Thirty years ago, Hollywood Pictures quietly released the film Blood In Blood Out, directed by Academy Award-winning director Taylor Hackford, as an ode to the Chicano barrio in 1993. The making of this cult film, loved by fans worldwide, is the topic of a new book by the same name, Blood In Blood Out, commemorating the film’s 30th anniversary with a book launch at Cal State LA University in Los Angeles. The all-day event will culminate with a screening of the film, and Enrique Castillo’s character, Montana, often described as the conscience of the film, will live to see another day on screen.
Carlos Aguilar wrote in an LA Times article earlier this year, “Akin to ‘The Godfather’ in its scope and themes, Blood In Blood Out, which turned 30 this year, stumbled at the box office but was saved from obscurity by fervent Latino audiences, who reclaimed it as a cornerstone of their representation in cinema.”
In the ensuing thirty years since its release, the film has only grown in popularity, amassing millions of fans nationally and internationally. The fans, who have grown up watching it on DVD or online, and passing on the tradition to their kids, have kept the film very much alive for thirty years. Blood In Blood Out has become a cult film akin to The Rocky Horror Show in that fans memorize the words to the film and recite their favorite character’s lines.
“The enduring legacy of Blood In Blood Out is a tribute to everyone involved in making it happen,” said Castillo. “I consider myself fortunate to have been a part of it.”
Members of the all-star cast will be in attendance to celebrate the book launch and attend the screening, which will be the first time since the film’s release it has been shown on a big screen. Over 15 original cast members, including Benjamin Bratt, Jesse Borrego, Danny Trejo, and Castillo, will be in attendance at the festivities. Tickets for the screening sold out within 24 hours.
Castillo’s role in Blood In Blood Out has not only etched a permanent mark in the realm of classic L.A. cinema but also garnered him a devoted following both in the US and as far as Holland and Nigeria. His portrayal of Montana is often likened to iconic characters in cinematic history, showcasing the depths and nuances of the Chicano experience. In Vincent Canby’s review of the film in The New York Times, he exalts some of the characters in the film, particularly Castillo’s performance of Montana.
The release of this book will now serve as a testament to the film’s lasting legacy. The screening will serve as the film’s premiere which it never had due to Hollywood Pictures scaling back on the release in 1993 due the climate of civic unrest at the time.
The limited-edition book is published by Hat & Beard Press and co-authored by Academy Award-winning director Taylor Hackford (Ray, The Devil’s Advocate), screenwriter Jimmy Santiago Baca, on-set photographer Merrick Morton, and the late Chicano artist Adan Hernandez. It chronicles their deeply personal journey to bring Blood In Blood Out to the screen. It features a foreword by groundbreaking Chicano writer/director Luis Valdez (La Bamba, Zoot Suit) and includes insights from Hackford, Baca’s powerful new poems inspired by the film, and a wealth of behind-the-scenes content. The presence of Castillo at the event adds a layer of authenticity and connection to the film’s legacy, especially for those inspired by his portrayal of Montana.
This anniversary event, alongside the book release, serves not only as a celebration of a film that resonated strongly with Latino audiences but also as a homage to actors like Enrique Castillo, whose performances have left an indelible impact on viewers and the cinematic landscape. The overwhelming response to the event, with 2,000 tickets claimed within 24 hours, reflects the enduring influence of Blood In Blood Out and the actors who brought its story to life.
Produced in association with Latin Heat
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