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Mosquitoes and High Water: El Mosco y el Aqua Alta

Film by Louis Alvarez, Andrew Kolker
Produced by Center for New American Media
Cinematographer: Andrew Kolker
Sound: Louis Alvarez
Editing: Louis Alvarez, Andrew Kolker
Copyright: 1983, Center for New American Media (CNAM)
23 minutes, Color
Original format: 3/4 inch videotape: U-matic, 1983
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Streaming only. For other permissions apply to Louis Alvarez, Andrew Kolker or to the distributor, Center for New America Media (CNAM).


Preview one minute trailer - Comment on film



In the bayous and swamps east of New Orleans reside members of one of America's least-known ethnic group, the Spanish-speaking "Islenos" of St. Bernard Parish. Their ancestors came to this country over two hundred years ago from the Canary Islands off the West coast of Africa, and today their descendants continue to make a living as fishermen and trappers.

Mosquitoes and High Water examines the Islenos' unique history and culture, which remained isolated from the outside world until recently. El Mosco y el Agua Alta shows how the Islenos have preserved their archaic Spanish dialect and maintained the tradition of the decima,a long, descriptive ballad about events in their lives or notorious local characters. Although some of these songs are sad, many are light-hearted and use comic exaggeration.

In addition to the singing of several decimas, the documentary offers a colorful portrait of Isleno life, including an alligator hunt, a discussion of old folk cures and superstitions, work on the shrimp boats, preparation of muskrat pelts, and the annual Blessing of the Fleet.


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