“Never mind The Scarlet and the Black, we’ve got the orange and the brown.”
  • “Never mind The Scarlet and the Black, we’ve got the orange and the brown.”
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Azul & Co. first considered using The Great Escape for their project, but decided the notion of breaking out of prison and into Nazi-occupied territory was “a bit too fraught, given the current climate.”

Azul & Co. first considered using The Great Escape for their project, but decided the notion of breaking out of prison and into Nazi-occupied territory was “a bit too fraught, given the current climate.”

“Has America ever seen Casablanca?” asks local film lover Roberto Azul. “Here you have a movie that is generally regarded as the second-greatest film of all time — right after Citizen Kane, which is, coincidentally, about a guy who inherits wealth, becomes a powerful media figure, goes into politics, and winds up as a miserable, morally bankrupt monster — and what’s it about? Migrants, driven from their homeland by violence and oppression, stuck in a rotten town at the edge of a continent and scrambling to find their way to America. Their situation makes them desperate, desperate enough to do terrible, foolish things. In the film, a young wife contemplates cheating on her husband in order to sway an official. In Tijuana, a bunch of moms took their kids on a border dash amid rounds of tear gas. Americans love this story, and it’s happening right on their doorstep.”

To help drive the point home, Azul has spent the past couple of weeks producing a new version of the 1942 classic. “Well, not new, exactly. I tinted the image so that everyone looks brown instead of gray, and got a bunch of my friends to dub in Spanish dialogue. We’ll have English in subtitles, and we’re hoping that this new take on an old film will give people a fresh perspective on the brave, desperate souls hoping for passage to America. Who knows? It could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

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