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Bless Me, Ultima

Dr. Gabriel Meléndez

Gabriel Melendez

University Distinguished Professor and former chair of American Studies. He has published several books on borderlands literature and film, among them So All is Not Lost: The Poetics of Print in Nuevomexicano Communities, 1836-1958 (UNM, 1997) and Hidden Chicano Cinema: Film Dramas in the Borderlands, (Rutgers University Press, 2013).

Meléndez serves on the board of directors of the Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage Project, serves on the editorial board of Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies, and is a general editor for the Pasó por aquí Series on New Mexican Hispanic Letters at UNM Press. He is also a contributing member to the National Digital Newspaper Program Advisory Committee based at Zimmerman Library. Professor Meléndez is the recipient of a 2014-2015 Senior Teaching and Research Fulbright Fellowship. He will be preseting his paper, “No Longer Hidden: Bless Me, Ultima and Recent Chicano-Latino Cinema”

Synopsis of Film

Antonio Marez is six years old when Ultima comes to stay with his family in New Mexico. She is a curandera, one who cures with herbs and magic. Under her wise wing, Tony will probe the family ties that bind and rend him, and he will discover himself in the magical secrets of the pagan past-a mythic legacy as palpable as the Catholicism of Latin America. And at each life turn there is Ultima, who delivered Tony into the world...and will nurture the birth of his soul.