Shooting Reflections: Diego Luna
The year was 2001 and we were road tripping through Mexico, two best buddies laughing our way through miles of bus rides and sore nalgitas, of sipping and serving chelitas. We were recent graduates crossing the threshold into adulthood, testing our feminine prowess, strengthening the ties that bind, learning the ropes along the open road. And it was pinche amazing, radically life changing.
That’s when I met Diego Luna. He was road tripping through Oaxaca was with his best buddy Gael García Bernal and it was captured on film in “Y Tú Mamá También.” These cuates had just graduated from high school and were on a high flying aventura before university life reigned in on their hormones and short-lived summer freedom. In real life, the Mexican soon-to-be super stars were the exact same age as Larita and I. (In case you were wondering, our ‘meeting’ was contained to the big screen, until now.)
These two were carving out their career as compañeros together, later appearing in the cinematographic wonder “Motorcycle Diaries” and as soccer star brothers in the amusing and whimsical “Rudo y Cursi.” Independently, Luna appeared in “Milk” “Before Night Falls” and “Frida.” He’s a director as well, and is currently in post production for his film about Cesar Chavez, the first feature to be made of the civil rights activist.
Well, as luck would have it, Luna’s and my story converged twelve years later at the LA public library. I invited him to speak on “Shooting Reflections: On Film and Social Change.” The Luna light* shined bright, illuminating the causes he’s taken on as an activist, or better yet, in his words: “a citizen of the world.”
From speaking out against the impunity and violence in his native Mexico, to calling on the U.S. government to take a harsher stand on the gun war, his impassioned spirit for change making inspired a captive audience of fans and newcomers who were impressed by the unpretentious, home-grown sweetheart whose quick wit and sexy sensibility are enough to make any girl swoon. Here’s a taste of what I’m talking about. Valentine’s Day certainly came early this year.
And if you can catch today’s release of “No,” his buddy Gael’s newest feature that profiles the Chilean ad exec whose campaign in the 1988 plebiscite helped change the course of history for the South American nation, it comes highly recommended, and not just for its star. Director Pablo Larraín’s brilliant blend of using archival footage and 1980-era film and analog camera equipment in the production coupled with fantastic acting in this complex and emotional drama make it my choice for best foreign language film.
Mexican Revolution exhibit at Central Library
As for co-starts, don’t you think they could have cast Larita and I in their film? Little did they know what kind of trouble these güeritas were getting into a bit further north in Guanajuato…
*Luna means moon in español. I’ll let you look up nalgitas and chelitas on your own.