Corpus: A Home Movie for Selena

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Corpus: A Home Movie for Selena is a complex tribute to Selena, the Tejana superstar gunned down in 1995 at the age of 23 by the president of her fan club, just as she was on the brink of blockbuster crossover fame. While the story of her murder -- filled with sex, glamour and betrayal -- caught the attention of many outside the Chicano community, this film moves well beyond the sensational to present a nuanced feminist analysis of Selena's story.

Clips of rare home movies, family photos, and glossy music videos from later in Selena's career are interspersed with lively conversations with her father, sister, and Latina intellectuals that shed light into just who Selena was and what makes her such a powerful figure today. Staying true to the "home movie" feel, Portillo interviews ordinary people in Selena's hometown of Corpus Christi, including starry-eyed teenaged fans and tearful strangers who visit her grave. With a compassionate lens, Portillo places Selena's life and legacy in a cultural context, revealing powerful social forces that transformed a popular entertainer into a Chicana cultural icon turned modern-day saint.

“Brilliant, intense, visceral, and certainly one of the warmest documentaries about Latinas ever made…Another masterful work that fits well into the Portillo pantheon.”
      -- Deborah Martin, San Diego Latino Film Festival

“Corpus traces Selena's life from a Latina feminist perspective… Portillo's film makes astute and sometimes pointed observations about celebrity, class, beauty, fame, and culture.”
      -- Belena Acosta, The Austin Chronicle

1999 • Video • 47 min. • Documentary
Color • USA • Spanish and English • Subtitles
Distributor: Xochitl Productions, Women Make Movies, Video Data Bank (Frames of Reference: Reflections on Media compilation)

Funded by the Rockefeller Foundation Intercultural Film and Video Fellowship, Mexican Fine Arts Museum Center, Tribeca Media Arts Fellowship, and National Endowment for the Arts.