Friday, September 11, 2009

Walt & El Grupo

I always enjoy Bob Mondello's movie reviews on NPR, and as a Latin Americanist I found this one particularly intriguing. Walt & El Grupo is a new documentary about time Walt Disney spent touring Latin America in 1941.

I look forward to seeing the film; perhaps it can restore some of the good feeling I had for Disney long ago, before I associated him with the creation of fake geographies and a children's films laced with racist stereotypes. In the main, Disney has worked against what I try to do as a geographer. This film, however, is about a time early in his career, and it apparently shows him learning about places and people, rather than trying to create and control both.

As Mondello points out, the work that resulted from this exploration is full of stereotypes. Given the rest of the Disney legacy, though "comparatively friendly" stereotypes might be all we can hope for.

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