By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News
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“Under the Same Moon” (“La Misma Luna”), a widely praised movie about a Mexican boy who sets out for the United States, will first light the screen tonight in Maier Hall at Peninsula College, 1502 E. Lauridsen Blvd., in Port Angeles.
“Moon” also will screen Saturday evening at the college's Forks Extension site, 71 S. Forks Ave.
Both showings will be at 7 p.m., with admission tonight at $5, or free for students with identification. Saturday's movie in Forks is free for everyone.
“Under the Same Moon” tells parallel stories: of 9-year-old Carlitos and of his mother, Rosario, who has left her native Mexico to find work in the United States.
Carlitos' grandmother stays with him, but when she dies unexpectedly, the boy sneaks across the border to seek out his mom.
Both embark on long journeys with steep challenges — but they don't lose hope of finding each other.
“Moon,” starring Adrian Alonso as Carlitos and Kate del Castillo as Rosario, premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. It drew a standing ovation there.
The movie, rated PG-13, has since been shown around the continent.
“When people ask me if this is a true story, I tell them that it is based on 4 million true stories,” said “Moon's” director, Patricia Riggen.
This was the debut feature for the filmmaker born in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Women like Rosario “make the most difficult sacrifice of all,” Riggen said, “because no mother would leave her child unless she was desperate.
“That was something I wanted to explore.”
Moviegoers will have the chance to talk about “Moon” and Hispanic culture with Paloma Toledo de la Torre, Peninsula College's visiting Spanish professor, after both screenings.
De la Torre and her husband, journalist Anselmo Mancebo, are from Madrid; they're living in Port Angeles through this academic year. The couple will host the discussions tonight and Saturday.
De la Torre, in addition, invites the public to her intermediate Spanish conversation classes at 12:35 p.m. each Wednesday through Feb. 12.
The free sessions take place in Keegan Hall in the M building on Peninsula College's Port Angeles campus.
As for the “Moon” showings, “We hope that this film sparks a discussion that will help us to get to know each other's realities better,” de la Torre added.
“There are many realities and many differences — and therefore much wealth — within the Spanish language and the Hispanic culture.”
In Forks, where the Hispanic population is a larger share of the whole, de la Torre is collaborating with the Forks Hispanic Family Association to show “Under the Same Moon.”
“It is a real pleasure for us to contribute to the encounter of cultures,” she said.
Movies and conversation “help us to get to know each other, respect each other and therefore cope better.”
“Moon” is the opener for this winter's Magic of Cinema series at Peninsula College, as well as part of a series of movies and programs on Spanish culture that de la Torre will host this year.
For details about these and other public activities on campus, visit www.PenCol.edu.
Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5062, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.