“Bless Me, Ultima,” Funded by Wal-Mart Heiress
Reading the LA Times (online, off course), I discovered the article “‘Bless Me Ultima’s’ Journey to the Big Screen,” by Reed Johnson. Boy, was I ever surprised to learn that a film that I very much enjoyed and that several of my friends loved and thought did the book justice was bankrolled by none other than Christy Walton, the billionaire heiress to the Wal-Mart fortune.
Rudolfo Anaya’s book, “Bless Me, Ultima,” is a Chicano literary classic and a coming of age story which was once banned by school districts because of it’s racy language and witchcraft tendencies (bleh!). Walton read the book as a mother in the late ’80s and was touched by the book’s values in nature, family and community.
Her own son Lukas, was diagnosed with a rare form of kidney cancer at age 3 and after failed chemotherapy, was put on a nature-based diet which saved his life and got rid of his tumor in five months.
She told the LA Times, ”We are a fear-based society, I’d like that to change to a faith-based society.”
Most Chicanos I know, hate Wal-Mart. No self-respecting Chicano worth his collection of protest signs would be caught dead inside a Wal-Mart. In fact, movies such as “Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Costs” clearly showcase how Wal-Mart hurts communities and people of color.
Yet, here we are. One of the most beautiful and creative films about Latino culture, showcasing Chicano literature… brought to you by Wal-Mart.
I ask… does this change your perception of Wal-Mart? Or does it push you to think more about Latino films in general?