grandmother happens to be undocumented; and "Superstore," in which a recurring character discovers that he is undocumented.
But there are more, and some we've seen before, rewritten to reflect a diverse America once invisible on the small screen: "One Day at a Time," now written with a Cuban-American family, is already available on Netflix; reboots of "Party of Five" and "Roswell" are also set to feature immigrant protagonists. New original shows like "Have Mercy" and "In the Country we Love" will bring the immigrant perspective to the medical and legal genres.
It's not that there are no Hollywood movies about immigrants today. Of note is Chris Weitz's "A Better Life," which explores the tension between first- and second-generation Mexican immigrants in L.A., and the brutal "Desierto," which frames "illegal" immigration as the horror story it can easily become. It's just that, given how many American films romanticize past (primarily European) waves of immigration, the current lack of comment on our own generation of Dreamers is hard to ignore.
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