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Tino Villanueva

Scene from the Movie GIANT ***

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A fourteen-year-old boy sits in the darkness of the Holiday Theater watching GIANT, the 1956 Warner Brothers extravaganza starring Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor. The film depicts the rise of newly rich oil barons as they replaced and came into conflict with the old cattle aristocracy. And yet the movie also teems with characters that depict racist stereotypes of Mexicans. One scene, this memory, is at the heart of Scene from the Movie GIANT, a remarkable book-length poem in five parts by Tino Villanueva. Villanueva excavates the meaning of this scene and in doing so grapples with urgent questions of cultural identity.